Kyle Busch Visits Naval Air Station; Showcases TSS Freedom Trophy & Special Military Ticket Offers

 During a visit to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Thursday, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch posed with service members embracing Talladega Superspeedway’s coveted “Freedom Trophy,” that is given to each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at NASCAR’s Most Competitive track. Problem was, though, the trophy wasn’t his – at least not yet. The only way to take ownership of the patriotic hardware will be to win next weekend’s 500 (Sunday, Oct. 25) at the mammoth 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway.

“I have been fortunate to win at Talladega in all three of NASCAR’s divisions, but I don’t have one of these cool trophies,” said Busch, one of 12 eligible drivers, who, with a win at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track, will advance to the Eliminator Round of eight in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. “To be here at NAS today and to be around all the service men and women, it makes you feel so proud.  They love the Freedom Trophy and it would be an incredible honor to put it on the mantle. It really makes the meaning of winning next week in Talladega much more special to me. “

Busch, who was at NAS to talk about the Freedom Trophy and Talladega Superspeedway’s special ticket offers for our military ( has gone to Gatorade Victory Lane at the 33-degree banking of Talladega in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series (1 win), XFINITY (1 win) and Camping World Truck Series (2 wins). The five-side Freedom Trophy, which represents each of the country’s military branches (Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard), was introduced in May of 2014, years after Busch’s lone NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win at Talladega in 2008.

“It’s been a while, but we know where Victory Lane is at Talladega. We haven’t forgotten that,” said Busch, who spent the day with department heads and military personal at NAS, answering questions and taking photos before taking a tour of the incredible National Naval Aviation Museum. “We’ve just got to put ourselves in position to win. We are going for broke and racing for everything we’ve got. It’s going to be intense.“

Added intensity will be the fact that Talladega is the third and final race of the Contender Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, meaning the field of 12 eligible drivers for the title will be cut to eight at the checkered flag. Last year, Busch came into Talladega the highest non-winner in the standings, but after an early-race accident and a 40th place finish, he slipped out of the top eight, dashing his championship hopes.

“Our strategy last year was to hang out at the back and avoid trouble,” added Busch, “but there was a wreck in front of us and I drove through it, but then got taken out from behind. This time at Talladega, our strategy is to be out front.” 

At the head of the pack at the checkered flag is the place Busch has to be to take home the Freedom Trophy. Thursday at NAS, which has more than 23,000 service members, Busch got to meet one person he hopes to see again soon. Colonel Eric Buer, United States Marine Corps, will be at Talladega on Oct. 25 to present the winner of the 500 with the Freedom Trophy in Gatorade Victory Lane.

“It was great to meet all of the military members today,” added Busch, “and I can’t wait to see Colonel Buer again – hopefully in Victory Lane at Talladega where he can hand the Freedom Trophy over to me.”

In addition to Busch, the remaining drivers in the title hunt include Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex, Jr., Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Neman, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and defending NSCS champ Kevin Harvick. Kyle, Kenseth, Hamlin, Gordon, Keselowski, Earnhardt, Jr., and Harvick have all won NSCS races at TSS.

Talladega’s weekend kicks off on Friday (Oct. 23) with practice sessions for both the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the 500. Saturday’s (Oct. 24) slate includes qualifying for both races, as well as the drop of the green flag for the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ race (starting at noon CDT) which will feature veterans like Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter trying to hold off hard-charging young guns like Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick. The green flag will drop Sunday (Oct. 25) on the 500 at 1:30 p.m. CDT.