KYLE BUSCH Drive for Five at Texas HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 14, 2010) - Everything is bigger in Texas, including winning streaks. Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Conn's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has won an ...
Drive for Five at Texas
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 14, 2010) - Everything is bigger in Texas, including winning streaks.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Conn's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has won an incredible four consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, and the "Drive for Five" will take place during Saturday's O'Reilly 300 at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth.
Busch hasn't just won races, either. He's absolutely dominated them. In the four victories, Busch led a combined 657 of 800 laps available to him, meaning he has been at the point for an astounding 82 percent of the Nationwide Series circuits conducted at Texas since 2008.
That translates to 985.5 miles of leading the pack - a distance that would allow Busch to start a drive from Texarkana, Texas, head west on Interstate 30 through Dallas, and take Interstate 35 south through Waco and the state capital of Austin to the north side of San Antonio. From there, Busch could take Interstate 10 west all the way to El Paso.
While Busch isn't looking to criss-cross his way through the great state of Texas, he is looking to add his name to the record books.
Only two other drivers - Jack Ingram and Dale Earnhardt - have won five consecutive Nationwide Series races at one track. Ingram, the 1982 and 1985 Nationwide Series champion, won at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in July 1985 and then won four more races at the .357-mile oval in southern Virginia in April, May, June and July of 1986. Earnhardt won the February Nationwide Series event at Daytona every year from 1990 to 1994.
If Busch has one advantage going for five straight, it's that he's coming off an impressive victory in last Friday's Nationwide event at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the 32nd in the Nationwide Series for Busch and his 65th in NASCAR's top three divisions (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck).
This week, Conn's, a Beaumont, Texas-based appliance and electronics retailer, will be featured on Busch's No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota and the race program from Texas Motor Speedway will feature a coupon for $20 off any purchase of $200 or more of Z-Line Designs furniture from Conn's. The offer is good from April 18 through May 15, 2010.
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Z-Line Designs / Conn's NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
What has been the secret to your success in the Nationwide Series at Texas?
"I don't know what the secret has been. I think just good race cars. I'm looking forward to getting back there. It's going to be a different tire this time around, so I'm not really sure what to expect. We'll see what it has in store for us. I'm looking forward to going out there and trying to win five in a row. It'd be something pretty neat and hopefully we can get it."
How enjoyable is it for you to return to a track that you've had so much success at?
"It's fun to go back to a track that you really run well at and you know really well. Texas was a place I struggled at really, really bad at the beginning of my career. Lately, I've gotten pretty good at it, so I'm hoping that the trend continues. We've got some pretty good competition. (Kevin) Harvick's been really, really good this year and been running fast. Joey (Logano, JGR teammate) will be really fast, too, so we know there'll be some stout guys."
Jason Ratcliff, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs / Conn's NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
How much would it mean for you to win five consecutive races at Texas, especially since you lived in the state for nearly 10 years?
"It's a good track for Kyle. It always has been. It's been a good track for this team, even years ago before Kyle starting driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. We had some pretty decent runs there. It's just been one of those tracks where everything just sort of clicks for us. We'd love to win five in a row. It's always one of my favorite tracks to go to because I grew up not too far from there. I lived there for a little more than 10 years. It's like going home for me. Every win is special, but that one is usually extra special for me since I typically have a lot of family and friends there. We're putting a lot of effort into it this weekend."
How will the different tire affect your set up and strategy going into the race?
"It's going to affect it quite a bit. So far this year, the only track where Goodyear hasn't made a change has been Phoenix. Goodyear has made a change at about every track we've gone to, and our setup has changed because of it. We'll unload with what we've run there in the past and we'll have to have a game plan depending on what the tire does. It's going to be different, and to try and anticipate exactly what it's going to do is extremely difficult. We'll have plan A and plan B, depending on what happens."
Can you talk about your reaction to Kyle's incredible victory at Phoenix, when he rallied back from a penalty to score a victory?
"That was pretty awesome. When we came back out from the penalty, I think we were 18th and the leader was eight seconds behind us. So we were about 20 seconds behind the leader and about four things had to happen for us to win, and each of them hit at the right time. But, what he did in the last few laps, going from ninth to first in about four laps and then leading the final five laps, I've never been a part of something like that and I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like that. You only see that in video games."
Chassis No. 1888: This car made its debut in May 2009 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where Busch started second and finished third.
Its only other start in 2009 came in November at Texas, when Busch started sixth and led 179 of 200 laps en route to winning the O'Reilly Challenge. The last time Chassis No. 1888 saw action was in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Busch started fifth and finished 16th.