While the expectation for Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is to run up front and challenge for wins each week in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, there are particular tracks where Busch excels more than others.
One of those places happens to be Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, the site of Sunday’s Cup Series Auto Club 400. The Las Vegas native and his Interstate Batteries team will be shooting for his fourth career win at the track located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles this weekend.
In fact, Busch is near the top of several statistical categories at the 2-mile oval behind only seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Busch’s average finish of 10.1 is second to Johnson’s 6.9. Busch’s 611 laps led ranks second to Johnson’s 880. Busch’s 3,382 laps spent running in the top-15 at Fontana is also second only to Johnson’s 3,826. Busch’s 935 quality passes tops Johnson’s 874.
Busch will pilot the colors of Interstate Batteries at Fontana for the first of six Cup Series races this season. The founding partner of JGR, Interstate Batteries has been powering the championship-winning organization for more than 25 years and is the “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Busch is coming off a strong start to the season and also a strong showing during NASCAR’s western swing with back-to-back second-place finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway near Phoenix. Last weekend at Phoenix, he led twice for a race-high 128 laps before the car fell off the jack on the final pit stop, likely foiling his chance at victory. With the season heading in the right direction, Busch, who’s now second in the standings behind Kevin Harvick, hopes to take that momentum to Southern California this weekend and bring home his first victory of the season.
After winning back-to-back races at Fontana in 2013 and 2014 – both in dramatic fashion – Busch is looking to add another win to his impressive record at the 2-mile oval. He scored his maiden victory there in September 2005 and overall has rattled off eight top-five finishes and 13 top-10s during his career. The 2015 Cup Series champion also has six Xfinity Series wins at Fontana – October 2008, February 2009 and 2010, October 2010, March 2011 and 2013 –which included a weekend sweep in 2013.
So as Busch and the No. 18 Toyota team head back to Southern California to finish off the final race of 2018’s NASCAR Goes West swing, they will look to bring home their first win of the season at a place where they’ve been, as Interstate Batteries says, “Outrageously Dependable.”