Chicagoland: Kyle Busch preview

KYLE BUSCH Three-in-a-row for Z-Line? Busch Looks to Deliver at Chicago HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 8, 2009) -- Everyone loves a winning streak -- including Jim Sexton, president and CEO of Z-Line Designs. Sexton and Z-Line Designs, the San...

Three-in-a-row for Z-Line? Busch Looks to Deliver at Chicago

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 8, 2009) -- Everyone loves a winning streak -- including Jim Sexton, president and CEO of Z-Line Designs.

Sexton and Z-Line Designs, the San Ramon, Calif.-based designer and import manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture, will look for their third victory in as many weeks during Saturday night's Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry from Joe Gibbs Racing, won the Nationwide Series race two weeks ago at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, while last weekend, Justin Wilson took the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car to victory lane in the IRL IndyCar Series race at the historic Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course.

Three consecutive wins certainly isn't out of the question for Z-Line, considering Busch's NASCAR success at Chicagoland Speedway. In 2008, he took the Z-Line Designs Toyota to victory lane in the Nationwide Series race and followed that up with a win the following night in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Busch will also look to add to his already impressive 2009 Nationwide Series resume. The Las Vegas native leads the series point standings by 172 markers over second place Carl Edwards. While building that lead, Busch has amassed five wins, two poles and 14 top-10 finishes in 17 starts. Busch has also led an incredible 1,537 of 3,277 laps (47 percent), which is more than three times that of second-place Carl Edwards, who has been at the point for 482 circuits.

Joining Busch and Z-Line Designs at Chicagoland is Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), who will also be featured on the No. 18 Toyota this week. Kmart is a mass merchandising company offering customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive brands and labels.

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Kmart NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.:

Chicagoland had its first-ever night race last year. Did the track change at all from day to night?

"To be honest, it didn't change a whole lot. Not like it does in Charlotte, where it's a huge difference. There's more grip there at night, but it didn't change nearly as much as we might have thought. We just kept working on our car all night last year. It wasn't the best when we started the race. But we had it right at the end and were able to get out front and stay there."

Much has been made of your disappointment of finishing second in the Nationwide Series, at times. But last weekend at Daytona, you were happy with second. What's the difference there?

"I don't think everyone understands, sometimes. It's frustrating to finish second when you know you have the car capable of winning. That's the most frustrating when you get content at the front and don't adjust on your cars and get beat at the end. We didn't have the best race car last weekend, and bringing it home in second was a good night."

How confident are you when you get a lead late in a race that you can hold onto for the win?

"It's good when that happens, like a few weeks ago at New Hampshire. It's not every week that you get out to the lead and it's just over, by any standards. I've proven that this year, plenty of times. There have been times when we've been passed for the lead, and there have been times where we're going to get passed for the lead here through the rest of the year. Any time we have a good car near the front, you can always try that little bit more. Sometimes, you go over that line, and other times you run well and you're not sure how it happened."

Jason Ratcliff, crew chief of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Kmart NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry at Chicagoland:

Chicagoland has a bit of a curve in the backstretch. Do you set up the car differently there than some of the other 1.5-mile racetracks?

"Really, at Chicago, we take our usual mile-and-a-half package and work off of that. We've got a setup that we show up with at those tracks, and depending on the weather and the car, and differences there might be in the aero package, we'll adjust off that. Last year, we struggled a bit there off the truck. We brought a brand new car there and worked on it all practice bottoming out. The car was just okay, and we did a few things on the first few pit stops and finally got track position, and we were where we needed to be. I think we'll be good. The car ran well at Charlotte, so we'll take a similar setup from what we had there."

Chicagoland is nine years old. Has the pavement worn, and have you seen the track change much with your setups in recent years?

"I think the track has lost a lot of grip since it was first paved. Goodyear brings a good tire that is compatible with the racetrack, and the grip is still decent, though. I think with last year being the first night race there, it helps the grip a ton."

What makes the Z-Line Designs team click this year and be as successful as it is week in and week out?

"You hear it all the time, that it's all about the people, and we have good people. With a good organization like Joe Gibbs Racing, you are able to attract good, talented people, and that's what we've done. And not only that, we've been able to put those people in the right places and where their talents are, so we can maximize and get 100 percent out of everything we do. It's also total dedication by everyone on the team. A lot of teams work hard out there, but we feel like when we show up to the racetrack, we haven't left any stone unturned. We just have a good package. We've worked a lot of years on every aspect, whether it's chassis or bodies. Our spring package has gotten better throughout the years. We aren't learning a whole lot right now because we haven't been testing, but hopefully these setups and these cars that we are running are still working well, although I think some of the teams have caught up. But it's made us work even harder trying to find those extra little things that give us an advantage. These guys never give up, even when we are on top, and they just keep pushing."

-credit: jgr

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Drivers Justin Wilson , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing