MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Last year at this time Kyle Busch brought his newly formed Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team to attempt the famous Tennessee short track for the first time. While the owner-driver was a master of the .533-mile short track, their race together was a difficult one. It started with a top-10 qualifying run, followed quickly by a first-place position and the lead for 40 laps, until a pit stop miscue and then a late-race blown tire, forced the team to record a 17th-place finish.
Busch will again travel to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (BMS) for his 18th attempt at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” with high hopes of giving his recently aligned Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Nationwide Series team a second taste of victory in the No. 54 Monster Energy machine. The young group recently earned their first win together in week two of the 2013 season at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway.
Busch is no stranger to success on the high banks of Bristol. In 40 races across all three of NASCAR’s premier series, the 27-year old has amassed 12 wins, three poles, 21 top-five finishes, 29 top-10 finishes and 2,732 laps led. In the Nationwide Series specifically, in over 17 starts, Busch has recorded four wins, two poles, 10 top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes. He is the last driver to win from the pole position at BMS during a Nationwide Series event, done in August of 2011.
The JGR team travels to this weekend’s event at one of the fastest short tracks on the NASCAR circuit, where they know their leader is considered the ‘best’ at securing victory. Not only is Busch a veteran on the fast half-mile circuit, but team crew chief Adam Stevens is the defending race winner, having secured victory last fall during this event, as crew chief with driver Joey Logano. The goal this week is to minimize errors, which will allow the Monster Energy driver and team to take the lead and maintain it, in order to cross the finish line and register the group’s second win of the year.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How do you prepare for a track where you’ve had so much success? “I always look forward to going back to Bristol (Tenn.) but I wait until our first practice session to really know where we stand. You expect to unload fast, but until you have that track time and see how the surface treats you, it’s a process to dial in the car the way you really want it.”
Adam Stevens, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
You had the winning car here in the Nationwide Series last fall and your driver is obviously good at Bristol, what are your expectations coming into this spring race with Kyle Busch? “Bristol has been a good track for my team and for Kyle. The wild cards this weekend are the track surface and the new LS tire. We have only run one race since the high line was ground down and reconfigured. This portion of the track was not used in the Nationwide Series race last time but the Cup race the following night showed the high line was the fastest way around the track. If the high line comes in for the Nationwide cars this time around, it will be extremely difficult to pass. The Cup cars raced this tire combination last time while the Nationwide Series cars were on the same RS but a different LS tire. We just can’t be sure how the cars or track will react to it until we get there.”
Do you enjoy Bristol Motor Speedway or is it difficult to manipulate? “Bristol is a great place to race. It’s truly a driver’s track. The concrete surface is unforgiving and it changes a lot thru the weekend as rubber gets put down. We are looking forward to another strong run this weekend!”