Looking Forward to California Return
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 20, 2012) - Week five of the 2012 race season brings the No. 54 Monster Energy team to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., a track they've been looking forward to racing on. Since an on-track incident at the recent Las Vegas Motor Speedway event removed the team's chance for a solid run, the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) group has looked forward to returning to an intermediate track with a new car and a new chance for victory. KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch has won three consecutive Nationwide Series events at the 2-mile venue, giving him a track record five wins in NASCAR's second division - including two from the pole position.
The most recent victory for Busch at this track came in this same race event, one year ago - week five of the 2011 season. That win was accomplished from the seventh-place starting position, however twice before the talented 26-year-old has won this west-coast event from the starting spot, in 2010 and in 2008. Coincidentally, the No. 54 team crew chief Mike Beam won the pole position with his former driver/team in the 2011 Fontana, Calif. NNS event, so Busch and Beam are both comfortable in knowing how to set the car up for a strong performance.
Busch would like nothing better than to have a solid run with his race team this week. They knew their intermediate-track car was competitive at Las Vegas (Nev.), so to not have the opportunity to really show their potential there, left the group yearning for another stab at a similar-style race track. With a new car chassis and a burning desire to bring home the team's first top-five performance in the Nationwide Series, KBM hopes history will repeat itself and week-five will be the turning point for the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry to have a successful run.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
Last year in this race, you pulled the victory off with pit stop strategy from your former crew chief. This year with Mike Beam coaching the No. 54 Monster Energy team, do you enter Fontana with a similar aggressive strategy?
"Yeah, you know Mike and his team took the pole position here last year in that race where we beat them at the end with a two-tire pit strategy. Everyone saw how that turned out, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see it again by teams. It worked for me once, so I'd do it again."
Despite the finishes so far this season, are you happy with the progress the new NNS team is making?
"Like I've said before, our original game plan was to settle into the season and give ourselves 10 races or so, by Charlotte, to work the kinks out. You go to Daytona and it's a tease knowing we could have had a win right off the bat. Then, you go to your hometown track and you want to run well there. You go to Phoenix and Bristol, where I'm comfortable at those tracks - it just gives us a faster anticipation of winning, which isn't a bad thing. We want it. We recognize there is still work to be done though to have all the parts we need internally and to apply what we know, as a group, at the racetrack and really perform well together. We have to minimize our mistakes too which is part of growing."
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
You've had success yourself at this Speedway, how do you feel the team will perform this week?
"We are focused this week to bring a new car to the field and have the success we are looking for in our 2.0-mile track programs. Auto Club Speedway is a track I know both Kyle and I are comfortable with, so I think it'll be a good chance for us to put some of the struggles behind us and focus on a good finish. This team deserves it and will keep working hard to bring home a solid finish for Kyle and the Monster Energy sponsor."
Kyle seemed anxious to get back to an intermediate track after what was learned in Vegas. How do you feel?
"I am also anxious to run this car. Since it is home to Monster Energy we will do our best to try to get that first win for them. Kyle is good at this track but he is good at every race track we go to. As long as I can give him a good car we are going to be competitive. After the Bristol race, and the problem on pit road, the guys on the pit crew had a good practice Monday. They know that they have to step it up for Kyle and I feel we are getting closer every week. If we had things go our way already we could have won two of the first four races, but right now Kyle is carrying this team until we get the cars and chassis figured out to make them consistently competitive."
Kyle Busch's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry: Chassis KBM-006: KBM will unload another new chassis built by the company to race for the first time in Saturday's California event. The backup machine for this weekend's No. 54 team is one that will regularly be used as a second team car, Chassis, KBM-007.