Martinsville II: Kyle Bush preview

KYLE BUSCH New Building, Same Winning Attitude MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 20, 2010) -- Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) may have a spectacular new building to work out of, but the team's winning attitude wasn't lost in the move. Last Thursday, KBM ...

KYLE BUSCH
New Building, Same Winning Attitude

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 20, 2010) -- Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) may have a spectacular new building to work out of, but the team's winning attitude wasn't lost in the move.

Last Thursday, KBM officials conducted a grand opening of the new corporate headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., which gave hundreds of fans the chance to tour the high-tech and environmentally friendly 77,000-square-foot facility, where the team builds and prepares its stable of Toyota Tundra racetrucks for competition in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

And the first truck to be prepared in the new shop will be the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Tundra that will be piloted by KBM driver-owner Kyle Busch in Saturday's Kroger 200 Truck Series event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

With the move complete and the grand opening ceremonies behind them, KBM officials look ahead knowing they can win or lose a championship in the final five weeks of the Camping World Truck Series season.

Busch has driven 11 Truck Series races this year while sharing the seat with Brian Ickler, who has driven seven events, and Kasey Kahne and Johnny Benson, who drove one race apiece.

The foursome has combined to put the No. 18 Toyota second in the owner standings, just 39 points behind the first-place No. 30 truck of Germain Racing, which is driven full-time by Todd Bodine.

Busch is scheduled to drive the final five Truck Series events -- Saturday at Martinsville, Oct. 30 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway and the season finale Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch's Toyota Tundra will have a familiar look this weekend as it will be sporting a longtime sponsor of his from the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Z-Line Designs, the San Ramon, Calif.-based designer and import manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture, will adorn Busch's No. 18 KBM Toyota Tundra this week at the .526-mile oval in southern Virginia. And if the past is any indication, Busch and Z-Line should be quite successful.

Since the 2008 Nationwide Series season, Busch and Z-Line Designs have combined for one points championship (2009), 15 victories and 24 top-three finishes. And, given that Z-Line Designs sponsored Busch's truck in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Speedway, where the Las Vegas native led 69 of 134 laps en route to victory, it's safe to assume the Busch/KBM/Z-Line Designs combination could prove to be very difficult to beat at Martinsville.

Interestingly, despite having 82 victories in NASCAR's top-three divisions (Sprint Cup -- 19, Nationwide -- 42, Truck Series -- 21), Busch has never found victory lane at Martinsville in NASCAR competition. Of the 29 tracks that will host NASCAR's top three divisions in 2010, Busch has competed at 28 of them at least once, and has won at 24 of them. The only track at where NASCAR's top three series compete and Busch has not raced is Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. In addition to Martinsville, the three other venues where Busch has raced but not scored a victory are Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Busch's new shop features plenty of trophies from his 82 wins. This weekend, he'd like nothing more than to bring home a new trophy from a new track to his new shop.

Kyle Busch, Driver, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

How did the grand opening of Kyle Busch Motorsports go?

"As far as Kyle Busch Motorsports goes, it was a great opening day for us. I'm really proud of the turnout we had up there. We had people show up at 8 a.m. the day before, knocking on the doors and wanting in, wanting a sneak peek, and we told them, 'No, it's tomorrow.' And they said, 'Yeah, we know it's tomorrow.' They camped out all day. They were there the whole day the day before and then again the day of the opening. We were sold out of our 200 passes for autographs well within 20 minutes or so. I'm really, really pumped about that opportunity for the fans to come out and help us with our grand opening and make it a really neat event for everybody, for all our sponsors, our partners that we've had this year on the Truck Series side, and the new building. To have not only Kyle Busch's museum, I guess you'd say of how I grew up and started racing and what I've done, now, but what the future holds -- what Kyle Busch Motorsports is all about with a chassis shop, a body shop, the foundation of what the building holds and what we can do and all the processes that we can do. It was a neat event and I'm really proud of that and the great turnout."

What did it mean to open Kyle Busch Motorsports? Do you have an update on KBM for 2011?

"For me, it was awesome. It was a long time coming -- three years in the making of building the building and putting it all together, with Samantha (Sarcinella, fiance) and myself, and for as much as we've done around that place along with Rick Ren (KBM general manager) and Becky (Hopkins) and all my people at Kyle Busch Motorsports that do so much work for me. They did a phenomenal job at being able to put that place together and, if you ever get a chance to head up there -- this week, if you're going from here to Martinsville -- check it out. Just stop in and look. Our retail store was full at the beginning of the day. It's about empty now, so that's a good problem to have. It's a neat experience and it's something that Samantha has really put a lot of heart into, and myself. It means a lot to all of us that the place was a success during the grand opening. So, hopefully, it continues to be a success in the future.

"As far as what we can report now, as far as going forward, I have been successful in selling five races for next year in the Truck Series. I won't announce who, yet, but that will come probably in the next week or two. We're in contract mode, so that's awesome. Unfortunately, it is only five races, but the good news is that it is five races and we're at least taking steps in the right direction. We've had a lot of other positive talks but just nothing has ever made it to the contract phase. This is the first one I've been able to get to go that far. We're still working hard and trying to get there."

What do you see as the future of Kyle Busch Motorsports?

"I think the possibilities are endless at Kyle Busch Motorsports. The reason being is the shop that I've built -- and I failed to mention all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification stuff -- you know, we're going through the process of becoming a green initiative building, which has been a cool topic to have on our side, being the first in motorsports to do it. I believe, anyway. I've got the land all around the building. I've got the acreage there in order to flip the building and add on more. I can become a Hendrick Motorsports, if it ever came to that one day. Obviously, situations have to be right and you have to have long-term deals in order to commit that far ahead in advance. With the truck stuff right now, as we've seen, it's hard to commit the next week, so with what I've got over there, with as much knowledge and as much backing from Toyota and with as much backing from Joe Gibbs Racing that I have, we can go anywhere. The possibilities are endless.

"What I would like to see probably in the next five years is something like Kevin Harvick. I think Kevin Harvick has done a great job with him and Delana (Harvick) with what they've been able to do over there (at Kevin Harvick Inc.). I know he's kind of said that he would like -- or his goal in the next couple years -- is to see two trucks and two Nationwide teams. My goal at KBM is to try to get two truck teams going, if not for next year but for the following season, and eventually be where it's two Nationwide teams and a Truck team or a Nationwide team and two Truck teams. As it stands right now, I'll continue to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. We'll work on some other things as far as some other drivers go on that front, if it ever comes to fruition."

Is every Truck race for Kyle Busch Motorsports a "must-win" when you are driving?

"I don't think it's a must-win. If you look at the Truck Series and the TV time, the Kyle Busch brand is a lot of the series. A lot of the TV time is myself, or it's been Brian Ickler, fortunately, because he's got the Kyle Busch name with Kyle Busch Motorsports there. We've had a lot of TV time in the series. I've seen the Joyce Julius numbers and stuff and, from me at Bristol, the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers didn't equal my value of winning the race. It's something that the brand builds. I feel like my brand, obviously being a Cup driver, is pretty good. Being a Nationwide driver and Nationwide champion is pretty good. With as much TV time as I get, whether it's good, whether it's bad, whether it's a pit-road penalty and going to the back, you know the TV cameras follow me back up through the field. That's kind of to my advantage right now, and being able to sell that is a plus and probably why I've been able to sell what I have been able to sell. Just having people come up and wanting to be associated, we need more of it."

What have you learned from starting Kyle Busch Motorsports?

"I've learned quite a bit away from the racetrack this year in how all this works and what it takes to get cars to the racetrack. When I first came into this sport when I was 18 years old, I got hired by a team to go drive a racecar. My firesuits and helmets were given to me, and I got my plane ride given to me and everything. I would just show up and drive a racecar and took it for granted all the work that the team does and everything to build the cars, to build the engines, to get the sponsors on the car to go to the racetrack, and all that. It was a lot to understand. There's no set handbook on how all this works. You kind of learn the business and you kind of learn the model of what's going on. For me, it took me up until this year to figure all that out, and now I know how much Joe Gibbs Racing goes through, how much Hendrick Motorsports or how much any of these teams go through, to get cars to the racetrack that are funded, that have the right people, that have the right equipment and all that stuff."

Eric Phillips, Crew Chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

How important was the recent break in the Camping World Truck Series schedule, given that you guys had to move into the new shop?

"It was huge. I don't really know how we would have done it. We did get a lot of stuff done beforehand, but it was hard. Just things like not having enough people and going back and forth between the old building and the new one. The biggest thing is just that everyone with Kyle Busch Motorsports is all in the same building, now. We've been in four separate buildings since the beginning of the year. Now, we are under one roof. I can go to the chassis shop and check on a truck, then go to the body shop and see how a body is being hung, and then go to the paint shop -- everything is right here. My engineers are right next to me. It's just a huge difference having everything right here."

What day did you feel like you were finally, completely in the new shop?

"When we came home from Las Vegas. We started moving a lot of stuff in the week before Loudon. We kind of got stuff strategically moved and left what we needed at the other facility. Then, the week we left for Vegas, once the truck left to head out west, we stayed here and worked day and night to get everything moved over here. So, when we came home from Las Vegas that Monday morning, everyone was in this building."

You've worked with a lot of teams in a lot of race shops. Where does this one rank for you?

"By far, it's the nicest. It's well-laid-out and well-thought-out. A lot of them, you can do the work you need to do to get to the racetrack, but there are a lot of things for the race fans and for our sponsors. They did a lot to make sure everyone feels like they are a part of Kyle Busch Motorsports, and I think that's the biggest thing Kyle tried to do, looking at it from the outside-in. He tried to get everyone involved, not just the guys who work here, but fans and sponsors, as well, so they could have a place to come and visit and be part of the race team."

KBM finished third at Martinsville in the spring with Brian Ickler driving. What are your thoughts heading into the fall race?

"I expect a lot. I know Kyle says it's probably not one of his best racetracks, but it's a really good racetrack for myself, Rick (Ren) and the race team. As well as we ran there with Brian, I'm really looking forward to it. We went to Gresham Motorsports Park (in Jefferson, Ga.) last week and had a really good test. We kind of worked on some things for Martinsville and Phoenix, and we had a couple of different trucks there, so I'm really looking forward to Martinsville and having a strong run."

What is it going to take to win the owner's championship with five races remaining?

"No mistakes on our part. That's probably the biggest thing I've been preaching to my guys the last couple of weeks. With all the distractions that we've had trying to get into the new building, preparing for the grand opening day and all of that, the key is to not make any mistakes in the final five. I think, in the summer stretch, we ran well because we were prepared going into it. I think we're pretty well prepared for it going into the final five, even with the move. Todd's going to be tough. He won't make a lot of mistakes, either, but when we have an opportunity, we need to capitalize."

-source: kbm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Johnny Benson , Gilles Villeneuve , Kasey Kahne , Brian Ickler , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing , Kyle Busch Motorsports