Charlotte II: Kyle Busch preview

KYLE BUSCH BRIGHTENING UP THE WEEKEND HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2009) -- Last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. was a trying one for Kyle Busch, as the talented 24-year-old driver fell ill and had to yield to relief drivers in...

KYLE BUSCH
BRIGHTENING UP THE WEEKEND

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2009) -- Last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. was a trying one for Kyle Busch, as the talented 24-year-old driver fell ill and had to yield to relief drivers in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races.

While he continues to rest up early in the week, Busch will hope to be in much better spirits while turning his attention to his favorite racetrack -- Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., for Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500 Sprint Cup Series race.

While the driver of the No. 18 M&M's/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) knows a win Saturday night would brighten up his weekend, Busch's car and firesuit will certainly play the part. A colorful pink M&M's scheme will be on tap in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

If Busch's last four Sprint Cup finishes at Charlotte are any indication, chances are the brightly colored car will be somewhere near the front of the pack. Busch notched a career-best third-place finish at the 1.5-mile oval in October 2007, then followed it up in the May 2008 Coca-Cola 600 by matching that same result. Last October, Busch scored a fourth-place finish and had a shot at the win before a pit road speeding penalty took him out of contention. Most recently, the Las Vegas native dominated this past May's Coca-Cola 600, leading five times for a race-high 173 laps. But this time, rain shortened the event, and the timing of a final rain shower thwarted his team's pit strategy and his chance at the win, relegating him to a somewhat disappointing sixth-place finish.

Still, Charlotte remains Busch's favorite racetrack as he's enjoyed four NASCAR Nationwide Series wins and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins there, along with the aforementioned three top-five and five top-10 finishes in the Sprint Cup Series.

With the recent strong finishes at Charlotte under his belt, along with a week's worth of rest, there is plenty of reason for optimism this weekend. Besides, he'll be vying for his first Sprint Cup victory at Charlotte with M&M's and a great cause, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation along for the ride.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

Last weekend was rough with you feeling very under the weather and having to get out of the car in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Fontana. How are you feeling this week and what are you expecting for this weekend in Charlotte?

"It was rough, for sure. The last thing I wanted to do was get out of either race car. Thanks to all the guys on the Nationwide side and the Cup guys for sticking behind me. I just didn't feel it was the right thing to do for myself and everyone else out there. I went to see my doctor at home on Monday. I'm just trying to get as much sleep as I can and keep getting fluids in me. That's about all I can do and we'll see how I feel this weekend, but I'm trying to rest as much as I can in order to be ready for Charlotte. I think we have cars capable of winning both races."

For the second year in-a-row you have a special pink M&M's paint scheme to support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and breast cancer awareness. How does it feel to ride around in a pink car?

"I don't mind the pink car at all. We were fast with it last year, so I don't care what color it is as long as it's fast and we have a chance to win the race. I told M&M's that I wanted more pink on my firesuit, too, this year and they were able to do that. I figure if we're going to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let's go all out. It's a cool deal to be able to support since, chances are, someone in your family, or someone you know has been affected by breast cancer and I'm happy that M&M's supports the cause and we can support it with our paint scheme this weekend."

You've said in the past that Charlotte is your favorite track. Is there any particular reason why?

"Charlotte is still probably my favorite racetrack. Just growing up, watching races on TV, I loved watching the All-Star race under the lights and the 600 with all the sparks flying and all the guys going after hard-fought, hard-racing wins. The Nationwide Series has been good to me there. The Truck Series has been pretty good to me there. But a Cup Series win has eluded me there. I finished third in the 500 last fall but, besides that, I don't think I've finished in the top-20. It's been kind of a struggle there for me. I think I've only finished one race there without having problems or without wrecking or having something happen. In that race, I was two or three laps down in 32nd, or something like that. We fought back and finished in the top-five in the first race there, so I hope my luck is turning around a bit at Charlotte. Before May, I always wrecked when it was still daytime, and I do the same thing at Homestead."

You were able to win at your hometown track in Las Vegas, and even on your birthday this year at Richmond. Is winning at Charlotte next on your list behind perhaps the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400?

"Next week is where you want to win next. You forget about what happened last week and focus on what's ahead. Winning at Lowe's Motor Speedway, since it is my favorite track, would be really special since I've been able to win there in other series and have been close a lot in the Cup car. We had good cars there in both races last year. At the fall Charlotte race, we were in a position to win and I messed up, speeding on pit road, and we ended up fourth. It seems like the month of May at Charlotte just doesn't like me too much, either, since we had the best car there in the spring and the rain really affected the outcome on the final pit stop. But I'm hoping we can change that. There are plenty of other tracks that we need to win at, too, but winning in Charlotte in the Cup car would be really special."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing