Kyle Busch Motorsports
33rd at LVMS with Strong Team Effort
Native will wait Another Year for NNS Win at Home Track
In his ninth career NASCAR Nationwide Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch brought a new race team and new car chassis to compete at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval on Saturday. Under the umbrella of new Nationwide Series team Kyle Busch Motorsports, and from their third race start this season, the No. 54 Monster Energy team qualified in the 20th starting position for the 16th Annual Sam's Town 300 from Las Vegas, Nev. Early in the race, however, the young group had to work together to fix a damaged race car and returned car-owner Busch to the speedway, salvaging a 33rd place finish.
"I hate this for my guys," described Busch. "We would have been alright -- probably an eighth, ninth or 10th-place car. We'll go get them in Fontana (Calif.). I know Bristol is next, but you know, we need to work on our next intermediate track," the team owner explained.
Despite adversity the team experienced through early weekend practice sessions, to find the right setup for the bumpy track surface, Busch remained hopeful for a strong showing in front of family and friends. The race started well for the Las Vegas native, as he climbed through the field to within the top-ten positions, in initial race laps. Although, from as high as the ninth spot, and upon the first yellow-flag period, the 26-year-old driver described what would be a precursor to the day. "I'm wrecking loose," Busch exclaimed on lap 12 prior to a pit stop. Crew chief Mike Beam enlisted the crew to make some big car changes, through track bar and wedge adjustments, along with taking fuel during the initial pit stop.
The team knew further changes may be needed to satisfy the driver and his ill-handling race car, but they didn't get the chance to make those fixes under normal race progress. On lap 26, Busch spun off Turn 2 and backed his No. 54 Toyota into the inside wall along the track backstretch. The team owner drove his car to the garage, where he sat patiently inside the vehicle for almost 40 minutes, while his team made vigorous repairs to the damaged Camry.
This young group still has bonding to do, in order to develop into a Championship caliber team, however they showed their strong motivation to win, by pulling together to make the major repairs and get driver-owner Busch back onto the race track.
Back in the field at the halfway point of the 200-lap event, and with over 70 laps lost during garage-stall repairs, the No. 54 Monster Energy team returned to the race in the 38th position. Over the course of two more team pit stops, and through attrition of other race teams during the later part of the race, the KBM group earned five additional spots by race end, bringing home the machine in the 33rd position.
The Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 NNS entry currently sits 15th in the Series Owner's Points Standings, 60 points out of first place, through three races completed.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his third career Nationwide Series event and first Series win of 2012 in the Roush Fenway owned Ford EcoBoost machine, with a strong run over second-place finisher Mark Martin. Elliott Sadler, Trevor Bayne and Brendan Gaughan completed the top-five finishers.
There were seven caution periods for 27 laps of the race along with eight lead changes across eight drivers.