As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s fourth playoff race and first of the Round of 12, the goal for the weekend is to be able to hang with Miles following Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), did just that following the October Dover race one year ago, bringing home his third career Cup Series victory at the track in dramatic fashion. He caught Chase Elliott in the final laps, made the pass for the win, and scored another “Miles the Monster” trophy given to each winner at the challenging concrete mile oval.
The win was his second in a row and the first time Busch had brought home a fall win at Dover. The 2015 Cup Series champion and his Interstate Batteries team have been looking forward to the second round of this year’s playoffs for a few weeks after they won at Richmond (Va.) Raceway Sept. 22 to automatically qualify for the Round of 12. Busch sits atop the playoff standings that were newly reset after Sunday’s concluding race of the Round of 16.
The familiar green-and-white-striped Interstate Batteries colors will return this weekend for the sixth and final time of the 2018 season. It continues an impressive run by JGR’s founding sponsor in the 27th consecutive year Interstate has been a primary sponsor on the No. 18 car owned by three-time Super Bowl-winning coach Joe Gibbs.
In addition to his three career wins at Dover, Busch and his Interstate Batteries team have some impressive stats there to bolster their confidence this weekend. Along with the wins in NASCAR’s top series, Busch has scored five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins at Dover. Busch has led 1,188 laps in his previous 27 Cup Series starts at Dover, an average of 44 per race. Busch has also scored 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the track known as the “Monster Mile.”
So, as the Interstate Batteries team heads to Dover, Busch will have one goal for the weekend. It’s not much different than it is for any other race as he looks to “hang with Miles” in victory lane following Sunday afternoon’s 400-miler on the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware’s capital city for an automatic bid into the playoffs’ Round of 8.