MOORESVILLE, N.C. – While there are two races left in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season, there is still hope amongst the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team members that a victory with team owner-driver Kyle Busch is eminent. The first year results for this young team have included two pole-qualifying positions and one early win, with fellow Monster Energy driver Kurt Busch, but the season hasn’t been without its ‘ups and downs.’ Needless to say, the group has been challenged, and in many ways that has made the team ‘seasoned’ – with tests such as on-track incidents, mechanical failures and being on the wrong end of races decided by fuel mileage. To overcome those hurdles and to be contending for wins on a weekly basis is what drives this team to earn victory for themselves, for their sponsor and for their team leader.
In 31 starts over its first year together, the KBM Nationwide Series Monster Energy group has accumulated one win, two pole positions, 392 laps led,13 top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes and sits eighth in the owner’s points standings. KBM has led laps in each of the last three events and last week earned their second career pole, so while time may be winding down, momentum for the No. 54 Nationwide crew is gearing up. Couple that with a driver who at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR) has victories in all three of NASCAR’s top racing series, comprised of four wins and four poles in the Nationwide Series, including a race sweep in 2011 where Busch led every event lap, and you have a recipe for success.
The 27-year-old is recorded as the highest All-Time performing driver at PIR in the NNS with an average start of 6.1 and 793 laps led. This week Busch and his first-year team look to improve their career stats, by adding one more “W” to the column, and finishing out a long season that has challenged them to grow.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
Going into the spring race at PIR you talked about the new KBM team and how it can be “unsettling” pulling a new crew together and starting from scratch. Now when you return to Phoenix with almost a full season behind you, how do you feel about the first- year team you’ve created? “I’m proud of the way this team has worked hard, to build competitive cars that put us up against the big teams, in contention for wins. We’ve been in position several times this year, but have encountered challenges too. I realize now, the equipment is very important and a big key to a team’s weekly success. It takes time to develop and mold all the pieces of a race team, including the people. It’s a lot harder than you think to build a race team from scratch, and when I sit back and review what we’ve been able to accomplish this year, I think no other start-up can compare to what we’ve done.”
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
Are you looking forward to returning to Phoenix with Kyle? “We have to keep our heads down and keep digging. The first Phoenix race didn’t give us the result we were looking for, but we’ve made so many improvements to our program since that second week of the season. All the way around, this KBM Nationwide Series program is stronger now. The car we are taking has run well for us. Besides having a locked gear in Kentucky, we secured our first pole with it and earned a couple of top-10 finishes. As I say every week, if we limit our mistakes and stay focused, we can bring home the win that everybody wants for Kyle, for Monster Energy and for this team that has worked so hard.”
Kyle Busch’s No. 54 Monster Energy Camry:
Chassis KBM-011: KBM will unload car #011, raced as a new car at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, where team owner-driver Kyle Busch secured the first pole for KBM’s Nationwide Series entry. Busch went on to earn a seventh-place finish in the car’s debut. Chassis #011 then visited Kentucky Speedway in Sparta where Kurt Busch secured a top-15 starting spot, then unfortunately did not complete the race due to a locked rear gear, forcing the No. 54 into a 28th-place finish. Kyle Busch returned to the seat of car #011 for the second Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway event, where he secured a top-10 start and top-five finish, reaching the line fourth. The backup machine is Chassis KBM-003, raced five times this year with three top-five finishes recorded.