Phoenix Racing press release
Sibling Rivalry Takes Backseat to Singular Goal at Texas
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 10, 2012) – Anyone with a brother or sister can attest to the lifelong competition that exists between siblings. That competition usually involves the battle for parental attention. The spotlight on sibling rivalry is never brighter than it is in sports. Examples are easy to find, from tennis to football to baseball to auto racing.
Tennis has the very popular and equally decorated sisters in Venus and Serena Williams. Serena owns more grand slam singles titles at 13, but Venus has won more overall singles titles at 43 to her sister’s overall total of 37. Equally popular and accomplished are the NFL’s Manning brothers – Eli and Peyton. Eli has the advantage in Super Bowl titles, having won two, including the most recent Super Bowl outing in February, while Peyton has only one championship. When it comes to the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award, there’s no contest as Peyton has claimed the honor four times while Eli is still searching for his first. And, with Peyton’s new contract to play for the AFC’s Denver Broncos while Eli Manning continues to be the signal caller for the NFC’s New York Giants, there is always a chance we could see a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl in the near future.
NASCAR has had many sets of competing siblings throughout its 60-plus years of existence. Sibling rivalries have existed with Richard and Maurice Petty, Bobby and Donnie Allison, and Terry and Bobby Labonte. The sport’s current and most active sibling rivalry is that of brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch. The Busch brothers compete against each other on a weekly basis every season. Kurt has won a championship – scoring the 2004 Sprint Cup title – and has a slight edge in the career win column with 24 Sprint Cup Series wins to younger brother Kyle’s 23. But Kyle, who has competed in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series on a regular basis, has more than 100 wins in NASCAR’s top three touring series.
This weekend’s Samsung Mobile 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway is the next venue for the continuance of the Busch brothers’ sibling rivalry. Kurt arrives at the 1.5-mile Texas track as a former winner, having visited victory lane during the track’s November race in 2009. He started that race third and led 89 laps en route to the win. In 18 career starts at Texas, Kurt has finished in the top-10 a total of 11 times for a top-10 finish percentage of 61.1 percent.
The Busch brother sibling rivalry will start a new chapter this weekend as, for the first time, they’ll be playing for the same team. Prior to driving the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race, Kurt will drive the No. 54 Monster Energy car in Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race on behalf of his brother’s Kyle Busch Motorsports team. This weekend’s Nationwide race is the first of many in which Kurt will compete for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
The elder Busch brother goes into Friday night’s Nationwide Series race as a three-time winner in only 13 starts in the series, including a win in his very first race. That came in the April 2006 event at Texas, when he led the final 70 laps to secure the victory after starting seventh. Busch has one other Nationwide Series start at Texas and that was during the April 2007 race when he scored an eighth-place finish after starting 18th.
While Saturday night’s 500-mile Sprint Cup race is considered to be the weekend’s main event, Friday night’s 300-mile Nationwide race commemorates the first of many in which the focus of the Busch brothers’ rivalry is the like-minded goal of winning – together.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing:
What are your thoughts about racing at Texas?
“Texas has always been good to me and a track at which I’ve typically run well. I like it a lot. It’s the kind of track that, when it’s cool and crisp out, the place is just bad fast. If the sun comes out and the temperature is into the 80s, it gets slick. When that happens, that setup you just went 195 mph with, you can barely get 188 mph out of it. It’s a pretty temperamental place. You know it fits right along with the sister tracks like Atlanta, Charlotte and Las Vegas. They’re very temperature-sensitive tracks and Texas fits right in. I think the other thing you run into at Texas, for whatever reason, is that it’s very easy to miss the setup there. If you miss it, then it’s a struggle all weekend. On the other hand, if you hit it just right, then you are a tough car to beat.”
What is the toughest part about racing at Texas?
“I would say the exit of turn four is the toughest part to negotiate. There are times when the setup on the car is just right and you can drive right off the turn and put down good traction. Then there are other times – maybe when you miss the setup by even a little bit – that you are literally sideways and you’re basically wrecking at 180 mph.”
This is the first weekend in which you’ll be driving in the Nationwide series for your brother. What can we expect there?
“We’ve been talking about it since the start of the season, which feels like it just happened yesterday, so time is definitely flying. I think it’ll be interesting. We’ve been competitors for so long, now, that it’s nice to be doing this deal here with the Monster Energy car together. They’ve had a lot of bad luck to start the season, so they’re not quite where they want to be as far as the car owner’s championship battle. I am hoping we can go in there and turn some of that around. We tested Nashville last week to try to work some things out so I really just want to go in and get the best finish I can to help them climb back into the points battle.”
You made your first Nationwide start at Texas and won. How?
“This may sound strange, but there is this kind of unique homecoming feel. I did make my first Nationwide start at Texas. It was in 2006 after I had been in the Cup series for a number of years, which is a little different, but it was still pretty cool to make that first start and win it. I’ve actually only made 13 starts in the series, so it would be pretty remarkable to go there six years later and contend for the win. It would kind of feel just like that first time all over again.”
Feeling good after the off-week?
“It wasn’t completely off for me. I tested for Kyle’s team in Nashville last week for a couple of days, but we had a lot of fun in-between that test. We went to New Orleans and watched the (NCAA men’s basketball) championship game between Kentucky and Kansas, then spent some time in (Washington) D.C., doing a few things – went to a Capitals game which was great. It was a good break.”