Interstate Batteries Racing: Kyle Busch Michigan Advance

Joe Gibbs Racing

Many families across the United States use the summer months to take a road trip and make memories along the way.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), his wife Samantha and 7-year-old son Brexton, and newborn daughter Lennix decided for the second year in a row to take a summer road trip of their own. This year, their summer tour yet again revolves around Brexton’s budding racing career as he competes at multiple tracks throughout the Midwest.

The summer road trip has included stops in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. After a week of seeing the sights while watching Brexton race, Busch will turn his focus back to NASCAR’s top series at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where he’ll compete in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 during the series’ annual summer visit to the Irish Hills.

With Interstate Batteries returning to the No. 18 Toyota this weekend, Busch is encouraging fans to stop by a local Interstate dealer to get their vehicle batteries checked before taking off on their late-summer vacation, much like he did before the family’s own Midwest tour. Hot weather has a far greater effect on batteries than the cold, so this weekend’s race at a popular summer tourist destination like the Great Lakes State is the perfect setting to remind fans to have their batteries checked.

The Michigan race signifies that summer is winding down, as well as the Cup Series regular season. In the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend, Busch will look to keep running up front at a place where he initially struggled following the 2012 repave of the 2-mile oval. The Las Vegas native has certainly put those struggles behind him as he’s scored nine consecutive top-10s and has not finished outside the top-seven in his last seven starts there.

Busch’s lone career Cup Series win at Michigan came on Aug. 21, 2011, when he found himself outdueling seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson in a late-race shootout.

So, as Busch and the Interstate Batteries team head back to the Midwest this weekend with an “Outrageously Dependable” Interstate battery under the hood, Busch knows he’ll need to outduel several others in order to capture his second career Cup Series victory in the Irish Hills, which would be a perfect way to cap off an enjoyable family road trip around the Midwest.

What are you expecting at Michigan this weekend?

“Michigan has been a hit-or-miss place for us. I remember winning there in the final race on the old pavement and that was super cool. Right after the repave, it was stuck up there in lane number two and where everyone wanted to run. But after a few years, we got to put on more side-by-side racing and I ended up stringing together some solid finishes. Looking forward to coming back there with a fast Interstate Batteries Camry. The Fords have been strong there in recent years, but you don’t know who is going to be this year with this new NextGen car.”

What is it about Michigan that separates it from other tracks?

“Michigan just being a 2-mile speedway, it’s not like a Daytona and Talladega, where it has the banking like those tracks do, but it is medium banking, so it’s all about speed. You just have to be fast and willing to go through the corner fast. The faster you can get through the corner, the better you are going to be down the straightaways. That’s just a product that we all understand. A couple of years ago, we tried to get better straightaway speed and it made us not as good in the corners, so we re-did our philosophy a bit for both getting off the corner and down the straightaway.”

What is the atmosphere like at Michigan as opposed to other tracks?

“The camping and the infield there always seem really full. They put on a good event weekend. They have concerts and they have some late-night fireworks, and hopefully they will be doing stuff for all the campers who will be there all weekend. We just want to put on a good show for the fans and hopefully get our Interstate Batteries Camry up front.”

How do you feel going into Michigan and what does that track mean for you on the schedule?

“We just try to figure out what we can continue to do to evolve and get better there. The setup there equates nothing to anything that we race throughout the playoffs, so really it’s just a track that we have to go to and do the best we can. But, beyond that, you never want to give away any opportunities to go out there and win a race, or to excel, or to take momentum away from what we’re doing with our Interstate Batteries Camry. We’ve put a focus on that track for the last several years and we’ve gained. We’ve certainly made improvements.”


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