As far as auto racing in the United States, the two racing facilities fans think of first more times than not are Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ever since the 2.5-mile high-banked Daytona oval opened in 1959, the NASCAR Cup Series has competed at Daytona on Fourth of July weekend. From 1959 to 1997, the series competed on the morning of July 4, no matter what day of the week the holiday fell on. Starting in 1998, the event was moved to the first Saturday night in July after lights made their debut at the World Center of Racing that season.
The Daytona Fourth of July tradition will finally come to an end in 2020 as its traditional second Cup Series race each season has moved to the end of August as the regular-season finale. Meanwhile, another iconic track filled with history takes its place this weekend – the 111-year old Indianapolis oval – by way of Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), loves making history, and there’s nothing more he would like than to win his third career race on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval and add himself to an elite list of stock-car winners.
With his Brickyard 400 wins in 2015 and 2016, Busch became just the second driver to win the event back-to-back. The only other driver to do so is seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009.
There are relatively few winners of multiple stock car races at Indianapolis to begin with in the race’s 26-year history. Just four drivers reside on that list, and Busch wants to add his name as the fifth driver to win at least three Cup Series races at the Brickyard. Busch hopes to one day catch five-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, who scored his wins in 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2014, and four-time winner Johnson, who sandwiched his back-to-back victories with his first win there in 2006 and his most recent win in 2012. Busch also looks to break his tie with Indiana native Tony Stewart, who won in 2005 and 2007, and Dale Jarrett, who won in 1996 and 1999, as two-time Brickyard 400 winners.
Busch has always been a frontrunner at Indianapolis with an impressive 11 top-10 finishes in 15 starts there for an average finish of 12.5. But until he led the final 19 laps in his first Brickyard 400 victory in 2015, and a whopping 149 of the 170 laps in his 2016 victory, Busch had led just 42 laps there in his 10 visits prior to 2015. In addition to his strong Cup Series record at Indianapolis, he also has four wins and five top-five finishes in his seven NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Indianapolis, including a victory last year.
To get further into celebrating Independence Day this weekend, Busch’s No. 18 Toyota will feature the Skittles America Mix scheme.Each bag of Skittles America Mix contains a fun, fruit flavored, and patriotic mix of red, white and blue candies. The patriotic-themed Skittles are a must-have for celebrating this weekend – and of course – a great snack while watching a NASCAR Cup Series race. They available at retailers nationwide through the end of August.
So it goes without saying Busch would like nothing more than to enjoy the taste of Skittles America Mix, along with the taste of kissing the famous Yard of Bricks for a third time in his Cup Series career. While twice is nice, the third time would put him in elite company in stock-car history at Indianapolis on NASCAR’s first ever trip away from Daytona on Fourth of July weekend.