Thursday, Jun 30

Kyle Busch The Final Countdown

Kyle Busch The Final Countdown NK Photography Photo

Believe it or not, the NASCAR Cup Series season heads into the last race of the regular season at Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. There are 11 races remaining in the 2020 season – including the 10-race, 16-driver Cup Series playoffs. And after last weekend’s doubleheader at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, all the races in NASCAR’s top series have been made up after a 10-week hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the series on track to race at its originally scheduled venues on their originally scheduled dates starting this weekend.


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), took the opportunity during last weekend’s Dover doubleheader to bring home finishes of third and 11th, respectively, which were good enough to lock him into this year’s playoffs despite still looking for his first win of the season. The assurance for Busch that he’s locked into the playoffs is a welcome one, as those on the playoff bubble will certainly have a nervous night with Daytona’s pack-style racing, where an accident not of a driver’s own doing can seal his fate and end his race in a hurry.  

Ever since the 2.5-mile high-banked Daytona oval opened in 1959, the NASCAR Cup Series has competed at Daytona on Fourth of July weekend. From 1959 to 1997, the series competed on the morning of July 4, no matter what day of the week the holiday fell on. Starting in 1998, the event was moved to the first Saturday night in July after as lights made their debut at the World Center of Racing that season. But with the July 4 race moving to Indianapolis this year, Daytona moved its summer oval race to be the regular-season finale in late August. Saturday night’s 400-mile race will be the second time in the last three weeks the series has competed at Daytona, with an event on the road course two weeks ago replacing the traditional midsummer race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.


Busch, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, knows he will not only need to beat his fellow competitors, but also the Florida summer heat. This part of the season happens to be the hottest for Cup Series competitors, with select race venues seeing record temperatures, and also for those who are heading out on their late-summer road trips. The summer months can be taxing on both man and machine, whether it’s on the highway or at the track. Caring for the latter is one of the ways JGR founding partner Interstate Batteries leverages its NASCAR program, reminding consumers to have their batteries checked during the hot summer months at a local dealer prior to their summer road trips.


Busch is certainly no stranger to victory lane in the Coke Zero Sugar 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, when the track is much more slick thanks to Florida’s summer heat. He has five top-five finishes in his 16 July starts at the track.


With all of that on his side, Busch hopes to have a strong car and track position in pack-style 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 head into the playoffs in the best way possible – by bringing the Interstate Batteries green lightning paint scheme to victory lane Saturday night. With the final countdown to the end of the regular season, Busch and his Interstate Batteries team will not only look to beat the Florida heat, but finally recharge the batteries and get back to his favorite place – victory lane.




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