KYLE BUSCH Looking for Another 1-2 Punch at Nashville HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 31, 2010) -- Prior to 2009, Kyle Busch only had one top-10 finish in his six career NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn....
Looking for Another 1-2 Punch at Nashville
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 31, 2010) -- Prior to 2009, Kyle Busch only had one top-10 finish in his six career NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn. Other than his sixth-place result in April 2004, Busch had failed to finish higher than 16th at the tricky 1.33-mile concrete oval west of Nashville.
That all changed in 2009 when Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), delivered a 1-2 punch by finishing second in the April race and then scoring his first Nashville Nationwide Series victory in June.
Last year, Busch led 250 of 450 laps available to him in the two races at Nashville and also won the pole for the June race.
He'll look to continue his dominating ways at Nashville during Saturday afternoon's Nashville 300 Nationwide Series event, and crew chief Jason Ratcliff is bringing a car that has a lot of meaning to not only Busch, but to all of Joe Gibbs Racing.
Busch will pilot Chassis No. 1890 this weekend, the same car he used to start from the pole and win with in November 2009 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. When Busch flipped the ignition switch on Chassis No. 1890 at the start of the Homestead race, he clinched his first NASCAR championship of any kind.
While the car has a certain nostalgia to it and will always be known as the chassis that clinched the 2009 Nationwide Series championship, it also has a pretty impressive record in just three starts. In addition to the Homestead win, Chassis No. 1890 has second-place finishes in September 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., and in October 2009 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The car has also never qualified lower than eighth.
In Nashville, where country music is king, it usually takes a great singer, a great songwriter and a great band to produce a hit song. When going for a NASCAR win, the same teamwork applies as you need good driver (Busch), a good crew chief (Ratcliff) and a great crew (the No. 18 Z-Line Designs team). If all goes well for Busch and the Z-Line Designs team, they won't be producing a hit record, but rather, another big victory.
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
What are your overall thoughts heading into Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway?
"To me, I like going to Nashville. It's a fun little racetrack -- a mile-and-a-third concrete racetrack. We had two good runs there last year and led a lot of laps. We finally got a win in June and I think we'll have a good Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry this weekend."
What do you expect heading into Nashville, which is one of the few concrete tracks the Nationwide Series visits?
"Concrete can be a little treacherous when there isn't a whole lot of rubber on the track since it gets pretty slick. Once we get some rubber down on the track in practice, it gets a lot better. The first few years I ran at Nashville, the track was really slick. But then they ground on it and built some grip into the track where we can race well with each other there. It's a great place. It's a really fast and cool mile-and-a-quarter-or-so racetrack, so everybody seems to have fun there."
You'll be driving Chassis No. 1890 this week. Talk about what that car means to you and the No. 18 team.
"That's the car we clinched the championship with, I guess you could say. Once we started the race, we won the title. Then, to go out and win the race and celebrate not only the championship but also a race victory was pretty cool. It was a great night not only for myself, but for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Jim and Monica Sexton and everyone at Z-Line Designs."
Jason Ratcliff, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry:
The weather in April at Nashville can be unpredictable. How does that affect you as a crew chief?
"It seems like we can go to Nashville with our usual setups, no matter what the weather is doing. The weather doesn't seem to affect it a lot. What it does affect is the overall lap time. The balance on the car seems to stay fairly consistent whether it's cold or hot. The first race, it's usually chilly compared to the second one."
Chassis No. 1890: This car made its debut in September 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., where Busch started eighth and finished second. Its next start came in October 2009 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where Busch started second and led 173 of 200 laps before finishing second to his JGR teammate Joey Logano. The last time chassis No. 1890 saw action was in November 2009 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Busch started fifth and led 73 of 200 laps en route to victory.