Milwaukee: Kyle Busch preview

KYLE BUSCH Victorious Combo Adds a Taste of Wisconsin HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 16, 2009) -- Combos and Kyle Busch, as a racing combination, are a perfect two-for-two in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. They'll be looking to bring that ...

Victorious Combo Adds a Taste of Wisconsin

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 16, 2009) -- Combos and Kyle Busch, as a racing combination, are a perfect two-for-two in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. They'll be looking to bring that winning magic to the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend as the talented 24-year-old driver straps himself behind the wheel of the No. 18 Combos Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) during Saturday night's 250 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.

Busch and sponsor Combos celebrated in victory lane after both of their previous races together as the Las Vegas native piloted the JGR No. 18 Combos Sprint Cup Series Toyota to wins at the 2008 spring race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and last month's event at Richmond International Raceway. The latter victory was particularly special for Busch as it took place on his 24th birthday (May 2), which started out with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" prior to the race in the Combos Man Zone just outside the track. It also was Busch's third of three Sprint Cup wins this season and the 15th of his career, tying him with four-time champion Jeff Gordon as the winningest driver prior to reaching the age of 25, coming a full year before Busch's 25th birthday.

This weekend, Busch hopes to add his fifth Nationwide Series victory of the season on the legendary flat, mile oval just west of Milwaukee. And he'll attempt to do it in extreme, double-duty style.

Busch will start the day Saturday finishing up practice in his No. 18 M&M's Sprint Cup Toyota on the road course some 2,000 miles away at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. While he'll be going about his business surrounded by numerous road-course ringers driving their hearts out in Sonoma, Busch and the Combos team have enlisted a bonafide Milwaukee Mile ringer to practice and qualify the No. 18 Nationwide Series Toyota.

Johnny Sauter, the Necedah, Wis., native and three-time winner in 195 Nationwide Series starts, including a dominating victory from the pole in the 2005 race at Milwaukee, will do the honors while Busch makes his way from the West Coast to the western shore of Lake Michigan Saturday afternoon. In addition to qualifying on the pole in his 2005 race-winning effort at Milwaukee, during which he led a race-high 162 laps, Sauter also qualified in the Nationwide Series pole at the mile oval in 2003.

Combos, Busch and Sauter -- on paper, at least, it would seem to be the perfect recipe for a taste of victory lane on a late-spring Saturday night in Wisconsin. They'll see if they can make it three-for-three.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Combos Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing at Milwaukee:

This will be the second time you've made the trip from Sonoma, Calif., to Milwaukee for a Saturday-night race -- your first and only such trip since 2006. How difficult is that trip?

"I've done it once before, 2006 I think. The trip wasn't too bad except for the result. With all the travel we do, anyway, I've gotten used to sleeping on the plane. So I'll try to sleep on the way back and I will sleep in as late as I can before I have to get up and do some hospitality visits Sunday in Sonoma. So that shouldn't be too bad, actually. I'm not sure if practicing the car will make much of a difference. I didn't feel like it was last week at Kentucky. Joey (Logano) was better than we were at the end and saved his stuff. We've struggled at some of the flat tracks in the Cup car, but the Nationwide Series cars have been good on the flat tracks. I think Joey finished second there last year, so we'll see what we've got, I guess."

You have Combos on board twice in the Sprint Cup Series and brought them to victory lane both times. Did you have them on the Nationwide car this weekend to help guarantee another win?

"As everyone has seen over the last month, you can never guarantee a win in the Nationwide Series, or any other series for that matter. But Combos is part of the Mars family of companies and they've been really great supporters. We've been able to bring them a win last year at Dover and this year at Richmond. Both were really special wins and we'd like to get them one here in the Nationwide Series, too, this weekend. I got to visit the Combos Man Zone before the race at Richmond, and they sang for me on my birthday, and I guess that gave me some good luck. The orange Combos colors have been good luck, thus far. So, hopefully, we can keep it going at Milwaukee."

How do you get over the frustration you've experienced in the Nationwide Series over the last month, aside from getting the win at Nashville?

"It's very difficult because you look at those opportunities as lost opportunities to try to win races. Legitimately and realistically, on the soft side, we could've won about 10 more races this year. And that's just been the frustrating part about things, not being able to get to victory lane because we want to win so much. Sometimes, it's not your time. We knew it was going to be a hectic month, month-and-a-half, going back and forth between some of the races. So we knew we wanted to come out here and enjoy it and make the most of the effort and have fun while doing it."

How soon would you like to see double-file restarts in the Nationwide and Truck series?

"They'll bring it, eventually. They're just trying to get it all sorted out and get the bugs worked out of it. When we go to the Truck events or the Nationwide standalone events, stuff like that, they don't have all the personnel there that they need in order to keep up with that stuff. When we have (Mike) Helton, (John) Darby and (David) Hoots (from NASCAR) here -- those guys know what they're doing pretty well. They can fix stuff right away. The guys who run the standalone events in Truck and Nationwide -- they're a little tentative on things, sometimes. They don't want to mess up, which I perfectly understand. We just need to get -- get through the summer months with it and get back to when we're all running together and then do it. Or, if they really wanted to mix things up, do it at Cup events -- do it with the Trucks this weekend when those guys are here, but don't do it at Milwaukee this weekend when we're not there. I don't know, they could do it that way."

Chassis No. 1886: Saturday night's 250 at The Milwaukee Mile will be the fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series start for Chassis No. 1886. The car debuted last September at Richmond International Raceway, where Denny Hamlin qualified 27th but drove his way to a fourth-place finish. Hamlin was back behind the wheel for Chassis No. 1886's second start last November at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., where he qualified on the pole, led 62 laps and was runner-up to Carl Edwards in a green-white-checker finish. Busch drove Chassis No. 1886 in its last race at Phoenix this past April. He qualified fifth and finished 10th.

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Johnny Sauter , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing