As a winner of 38 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races – which are included in his 153 top-five finishes and 228 top-10s – as well as the leader of more than 13,000 laps in 442 career starts, it’s safe to say 32-year-old Kyle Busch has earned his stripes in his 13th full season competing in NASCAR’s top circuit.
So it’s only fitting the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will don a unique green-and-white-striped livery for Saturday night’s traditional midsummer Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Not only are JGR and Interstate Batteries in their 26th year together, but this weekend’s race will help continue the year-long celebration of the 65th anniversary for Interstate Batteries as a company.
Busch and the No. 18 team look to add another victory to his overall total Saturday night at Daytona during Interstate’s 65th anniversary year, heading to the 2.5-mile superspeedway with a little momentum on their side as they come off a strong fifth-place finish at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Despite looking for his first points-paying victory of the season, it’s yet another step in the right direction for Busch as NASCAR’s playoffs get closer by the week.
He did bring home the win in the NASCAR All-Star Race back in May, but he’s been kept from victory lane in the points-paying races for various reasons. Busch has led double-digit numbers of laps in six of the last seven races and has led a total of 746 laps, the second most in the series behind fellow Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr., while he sits fourth in the regular-season standings.
When it comes to Daytona this weekend, Busch is certainly no stranger to victory lane in the Coke Zero 400, having won the July 2008 race behind the wheel of – yes – the Interstate Batteries Toyota. The Las Vegas native has fared much better in his summer races at Daytona during his career as the track is much more slick thanks to Florida’s July heat. He has five top-five finishes in his 12 July starts at the track.
With all of that on his side, Busch hopes sporting the unique color scheme helps his cause in this restrictor-plate style of racing, where a driver not only has to be good, but must have good fortune to go along with it. He would like nothing more than to start July in the best way possible – by bringing the Interstate Batteries green-and-white-striped paint scheme to victory lane Saturday night. Even though Busch has earned his stripes already, it doesn’t mean he isn’t as hungry as ever for another victory.