HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (April 2, 2008) -- Anytime NASCAR visits Texas Motor Speedway, it's a big deal for Dallas-based Texas Instruments and its DLPÂ® HDTV brand. NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head to the Fort Worth track this...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (April 2, 2008) -- Anytime NASCAR visits Texas Motor Speedway, it's a big deal for Dallas-based Texas Instruments and its DLP® HDTV brand.
NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head to the Fort Worth track this weekend for the first of two visits this season, and for DLP, the usual excitement will be doubled this time around.
In addition to primary sponsorship of the J.J. Yeley-driven No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, the familiar black and blue colors of DLP will also adorn Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Toyota in the Nationwide Series, where 22-year-old Kyle Busch will make his seventh career Nationwide Series start at Texas and the 115th Nationwide Series start of his career.
This weekend's sponsorship of the No. 18 Nationwide Series entry complements DLP's third-year associate sponsorship of the No. 18 Sprint Cup Series entry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing, which Busch pilots as well.
With DLP on board for Saturday's O'Reilly 300 at Texas, the No. 18 team and crew chief Jason Ratcliff are eager to make their first appearance on the 2008 Nationwide Series trail since March 1 at Las Vegas.
In anticipation of the 200-lap race around Texas' 1.5-mile oval, Ratcliff remained a fixture at the last three Nationwide Series events, even though his No. 18 Toyota team did not compete. Ratcliff traveled to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway to assist Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 team crew chief Dave Rogers. More importantly, Ratcliff spent time communicating with Busch during those weekends in hopes of shortening their learning curve together upon their arrival at Texas.
When the duo touches down in the Lone Star State, Busch and Ratcliff will have plenty of support from the hundreds of DLP customers and employees who will gather at Texas Motor Speedway to root on their home team's colors.
Will doubling down near Dallas lead to success in their own backyard? DLP sure thinks it's worth the gamble.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 DLP HDTV NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry at Texas
You've been in several different race cars this year between your Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series rides. Are you looking forward to a weekend where you are in the No. 18 car for both the Nationwide Series and Cup Series?
"Definitely. Working within the same company is easier, instead of going back and forth between Gibbs stuff and Braun Racing. But at the same time, jumping from the Nationwide Series car to the Cup car is quite a bit different this year. The things you have to worry about are how they both drive differently and how you have to work with the guys on setup and how you want them to handle. You certainly have different feels when you jump between those two vehicles."
The No. 18 Nationwide Series team has sat out the last three events, but crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been at every race helping the No. 20 car and trying to learn more about you and the race cars. What does that say about Jason's dedication to making the team better as a whole?
"What I really like about Jason (Ratcliff) being at the track in Atlanta and Nashville is that he gets a feeling of how to communicate with me and taking my feedback and making the changes that will improve the car when we are driver and crew chief again at Texas, Phoenix, Talladega, and several more during the rest of the season. He's here listening to how I describe what I feel in the car and he and Dave (Rogers) can talk back and forth on what adjustments to make. Dave has made the decisions, but Jason is giving his two cents worth. It's better to have two crew chiefs than one any day. To have both of those guys at the track working together and Jason getting to know me better, it's a win-win for everyone. I'm sure it will help when we hit the race track at Texas. When I tell him about something that the car is doing, he has a better idea of what kind of change he wants to make and that's what I like about him. Things like that have made my learning curve that much shorter with Jason, and for that matter, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing."
At Texas, what's the mindset between what you need for the Cup car to handle well as opposed to the DLP HDTV Nationwide Series Toyota you'll run on Saturday?
"In the Cup car, you want to be able to slow the car down and get it to turn through the corner. The Nationwide Series car doesn't have the power that it had last year, so we'll probably be able to run it wide open at Texas. We'll just be able to carry some more speed through the corner with the Nationwide Series car. The key will be getting both cars to turn through the corner where you aren't too loose, but at the same time, get them to turn during a long run and keep them on the bottom of the race track."
Chassis No. 1870: The O'Reilly 300 will only be the second appearance for chassis No. 1870. This car made its debut with former Joe Gibbs Racing driver Aric Almirola at last year's season-ending Ford 300 at Homestead (Fla.) Miami Speedway, where Almirola qualified 11th and finished 18th.