KYLE BUSCH Back in the Saddle Again HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 24, 2010) -- After starting 48 consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series races in Joe Gibbs Racing's (JGR) No. 18 Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch took a bit of a summer vacation. Busch...
Back in the Saddle Again
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 24, 2010) -- After starting 48 consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series races in Joe Gibbs Racing's (JGR) No. 18 Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch took a bit of a summer vacation.
Busch did not drive in the recent standalone Nationwide Series events at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta or the road course at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., instead handing over the reins to young Brad Coleman.
The summer sabbatical is over for Busch, however, as he returns to the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Staples® Toyota Camry for JGR in Saturday's New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Busch enters the 200-mile event as the defending race-winner, having started ninth and leading 37 of 200 laps en route to his first Nationwide Series win at the 1-mile oval last June.
And when he straps himself into the No. 18 Toyota, Busch will look to score his 72nd career victory in NASCAR's top three touring series (18 Sprint Cup, 35 Nationwide and 18 Camping World Truck). He'll also look to add to his series-high five wins thus far this season. The Las Vegas native has already scored Nationwide victories in 2010 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Busch will also look to close the gap in the Nationwide Series owner's point standings. While Busch is not running a full season, the No. 18 car is still aiming for the owner's title and trails the No. 22 car of Penske Racing by 87 points. JGR has won the last two owner titles.
In addition to primary sponsor Z-Line Designs, the San Ramon, Calif.-based designer and import manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture, Busch's racecar this week will also feature Staples®, the world's largest office products company, as he looks to get "back in the saddle" after a brief summer vacation.
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
Do you miss being in the Nationwide car during the non-companion weeks?
"Not during non-companions as much, I guess. It's a lot easier to stay in one place than to go everywhere. Like the Truck race at Michigan, it was fun to run it and then run the Cup race at Michigan. It would have been hard to go run the Nationwide car and the Cup car, like Joey (Logano) did. You can do it. It's just more of a pain in the neck."
Your not racing the non-companion races gives other drivers a welcome chance to race the Nationwide cars. Do you agree?
"I think that's a positive, but I think the other positive is just being able to get a little more focus on your Cup stuff."
What does it take to be successful at New Hampshire?
"Loudon is a pretty particular race track. It's tough. It's not like Phoenix. It's not like Dover at all. It's a flat racetrack and it's really typical of a tough racetrack to pass on. You can't have just a really good racecar and finish up front. You have to keep track position. You have to keep up all day and make everything work."
Jason Ratcliff, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
Is New Hampshire temperature-sensitive? It seems that it can be very cold and overcast, or very hot and sunny.
"It seems like the biggest thing about Loudon is that, when the track sits in the sun, it gets really slick. It takes a little bit of time with racecars on the track to get the track back where it needs to be. When the track sits (in the sun), it gets bad. Other than that, it seems to be pretty consistent once racecars get on the track."
Chassis No. 1894: This car made its debut in May 2009 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, where Busch started third and won the Lipton Tea 250 after leading 115 of 250 laps. Its next start came in June 2009, when Busch started ninth and led 37 laps en route to victory at New Hampshire. In November 2009 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., Busch started fourth and finished ninth with 1894. Busch drove the car in April 2010 at Phoenix, where he started second and led 126 of 200 laps en route to victory. The last start for 1894 came in April at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, where Busch started from the pole, led 62 of 252 laps and finished fourth.