Homestead: Kyle Busch preview

KYLE BUSCH 'We've Seen Everything Good' HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 12, 2008) -- Near the end of the 1986 hit movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cameron Frye (played by Alan Ruck) is asked by Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick), "Cameron, ...

KYLE BUSCH
'We've Seen Everything Good'

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 12, 2008) -- Near the end of the 1986 hit movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cameron Frye (played by Alan Ruck) is asked by Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick), "Cameron, what have you seen today?"

Frye replies simply, "Nothing good."

Bueller, shocked by his answer, responds: "Nothing? What? What do you mean, nothing good? We've seen everything good. We've seen the whole city! We went to a museum. We saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!"

Everything good -- the same could be said for Kyle Busch's season.

Okay, so Busch and the No. 18 M&M's Toyota team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) came up short in their quest for a Sprint Cup championship. But the talented 23-year-old could very well be called driver of the year considering all that he and his team have accomplished in 2008.

The Las Vegas native has scored 21 victories in NASCAR's top three divisions -- eight in Sprint Cup, 10 in the Nationwide Series and three in the Craftsman Truck Series. He has also brought home 17 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes in 35 Sprint Cup starts in 2008.

Consider just a few other highlights as Busch heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday's season-ending Ford 400:

On March 9, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Busch scored an emotional win by returning the No. 18 JGR Sprint Cup Series team to victory lane for the first time since Nov. 16, 2003, as well as the first win for Snickers/M&M's as the primary sponsor of the No. 18 team.

On June 22, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Busch and the M&M's team captured their first career Sprint Cup road course win in the Toyota/Save Mart 350k.

On July 12, at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. Ill., Busch made a daring pass on the outside of leader Jimmie Johnson in turn two after a green-white-checkered restart that sealed the victory for the No. 18 M&M's team in the Lifelock 400.

On Aug. 10, at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Busch and the No. 18 M&M's team completed the road course sweep by winning the Centurion Boats at the Glen, while at the same time, notching their eighth win of the 2008 season.

On Nov. 1, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Busch scored his 10th Nationwide Series victory of the season, tying him with the legendary Sam Ard for the most victories in a Nationwide Series season. In victory lane, Busch announced a donation of $100,000 to the 69-year-old Ard, who suffers from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

While Busch and the No. 18 team encountered problems in the first four Chase for the Sprint Cup races, they have brought home top-10 finishes in four out of the last five events.

Some may look at Busch's season like Frye looked at his day off in Chicago. But once it's all said and done upon the completion of Sunday's race in Homestead, Busch and his entire team will certainly come to this realization: "It's been a good year."

KYLE BUSCH: Driver, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry at Homestead-Miami Speedway

What stands out as a highlight for you this season?

"There are plenty of highlights -- sweeping the road course races, winning the first race at Atlanta for myself with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota and Steve Addington (crew chief). It's been fun to win 21 total races, and I'm hoping to add at least one more this weekend. Just being as fast in every series that I've been in has made the year a lot of fun, overall."

Homestead is a track where you have your fewest Sprint Cup starts. What will you expect at Homestead this weekend?

"It seems like I've never been able to finish a race at Homestead. I've always seemed to run into bad luck there, and last year's race was my best finish and we were like 20th. But, there have been several tracks that I've not run well at before this year and have won the race, like we did at Atlanta, or running well on the road course races.

What are your plans for the short NASCAR "off-season"?

"I'll have Thanksgiving up in the Chicago area with the girlfriend's parents and then come back to North Carolina for a Saturday-Sunday Late Model race. Then I think that's it for the year. There were other opportunities for me to go run Late Model stuff, but I decided I would try to take a break a little bit and give the girlfriend a break. Just lay down a little bit and maybe go somewhere."

Many have called for the point structure of the Chase to be changed around with some citing what happened to your team over the last nine races. Do you think there should be changes to the Chase?

"Even with the old points system, we would have still fallen behind. Probably not as far behind as we are now, but maybe they should give something a little bit more for the guy that wins the regular season. Just like last year, when Jeff Gordon had a solid regular season and still ended up with good year but finished second with the most top-fives and the most top-10s. He didn't have the most wins, but he was still the most consistent guy all year long, and Jimmie's (Johnson) team was just dominant like he has been in the Chase this year. We just had some bad luck over the first five races of the Chase, so we haven't been as consistent. I'm sure each guy has an opinion on how to change the points system, but it's really NASCAR's sandbox and we get to play in it. For me, it's been the same points system since I started in Cup and we all know what the rules are."

Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team have had momentum and a little bit of luck on their side in this year's Chase. Is momentum just as important in NASCAR as it might be in other sports?

"Those guys have done a great job this year of putting together some great cars, and so have my guys. All we can do is work hard this weekend and finish up the year and focus on a 2009 championship. It's just like anything in sports -- those guys got into a rhythm. Maybe it's a quarterback who has the best passer rating three games in a row, or maybe a receiver who has a touchdown streak. It's been that way for us this year, so I've considered myself fortunate to still have the year that we've had. It seems like it was Richmond where it all got derailed for us. We just haven't had the finishes that we've wanted to since then. You've got to keep the team upbeat and get that momentum back on your side. I don't know exactly what we need to do to get it back, but I know our guys will keep working hard and I'll drive the wheels off it this weekend one more time."

There were a lot of changes for you and the team going into this year, between working with a new team at JGR and a new crew chief in Steve Addington, and JGR's switch to Toyota. What has been the key to the team's overall success this season?

"I'd have to say that the organization has been the biggest thing. With Joe Gibbs Racing being as good as they have been this year, and all the guys at the shop who have done an awesome job of switching the cars to Toyota and doing as much as they did in the off-season. Toyota has also done a great job of helping get us some horsepower at the restrictor-plate tracks, and Mark (Cronquist) and all the engine guys have been working really hard on getting our package better on the other tracks. We've got to keep working though to keep up with the Hendrick and Roush stuff that has been really good recently. It just starts with all the top-notch people we have throughout our shop, and I know those guys are working harder than ever to get us ready for this weekend and, more importantly, for the 2009 season."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing