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.