Friday, Sep 29

Skittles "Lime is Back" Racing: Kyle Busch Circuit of Americas Advance

As the NASCAR Cup Series heads back to Austin, Texas, this week to race on the 3.426-mile, 20-turn road course at Circuit of Americas (COTA), Kyle Busch is hoping a strong successful first trip there last season will bear “fruit,” in more ways than one.

 

Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles “Lime is Back” Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), returns to COTA for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix after a strong debut there last season. While the final race results showed Busch finished in the 10th spot there last spring, the Las Vegas native led 12 laps and won a stage before pit strategy had them fall down the running order in the race that was shortened by 14 laps due to heavy rain.

 

This weekend, Busch looks to take the Skittles colors back to COTA’s victory lane for the second year in a row. He drove the No. 54 Skittles Gummies Camry to the win in last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track, which has hosted numerous other racing series since it opened in 2012, including the annual stop for Formula One in America, IndyCar, Moto GP, IMSA and Trans Am sportscars, and many others.

 

Busch as shown a propensity for road-course racing during his Cup Series career, and with six road-course circuits on the schedule this year, he may have a chance to move himself up on the list of NASCAR road-course race winners. If Busch could win this weekend, he could also join some elite company as a road-racing ace in NASCAR’s top series. The Skittles “Lime is Back” driver’s four road-course wins tie him with NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson and Mark Martin on the all-time Cup Series road-course wins list. That’s some pretty good company, already. But with a fifth road-course win, Busch could tie Darrell Waltrip, Tim Richmond, Dan Gurney on the list. There is a bit of distance to the top two spots on the all-time road-course wins list when it comes to catching Chase Elliott, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, who have seven, eight and nine career road-course wins, respectively.

 

Road-course racing has taken on even more importance in the Cup Series the past couple of seasons with the addition of COTA, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to join the traditional stops at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval. With the added road-course races, it’s more important than ever to have a strong driver and team that can turn left and right this season and beyond.

 

With the Skittles brand back on board Busch’s No. 18 Toyota Camry TRD this weekend, the brand will use the opportunity to highlight the return of its Lime flavor after an eight-year hiatus due to fan demand. Race fans can grab packs of Skittles featuring the recently reinstated Lime at retailers across the country to enjoy during this weekend’s race deep in the heart of Texas.

 

So, as Busch and his Skittles “Lime is Back” team head down to the capital city of Texas, they know they’ll have a challenge ahead of them at COTA, and Busch will hope to bring his racecar back to victory lane with a Cup Series win that would be the 60th of his career.

 

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Skittles Lime is Back Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

 

Are you looking forward to going back to COTA and continuing to see some of the excitement you saw last year?

 

“They had a little bit of history there with Formula One, IndyCar and other racing series, but obviously the first time for NASCAR Cup Series cars there last year. There are a lot of flat turns on that circuit and a little bit of elevation change, which make for some interesting moments. We have a whole new car, now, so it will be an even bigger challenge. We’ll have some simulator time, too, so hopefully we can be on top of things when we arrive there this weekend. We won the Xfinity race there last year and, in the Cup race, we were competitive and just got bit by trying to pit and we never went back racing with the rain coming down too hard. Looking forward to getting back to COTA with our Skittles “Lime is Back” Camry TRD and see how things play out. Cool scheme this weekend. Everyone has been asking about bringing Lime back after eight years and they’ve been able to do it, and we get a good-looking car out of it. Looking forward to it.

 

Is road-course racing something that comes naturally to you, or is it something you had to work on?

 

“It’s definitely something you have to work on. With rule changes and tire changes and now a new car, it’s something you work on every year. There’s always change that you have to work on to be competitive. When I was a kid back in Las Vegas in Legends cars, that’s where I was able to learn about shifting and turning left and turning right. I had the natural instincts for it and won a couple of championships in the winter series we had out there. We actually went out to Sonoma back then and ran the national championship races two years in a row and finished third both times, so I had a little bit of experience on road courses as I came up through the ranks.”

 

You are running both the Cup Series and Truck Series races this weekend. Are doubleheaders fun for you?

 

“I feel like preparing for a doubleheader is pretty easy. I’ve always been used to running in two or three races in a weekend, running the Truck, Xfinity, Cup, whatever it may be. I like that, so I think it gives us an opportunity to get out there and get our feet wet in the Truck Series, and get a feel for the tire and the new car and really think about what you can learn. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it will be nice to have some extra track time to work on my car and get some experience and also have just a little bit more knowledge of what it’s like beyond what we do in our SIM and other ways we prepare for races and the limited practice time we will have.”

 

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