Double Duty for Successful Road-Course Driver
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 19, 2012) - This weekend will be a busy one for former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch, who will perform double duty from two different road courses. Busch will make his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the seat of his brother's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry on Saturday, at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. The Las Vegas native will then travel to Sonoma, Calif. for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event, where he is the defending race winner.
The long journey between states will be worth it, as Busch has earned three victories at road courses across his career. Although he has not raced in the Nationwide Series at Road America before, Busch has accomplished three poles and two victories from three previous road-course starts at a similar NNS track, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, along with the 2011 Sonoma Raceway Cup Series win.
Texas native Colin Braun, whose NNS career consists of 31 races, two poles, three laps led, one top-five and six top-10 finishes, will prepare the car during practice sessions before Busch's arrival from California Saturday. Braun has two road-course events under his belt, including a 2008 pole position at Mexico City (Mexico), where he led for two laps, and a 2010 top-15 finish at this week's Road America course.
Logistics are specific for the dual-driver plan, however it isn't anything new to Crew Chief Mike Beam, who conducted the same process in 2011 with his previous driver. Beam took the No. 54 Monster Energy team, with Busch and Braun, to a recent test session at Road Atlanta (Ga.). A plan was made specifically for Braun to use during race practice, while Busch has studied film on the Wisconsin four-mile course. The team feels prepared, and with limited mistakes, looks to make Busch's extensive travel plans worthwhile, bringing home the first road-course victory for the company.
Kurt Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How will you prepare for the travel associated with racing at two different road courses in the same weekend? "I think we've already prepared as well as we can, thinking ahead about the logistics involved, making sure there will be limited conflicts with both schedules and working out a game plan for Colin (Braun) to practice the car. I know how Mike (Beam, crew chief) is going to set it up and he'll keep me informed."
Do you enjoy the road courses? "Before the Sonoma Cup Series win last year, people didn't really talk about me as a road-course racer. I think they didn't know my comfort level for these types of tracks. I really enjoy them and feel knowledgeable about the car changes needed to be competitive. The variety of tracks I raced on growing up, I think, prepared me for the challenges of a road course. I've had two wins at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) so I'm ready to attack this week's course at Road America. As a team we traveled to Road Atlanta and had a really productive test session. Every week we continue to get stronger with the program and resources that Kyle has put into place here."
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How difficult will it be preparing the car for this race considering Kurt's Sonoma schedule?
"This weekend will be a logistical challenge with Kurt flying in on race morning from Sonoma. Luckily I had to deal with this in the past, so we just have to focus on not making any mistakes. Having Colin (Braun) drive the car in practice will be very helpful. He's a smart driver and a fine young man.
We had a great test at Road Atlanta with Kurt and Colin, so now I have to stick with our practice plan and be prepared for Kurt to come in Saturday morning. He has studied the breakdown of last year's race and qualifying and will be debriefed on our practice information, with balance of chassis and balance of brakes, from Friday."
What are the chances of your team securing KBM's first road-course victory?
"I'm really excited to have Kurt in the car for this event. He is one of the best road racers in stock cars that I have ever seen. I really appreciate the effort that Kurt and Kyle have both put into this whole program. As I say every week, if we limit our mistakes we should contend for the victory."
Kurt Busch's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry:
Chassis KBM-001: KBM will unload car #001, now converted into a road-course machine, previously raced at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway where the team earned an eleventh-place finish. The backup machine is Chassis KBM-002, previously raced at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway with a 17th-place finish.