LIVONIA, Mich. (March 1, 2000) Consider it "Chapter Two" in a book that will contain a considerable number of pages before all is said and done before the NASCAR 2000 campaign in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is completed for rookie driver...
LIVONIA, Mich. (March 1, 2000) Consider it "Chapter Two" in a book that will contain a considerable number of pages before all is said and done before the NASCAR 2000 campaign in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is completed for rookie driver Kurt Busch.
Last weekend in the Florida Dodge Dealers 400K at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch continued his lessons in NASCAR 101 competing in the second event in the 24-race season. He showed he is a quick study as he posted his second top-10 finish of the season -- in only his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
"Oh yes, I learned plenty more," said the 21-year-old, who drives the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford for Roush Racing. "Really, the Homestead race was the first race of the season for us. At Daytona, it was more vehicle than driver. But, at Homestead, we had to learn the truck, set it up, and use the brakes. It was a different experience."
After finishing a surprising second in the Daytona 250 Busch, the 1999 champion of the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring followed up that performance with a ninth-place in the Florida Dodge Dealers 400.
He presently sits in third-place in the standings behind the winners of the first two races, Mike Wallace and Andy Houston, respectively, and leads the early-season Rookie of the Year standings.
"Every race will be a learning experience for the rest of the season," Busch said. "At Homestead, I thought we had a pretty good run. We ran solidly in the top-10 all day. That's essentially the goal for each race -- to run strong and be in contention."
The Las Vegas native is getting more comfortable with the pressures associated with the higher-profile NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"That's true," Busch said of the difference between the NASCAR Touring Division and the national NCTS. "Of course, as the season moves along, I'll get that much more comfortable. It's still so early, though. I have so much to learn -- you can't imagine."
Busch emphasizes that he wouldn't be where he's at right now without the direction of crew chief Matt Chambers.
"Matt is so valuable," Busch said. "He suggests things to me and I listen, believe me. Our relationship is growing, which is great. We're all on the same page when it comes to goals and objectives. That's extremely important."
The next stop for Busch and his teammates will be in Phoenix the weekend of March 17-18, for the Chevy Trucks NASCAR 150 presented by the Valley Chevy Dealers.
"At least, I have been to Phoenix International Raceway," Busch said. "This time, all I have to worry about is setting the truck up and not having the additional burden of learning the track."