Kyle Busch Motorsports
Richmond International Raceway Nationwide Series Debut
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 23, 2012) - Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and Kyle Busch Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team driver, yearns to clinch a victory in the record books for his brother's team and to add to his own NNS resume, which includes three wins and three poles in 14 career series starts. A win this weekend at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) would register as the second time in his Nationwide Series career when Busch accomplished a victory from his first venue start, last completing the feat in 2006 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Surprisingly, the Las Vegas native has never started a Nationwide Series race on a track less than one-mile long. Busch does however have a win at the Virginia-based short track, in the Sprint Cup Series from 2005, where he started from the fifth position and dominated the race with 185 laps led for an ultimate victory.
Momentum is changing though for the new series competitors. Last week, the No. 54 Monster Energy team accomplished its highest starting position so far, with a sixth-place qualifying effort recorded at Texas Motor Speedway. To date, the young team has registered two top-10 starts and one top-10 finish in their early career. While expectations among team, sponsor and industry are high for an early-season victory, the fledgling group is progressing as expected considering complete start-up efforts were needed for a full-season, competitive contingency.
"Remembering what we talked about in the off-season, will keep us on track," stated company owner and team driver Kyle Busch. "Although we want to bring home that first victory for our partner Monster Energy and for this competitive team of guys, Mike (Beam, crew chief) and I have always been realistic that it would take the first 10 races of the season in order to work the kinks out. By Charlotte week, we hope to have our inventory built up and processes put in place that will allow us to run the way we expect."
Although only in week seven, the team will continue towards its goal of feeling confident in the program they've built together, in order to see the on-track results desired. Winning his first start in the Nationwide Series at RIR, with a team that has yet to visit the winner's circle, may sound ambitious for Kurt Busch to achieve, but don't count him out. History could repeat itself.
Kurt Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry: Do you like racing at Richmond International Raceway?
"Richmond is a fun short track with two racing grooves. The racing is great there, with side-by-side action and racing at night makes it even more fun. It will be new for me though, as I've never been on a track smaller than one mile in the Nationwide Series."
What are your feelings about driving the No. 54 Nationwide car for the first time at RIR?
"It will be a full day--with practice, qualifying and race all in one day for NNS, along with Cup practice and qualifying. I'm looking forward though to my first start there and my first challenge on a short track in this Series and with this team."
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry: How do you feel this week going into a Richmond night race?
"We will be taking another new car to Richmond this week, one that was built for a short track. The company has worked very hard on this car and we are looking forward to seeing Kurt have a good race with it."
How have you been able to keep spirits high amongst the crew despite a difficult season start?
"The KBM employees have worked so hard, despite challenges; they keep pushing themselves to get better. I have kept record of their shop time and the average build right now, since the 18th of December, yields a new car every 12 days. That's an unreal amount of work that has been completed. When that first win comes to us, it will be a big reward for all the employees of KBM. That is why they continue to work hard. I am so proud of this team; they are a great group of racers."
Kurt Busch's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry: Chassis KBM-009: KBM will unload another new chassis built by the company to race for the first time in Friday night's Richmond event. The backup machine for this weekend's No. 54 team is one that will regularly be used as the second team car, Chassis, KBM-007.