In its inaugural season, the Monster Energy Camry has accumulated one win, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. For the stand-alone Nationwide Series event on Sunday, from the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval of Chicagoland, the KBM group will be bringing a chassis to the field that has seen track time already this year. Chassis #006, the team's primary intermediate-track race car, has raced three times in 2012. At Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway in March, with Busch behind the wheel, the young team accomplished their first top-10 result, finishing eighth. Raced in Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in May, with Kurt Busch as driver, chassis #006 brought a top-five start and another eighth-place finishing spot. Then in June, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, the elder Busch advanced their success with this car, bringing home a third-place finish.
The team is hopeful for an even better performance this week from their veteran car and driver. Busch maintains the title of being the winningest driver in the Nationwide Series, with 51 victories across 231 series starts, including 23 poles and 10,682 laps led. He currently holds an eight-year streak for consecutive wins. Although there is still plenty of time to accomplish the task this year, Busch and team are focused to ensure that win streak isn't broken, hoping Chicagoland Speedway offers the fledgling group another chance to visit victory lane, this time with their owner as the man behind the wheel.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry: Chicagoland Speedway is another track you've been able to have success at in all three of NASCAR's top series, what is the key for you here?
"I like racing Chicago and think our intermediate-car program at KBM is competitive enough that we can have a good finish. In Cup in 2008, I started at the top of the grid and won the event -- that was pretty cool. Then between 2008 and 2010 I had two wins each, in the Nationwide and Truck series here - one that came in our KBM truck. Hopefully, we can get the monkey off our back now and put another win in the column for the KBM Nationwide team, here in Chicago."
Rick Ren, General Manager of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry Team: You've progressed with each intermediate track attended this year, how do you feel about your odds at Chicagoland?
"Our odds are always good with Kyle in the driver's seat. On the competition side we've made gains in our intermediate-track program, improving our equipment since this car ran last at Michigan. The results we've seen at the seven post and in the wind tunnel show us we should unload really fast."
The team has experienced some adversity over the last few weeks, how do you keep everyone motivated going into the second half of the year?
"The main thing to overcome is beating ourselves. There have been four races this year that come to mind, where we were contenders for the win and beat ourselves with errors. Each race had a different set of issues, and each of those problems have been addressed internally. Last week's fuel cell problem was disappointing, but we duplicated the problem on the chassis dyno and have made adjustments to our processes that hopefully will keep that type of hurdle from happening again.
You have to remember, we are still a young team. We are learning every week, but that learning curve is getting smaller. With Kyle behind the wheel and with limited mistakes, we will be strong in Chicago."
Kyle Busch's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry: Chassis KBM-006: KBM will unload intermediate car #006, first raced at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway with Kyle Busch, then Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn with Kurt Busch, all producing top-10 finishes for the KBM team this season. The backup machine is Chassis KBM-007, regularly traveled as a second team car.