Tuesday, May 24

Kyle Busch A New Addition to the Family

As the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400, Kyle Busch has already had a winning week.

 

Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), his wife Samantha, and their son Brexton, welcomed a baby girl to the family early Tuesday morning. Lennix Key Busch weighed in at 6 lbs, 1 oz and measured 20 inches long.  

 

After Busch spends the rest of his week getting acclimated to the new addition to the family, he’ll head to the Midwest in hopes of adding another addition to the trophy case on Sunday. With two Cup Series wins to his credit at Kansas, Busch has nine top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in his last 15 starts at Kansas His second Kansas win last May makes him the defending winner of Sunday’s event.

While the two-time Cup Series champion’s recent record at Kansas is quite impressive, there was a time when that wasn’t the case. Busch struggled mightily his first seven seasons competing at the 1.5-mile oval.

 

The Kansas oval was built in 2001 and originally featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns. But it underwent a massive renovation leading into its October 2012 event. The changes included repaving of the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The oval’s geometric shape also was changed to feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.


To say that Busch didn’t take well to the new surface would be quite the understatement. From October 2012 to 2013, he had three consecutive DNFs (Did Not Finish) there, with accidents ending his day each time, for final results of 31st, 38th and 34th.

 

Feeling snakebit on the new Kansas surface, Busch and his M&M’S team took a different approach starting with the April 2014 race by starting from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked Kansas with the hopes that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in the race, the result and effort was much different than the three previous trips. Instead, they were competitive enough to turn the corner in terms of results.

 

In the October 2014 Cup Series race, Busch brought home a third-place finish at Kansas. Those who know Busch knows he has never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum kickstarted by his first Kansas top-five has remained to this day. Finally, with the surface starting to wear, Kansas has become a place much more agreeable to Busch’s driving style. He brought home his first victory there in NASCAR’s top series in May 2016 and added the aforementioned second win there last spring.

 

M&M’S Crunchy Cookie will once again be adorning his No. 18 Toyota at Kansas on Sunday. M&M’S Crunchy Cookie combines two favorite treats – M&M’S and chocolate chip cookies – and is now available nationwide. It’s bound to give race fans a fun, nostalgic snack to enjoy during this weekend’s race.

 

So as Busch heads to Kansas this weekend, they’ll be celebrating the new addition to the family, while also hoping to add another addition to the trophy case on an already exciting week for the entire Busch family.

 

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

 

Talk about this weekend at Kansas Speedway and your expectations on the track.

 

“Kansas has been a good place for our sport. You know the crowd, the reception, the racetrack, the community has really built up around the racetrack there over the last 10 years, or so. It’s been a lot of fun to see all that happen and I’m looking forward to the race. It’s been a great racetrack for us, lately. We’ve had some good runs there once the track aged. We’ve kind of seemed to maybe have figured out the place a little bit better, but the new car is always a new challenge each new place we go and we learn more every week. And, you know, we’re looking forward to the opportunity of being able to go out there and hopefully get ourselves a win with our M&M’S Crunchy Cookie Camry.”

 

You’ve run up front and led some laps at both Dover and Darlington the last few weeks. Is that encouraging as you try to figure out the NextGen car?

 

“Yes and no. Obviously, we would like to have some better finishes to show for it, but we’ve run up front and led some laps and that eventually leads to wins if you keep doing those things. We’ve made a lot of progress on the NextGen car, but you never know what is going to be around the corner. We’ll just keep trying to learn what we can and if we can continue to run up front, then I’m hoping it leads to good things at some point soon.”

 

Have you looked forward to racing at Kansas more since you won there?

 

“I do. Also, I did even the last few times before we won there when we had some really strong runs. We finished in the top-five, I think, five races in a row and we have also been in the top-10 a lot, so it’s a place where we’ve really picked it up and now we have two wins there. We seemed to have gotten a setup or ahold of that place and I feel like our cars keep getting better over the last few races. I’m hoping we can continue our strong runs and have a shot to win there again with our M&M’S Crunchy Cookie Toyota.”

 

What’s the biggest challenge that Kansas Speedway poses?

 

“I think the wind is usually a factor there. Sometimes it comes from the south, sometimes from the west, it’s like being in the Wizard of Oz. Kind of crazy to get there each year and try to figure out what’s best. But the wind also plays into our setups. We talk about how you have to set up the racecar according to which way the wind is blowing and what we have to do from that aspect. It definitely adds a different challenge to what we all do.”

 

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