When Kyle Busch takes to the track at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California this weekend, Interstate Batteries will debut a sharp new “green machine’ paint scheme as the founding sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) starts its 29th season riding along with one of the top teams in NASCAR.
While there are many paint schemes created throughout the years, rarely does a driver and the chairman of a sponsor’s company collaborate on a scheme, and even more rare is a 34-year-old collaborating with someone from the Greatest Generation. However, that is exactly what happened with the new Interstate Batteries scheme debuting this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400.
Starting late last season, Interstate Batteries chairman Norm Miller teamed up with Busch on the new design. The end result is a powerful new green scheme that Busch will run this weekend in Southern California and during the remaining Interstate-sponsored races in 2020.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR, would like nothing more than to repeat his Auto Club 400 victory from last March, which happened to be his 200th career victory in NASCAR’s top three series and 54th in the Cup Series. He’s since lifted those totals to 209 overall and 57 in the Cup Series.
This weekend, Busch and his Interstate Batteries team will be shooting for his fifth career Cup Series win at the track located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
In addition to his four Cup Series wins, Busch’s overall stats are quite strong at Fontana. He is near the top of several categories there behind only seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Busch’s average finish of 9.3 is second to Johnson’s 7.5. Busch’s 807 laps led ranks second to Johnson’s 880. Busch’s 3,779 laps spent running in the top-15 at Fontana is also second only to Johnson’s 4,156. Busch’s 1,005 quality passes at Fontana tops Johnson’s 972.
Before last year’s milestone victory, Busch and Interstate Batteries also brought home back-to-back wins at Fontana in 2013 and 2014 – both in dramatic fashion. He is looking to add another win to his impressive record at the track, having scored his maiden victory there in September 2005 and rattling off 10 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s during his career. The two-time and defending Cup Series champion also has six NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Fontana – October 2008 and 2010, February 2009 and 2010, March 2011 and 2013 – which included a weekend Cup-Xfinity sweep in 2013.
So as Busch and the No. 18 Toyota team head back to Fontana, they will look to bring home back-to-back Cup Series wins at Fontana as they hope the new-look “green machine” can pull off another victory in Southern California’s Inland Empire. If they can make it to victory lane, both Busch and Miller know they had a hand in how the victory lane photos turn out.