MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Kurt Busch will conduct “double-duty” at Iowa Speedway for the second time this season, traveling from Long Pond, Pa., where he will practice his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry on Friday, and then qualify it on Saturday morning. Busch will then head to the cornfields of Newton, Iowa, where he will try his hand again, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the .867-mile speedway. Busch, the older brother of Kyle Busch Motorsports owner-driver Kyle Busch, has secured two Nationwide Series victories this season, including the first for his brother’s young team. Coincidentally, that win at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway came in the same car #009, which he’ll be driving this weekend.
In Busch’s previous attempt at this facility, he traveled from the Charlotte, N.C. NASCAR All-Star event, and missed the qualifying time for Iowa’s spring Nationwide Series race. Support driver Drew Herring qualified the Richmond-win car in the 31st position for Busch, who upon arrival race day, took over driving duties, led two laps and reached a fifth-place finishing position, the team’s third top-five finish of the season.
After last week’s strong run in Indianapolis (Ind.) with team owner-driver Kyle Busch, who paced the field with fastest lap times in both practice sessions and during the race, the first-year Nationwide Series team chose to bring chassis #009 back for a fourth attempt at the company’s second career win.
Crew chief Mike Beam also looks to improve his Iowa Speedway career-best finishing position of third, hoping this week’s U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Enlist Weed Control System, is a good luck charm the second time around.
Kurt Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How do you feel about getting back into the winning ride you had success with earlier this season? “I knew this chassis was fast when I had it the first Iowa race, but after watching my brother lead the field with it last week at Indy, I’m convinced we’ll get another win out of it. Mike (Beam, crew chief) and I are going to test a few new things in practice, but otherwise I know I have a good ‘hot rod’ under me.”
What will you do differently this race to improve on the top-five finish you had in May? “Last race, going into it, I knew guys like Stenhouse Jr. and Sadler had this track figured out – their cars were dialed in. It was the first time, however, that myself and the KBM team were seeing the track together. Our No. 54 Monster Energy Camry was good and we were competitive, I could ‘sniff’ the lead – but now I have experience on the track too.
The team has been through some adversity the past few weeks, but they still have proven that KBM is competitive enough for the win. I can’t wait to get back over there with those guys and go for that second trophy together.”
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How do you feel about bringing a rocket ship this week for the return to Iowa? “For Iowa, we are taking the car we had there the first race and now that Kyle has driven this car #009, there are no doubts that it is the best car in our rotation. I look forward to going back to Iowa with Kurt and this car. After meeting with Kurt and Joey, our engineer, this morning, I believe we have three to four things we will try in practice to make us a winning team.”
How do you prepare the team with the schedule the way it is for Kurt, traveling from Pocono? “Well, you know, we’ve done it before. In the May race, Kurt was able to be with us from Charlotte, for that first practice session, then we asked Drew Herring, our support driver, to qualify the car. This time Kurt will be unable to make practice, from Pocono, so Drew will practice the car and Kurt will make it to Iowa in time to qualify and race the car. With Drew driving the car in practice, we can accomplish the changes that Kurt is looking for. I look forward to spending some time with Drew in the car. He has run well there before and he knows the feel in the car that Kurt will need for Saturday night’s race.”
Chassis KBM-009: KBM will unload car #009, first raced at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway then at Iowa Speedway in Newton, both with Kurt Busch, who yielded the team’s first victory and a top-five finish respectively. Car #009 most recently hit the inaugural Indianapolis (Ind.) 250 with team owner Kyle Busch who, despite fastest lap times through the weekend, suffered late-race mishaps and finished 22nd. The backup machine is Chassis KBM-007, regularly traveled as a second team car.
Crew chief Mike Beam’s Iowa Speedway career statistics include four races (NNS and NCWTS), zero wins, four top-five finishes, four top-10 finishes, zero poles and 144 laps led.