KYLE BUSCH Getting it Right from the Start HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2008) -- If you ask Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), the secret to the success of the No. 18 NASCAR Nationwide...
Getting it Right from the Start
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2008) -- If you ask Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), the secret to the success of the No. 18 NASCAR Nationwide Series team starts well before the car makes it on-track for the first practice of the weekend.
As Busch and the Z-Line Designs team head to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Saturday's Camping World RV Sales 200, one thing is for certain: the weekend must start off right if it's going to be successful. That's exactly what has been happening when the lethal combination of the talented 23-year-old's talents and the employees back at JGR's Nationwide Series shop in Huntersville, N.C., are blended together.
Since the 18th Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this past June, Busch has had six starts in the No. 18 Toyota, finishing no worse than seventh in that span. The streak includes five top-five and six top-10 finishes, while also producing three wins driving the familiar black and red colors of Z-Line Designs at O'Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and most recently at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The San Ramon, Calif.-based designer and import manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture, along with Busch, are expecting more of the same this weekend at Dover as the combination has been a thorn in the side to the rest of the Nationwide Series field in recent weeks. Even scarier for his competitors is the fact Busch will be driving the same car that delivered teammate Denny Hamlin to victory lane at Dover in June. Hamlin dominated the event by leading three times for a race-high 131 laps en route to the victory.
Busch will hope to add to his ever-growing all-time NASCAR record of 18 overall wins this season across NASCAR's top three series --Craftsman Truck Series (three), Nationwide Series (seven) and Sprint Cup Series (eight).
So, will the combination of Busch and the No. 18 Z-Line Designs team lead to another first-place finish in "The First State?" If that turns out to be the case, chances are the win began forming some 500 miles south of Delaware, deep in the heart of North Carolina.
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry at Dover
Within the last seven races where you've run the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car in the Nationwide Series, seventh-place is your worst finish. To what do you attribute that success?
"That whole Z-Line Designs team just comes to the race track so prepared. At California, we unloaded with a great car right off the trailer and that makes a huge difference, to start off the weekend ahead of the game. When you unload bad, you spend a lot of time catching up instead of getting ahead, and we've certainly been ahead, lately, with that team. I really have to thank all the guys back at the shop. The way these guys prepared the cars coming to the race track have been the reason why we have been so good."
The No. 18 car dominated the June Nationwide Series race at Dover with Denny Hamlin driving it to the win. Does that give you even more confidence going into this weekend?
"It's been like that for a long time with those guys. I have a lot of confidence in these guys no matter where we go, lately. They just did such a great job in paying attention to detail and being able to put this car together and making it a phenomenal car to drive. I'm just honored to be a part of this team and to drive the Z-Line Designs Toyota. These guys all deserve the credit and I was just the one out there being able to wheel the thing."
Since Bristol, you've had Steve Addington, your Sprint Cup crew chief, on top of the pit box every time you've raced the No. 18 machine. Has it made you even more comfortable having a familiar and calming voice over the radio?
"It's a comfortable voice on the radio and a guy who's been a part of me for this year and the success that we've had on the Cup side. Everybody plays a big part on this team. Steve didn't want to take any of the credit for the California win. He was just in and out. That's not his deal, he doesn't believe. It's nice to have him there making the race calls and stuff for us. The top priority is the Cup car, but once he's done with that, he'll come up to the pit box. He's got a great sense of race cars and spent a lot of time working on these Nationwide Series cars and can really share his knowledge with all the guys. It just shows you how everyone at JGR works together to help each other out and why the team has been so successful."