BRIAN ICKLER Ready To Cash In on Lucky Start No. 7 in Las Vegas MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2010) -- Brian Ickler is down to his last chance this season to bring home a win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series behind the wheel of the No. 18...
Ready To Cash In on Lucky Start No. 7 in Las Vegas
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2010) -- Brian Ickler is down to his last chance this season to bring home a win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). So what better time to head to the place where people bring their hopes and dreams of winning it big most every day of the year -- Las Vegas.
Ickler, the newly turned 25-year-old from San Diego, will make his seventh Truck Series start of the season for KBM during Saturday night's Smith's 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And after four solid top-10 finishes in his first six starts, he's hoping start number seven comes up a winner at the 1.5-mile oval located just a stone's throw up the road from the Las Vegas Strip.
A win for Ickler and KBM on Saturday night would be fitting in so many ways. Team owner-driver Kyle Busch, who will be taking care of business of his own some 2,500 miles away this weekend in the second Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship race of the season at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, hails from Las Vegas.
And, for the first time this season, Ickler and the No. 18 Toyota Tundra racetruck will wear the familiar colors of M&M's, Busch's sponsor on his No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Busch and the No. 18 racetruck are five-time winners already this season -- most recently at last week's Truck Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. That win brought the No. 18 team to within 25 points of the owner's championship lead behind the No. 30 Germain Racing Toyota of driver Todd Bodine.
Another solid finish by Ickler Saturday night would go a long way toward positioning the No. 18 team in the owner's championship race down the stretch. The Truck Series takes a three-week hiatus after Saturday night's race before closing out the season with five consecutive companion events alongside the Sprint Cup series, putting Busch back in the driver's seat for all five.
But, first things first -- as Ickler returns to the track where he drove the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota to a solid ninth-place finish a year ago in his only previous outing at Las Vegas, he's hoping like never before that start number seven is the lucky one.
Brian Ickler, Driver, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Talk about how important the race at Las Vegas is for the entire Kyle Busch Motorsports team.
"This is a pretty big weekend for me and for all of Kyle Busch Motorsports. With Kyle being from Las Vegas and M&M's being on the truck this weekend, we really want to have a good showing. Being so close in the owner's points right now, you know that Kyle wants to win that owner's championship. So there's definitely some added pressure, and we definitely want to have a good weekend in Vegas."
What are your thoughts on what your role has been with Kyle Busch Motorsports and how this season has helped you?
"Kyle has helped me a ton in my career. I really can't put it into words. I have to thank Rick (Ren) and Eric (Phillips) and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports for everything they've done, giving me good, fast racetrucks every time I've been at the track. We've been fast every week. We've been good. We've had a couple of top-fives and top-10s. It kind of humbles you after a race like Darlington, when you get in a wreck and you have to call Kyle that night and tell him that it hurt us in owner's points. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to race the No. 18 M&M's Tundra in Las Vegas this weekend, and I hope we can have a solid finish that will help the team in the owner's points."
Since this is your last race this season with KBM, do you have any particular goal?
"Obviously I want to win so badly in the Truck Series this year. We've had some good runs, but my last outing wasn't the best. I think, really, we just need to do all the things like we did at Martinsville and Kansas, where we had such good runs. We just have to do the best we can in practice, and get the truck dialed in, do the best I can in qualifying and I think everything will fall into place. I really just want to have a good run for myself and the team."
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Talk about how important this weekend's race at Las Vegas is for Kyle Busch Motorsports as this is Kyle's hometown.
"Obviously, Las Vegas is a race that has been circled on our calendar since the beginning of the year. It's important for us to go out there and have a good showing because it is where Kyle's from. I know he wants his team to have a good showing in his hometown, and we want to make sure we do have the solid run for him. It's not just about Las Vegas being Kyle's home track, though. More importantly, I think we want to run solid because we were able to make up some points on Todd (Bodine) and the No. 30 truck in the owner's points last weekend and we want to keep chipping away at that. If we can get a good solid run with Brian out there, I think that would be big on both fronts."
What are the keys to racing at Las Vegas?
"The biggest thing at Las Vegas is probably just making the right decisions with the truck and which way we need to go for the setup during the race because we practice during the day and then we race out there at night. You really want to get your truck driving well there during the day because that will be a big asset for later on. It's pretty rough getting through (turns) one and two, so getting the truck to run well through those turns is important. But then, it is just working to determine how the track might change and which way to go with the truck."
This is Brian's last scheduled run in the truck at Las Vegas. Talk about working with Brian this year.
"Brian's done a good job all year keeping us in the hunt for the owner's points title. He's had four top-10 finishes in six starts and that's something we're all proud of. We've all enjoyed working with him, and he's been able to really help our team. We just need to give him a good truck this weekend. When we give him a good truck, he has good finishes. He's done well at the other mile-and-a-half-type tracks he's raced on -- Kansas and Nashville -- and, hopefully, we can continue that this weekend at Las Vegas."