HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept 7, 2011) – Kyle Busch won the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and helped Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) to owner’s titles in 2008 and 2010. He holds the all-time Nationwide Series record for career wins in the series after scoring his 50th victory two weeks ago at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
So what’s left to accomplish for the driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for JGR?
Simply put, victory number 51.
There is nothing Busch likes more than winning trophies, so his mindset heading into Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Nationwide Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway is to simply take home another checkered flag.
And the .75-mile oval has been very good to the Las Vegas native during his career.
He has three Nationwide wins (May 2004, September 2007 and May 2009) to go along with three poles (May 2004, September 2007 and April 2010) and 11 top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He’s completed 100 percent of laps available to him (3,513 of 3,513) and has been at the point for 698 circuits around Richmond.
Busch hasn’t been a slouch in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition at Richmond, either, having scored three wins (May 2009, 2010 and 2011), one pole (May 2010) four runner-up finishes and an amazing 11 top-five results in just 13 career starts.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
What do you like about racing at Richmond?
“I enjoy going to Richmond. It’s been a fun place and a great place for me with results, lately. For myself, the short-track appeal to it – I think it relates to a lot of fans and relates to a lot of us drivers. It’s kind of where we come from – the Saturday-night-under-the-lights kind of local short-track deal. To me, Richmond is a tough little place, though. You’ve got to have good brakes and have to get it slowed down, have to be able to roll the center really well and get the power down, especially off turn two, as well as turn four. With the way the track kind of is laid out, it lends itself to some good racing. Being able to get a run off the top side when the top is good and keeping the momentum through the inside lane, as well, and not letting yourself get bogged down too much racing side-by-side with somebody. To me, it’s a fun place and we enjoy going there.”
How is getting around Richmond different than some of the other short tracks on the schedule?
“At Richmond, you try to be easy on the brakes getting in so you don’t lock up getting into the corner or get too loose getting into the corner. It’s really particular there. The center (of the corner) always seems to be a little tight with these cars. And the exit, today, has been so loose. Nobody has any forward bite coming up off the corner, so it’s pretty bad. That should make for a pretty interesting race. It’s a fun short track. It’s pretty fast and it usually spreads out, and you’ll get a lot of grooves to choose from. You can pretty much count on the usual exciting short-track race when you go there.”
Jason Ratcliff, Crew Chief of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
What are your thoughts heading into Richmond?
“I’m extremely optimistic heading into Richmond. We’ve been pretty excited about our short-track program this year. As a company, in the Nationwide Series we’ve been fairly successful at Phoenix and Loudon, and even Richmond in May. In the first race at Richmond, the 20 car (Denny Hamlin) was able to get a victory. Looking back at their notes and their set-up, I feel pretty good about going into this weekend. It’s a strong track for Kyle. I’m extremely optimistic and I’m looking forward to a good weekend.”
With Kyle having achieved 100 wins, 50 Nationwide Series wins, a championship, etc., are there any other goals left for the No. 18 Nationwide Series team?
“I would say right now one of our biggest focuses beyond just trying to get more victories in the next few races is to try and win another owner’s championship. That’s something that we are close to. We’ve been very fortunate and blessed to win the last three and, if we could win another one, that would be an awesome victory for us. And very gratifying to think that we could switch over to this new Nationwide car this year full-time and we could go out and show we can continue to be competitive as a group and we can go out and win championships, especially with multiple drivers in the car. I think that’s a goal within reach and probably the next one we would like to achieve.”
Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry
Chassis No. 18-112: This car’s debut came in April at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, where Busch started sixth and led 39 laps before finishing second to Carl Edwards. Michael McDowell then drove chassis 18-112 in May at Iowa Speedway in Newton, where he started second, led 19 laps and finished seventh. Busch returned to the cockpit of the car in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where he started fifth and led 33 of 206 laps en route to his 49th career Nationwide Series victory.