KYLE BUSCH CHANGE IS IN THE AIR HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 4, 2009) -- It's that time of the year again -- the weather is turning colder, the leaves are falling from the trees, and winter is quickly approaching. Along with the seasonal chill...
CHANGE IS IN THE AIR
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 4, 2009) -- It's that time of the year again -- the weather is turning colder, the leaves are falling from the trees, and winter is quickly approaching.
Along with the seasonal chill this time of year comes the annual round of changes in the air among the teams competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as well.
One of those teams, with just three races remaining in the marathon-like Sprint Cup schedule, is the No. 18 M&M's team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), which moves Dave Rogers to the top of the pit box as crew chief for driver Kyle Busch in Sunday's Dickies 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, will be paired with Rogers for the first time in Sprint Cup competition. But the two are already familiar with each other as the talented 24-year-old Busch piloted the No. 20 JGR Toyota, with Rogers as crew chief, for three races in the Nationwide Series last season. In those races -- at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, and the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City -- Busch and Rogers combined to lead 300 of the possible 503 laps and scored their first win together at Mexico City.
While Busch and Rogers have enjoyed a brief but successful working relationship in Nationwide Series competition, they know full well life on the Sprint Cup circuit is a whole different animal. That said, they'll use the last three Sprint Cup races to get reacquainted with each other and, most importantly, collaborate on NASCAR's new Sprint Cup car at three very important racetracks. They'll focus on communication, as well as gaining as much knowledge as possible, as the M&M's team prepares for its ultimate goal of winning races and competing for the Sprint Cup championship in 2010.
As for Texas, familiarity is a non-issue for Busch as he's captured three Nationwide Series wins in a row at the 1.5-mile oval and will be gunning for his first Sprint Cup win deep in the heart of Texas.
So while change is in the air for Busch and the No. 18 team, he'll hope to capitalize on the team's latest personnel move by scoring his first win at Texas and also get a head start on his quest for the 2010 championship.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
Can you talk about your mixed emotions as the team made a change at crew chief starting this week with Dave Rogers coming on board?
"I love Steve (Addington). He's been a great guy and a great leader with this team the last couple of years. He brought a lot to the table last year with the car coming in for his first full season of competition. This year, it just seems in the beginning of the year we were good again but we sort of fell off a little bit and couldn't keep up with the rest of the competition. We're looking for some new, fresh ideas. They feel like Dave Rogers can bring those in and get us going. Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) are always looking for opportunities to make their organization better. They felt like this was a necessary change to make in order to get ready for 2010 so the 18 car can be capable of competing for the Chase and, of course, competing for the championship at the end of the year."
Can you talk about what your goals are for the remainder of the season with Rogers as your new crew chief? Will a lot of what you do over the final three races be to get ready for 2010?
"That's what our plan is for the last three races of '09 -- just getting ready for 2010, not to say we wouldn't love to win one of the remaining races. Dave and I have worked together on the Nationwide side before, so we have a sense of what we need from each other and what we need to talk about. It might be a bit of a learning curve for Dave, so that's going to be the biggest thing, probably Dave getting ready and getting everything and all his paperwork in order for this new car. For me, it will be just talking with Dave, spending some more time with him, trying to get everything going. That's going to be the biggest thing in these final races, just trying to prepare ourselves and trying to get ready for 2010."
Are you looking forward to the race in Texas more than you did early on in your career?
"In the Truck Series and Nationwide Series, Texas has been a pretty good place for me. I have qualified well there in the Trucks and I have finished second twice. I think we've got a great shot of being able to sweep both Nationwide Series races at Texas again this year, like we did in 2008. We have great cars at Joe Gibbs Racing and there's no reason we won't have a good shot. Besides that, we've got a third or fourth two out of the last three times in the Cup car, so it's been good, as well. So, I am looking forward to keeping that run going there at Texas."
You have had success at Texas Motor Speedway recently. Are you getting more comfortable there each time you go back?
"It used to not be so much. I had some wild races there early on in my career and it wasn't one of my favorite places, for whatever reason. Things have gone well recently. I have sort of learned how to drive it a little bit better and I know what I need in my racecar to make it easier. Finishing third or fourth recently in the Cup Series has been a confidence-booster there. I can't seem to get past second place in the Truck Series or win in Cup. So, hopefully, that's something we can change this weekend."