MOORESVILLE, N.C. – In February, Kyle Busch brought his young team to the ‘Super Bowl’ of race tracks and showed the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) that the No. 54 team was open for business. Despite a 24th starting position, the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) owner-driver wheeled his machine into contention until a last lap accident caused the team to record their first NNS DNF, finishing 18th. Crew Chief Mike Beam then brought a new chassis to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway where Busch was able to showcase his group’s abilities, again competing for the win on the final lap of the race, but ultimately finishing in second place to a competitor with familiar colors, the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing.
The last points-race win for Busch at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (DIS) was in July of 2008, accomplishing first place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Before that, the Las Vegas native earned victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series during the summer event of 2007. In February of 2012, Busch nearly spotted the checkered flag as he approached the frontstretch, only to be hit from behind and ultimately wrecked, ending his chances to bring the black No. 54 machine all the way home to victory. This time Busch is due for a win on the historic 2.5-mile Florida track, and the team will bring back chassis #010 from the Talladega run.
So the winningest driver in the series will try again to earn his ninth consecutive season Nationwide series win and that first victory driving his own No. 54 Monster Energy machine. It has been 22 races since the series veteran has won a Nationwide event, last recorded at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in 2011. Busch looks to notch his 52nd career Nationwide Series win this week and in Monster Energy style, by mastering the high banks of Daytona.
Driver Kyle Busch
You were so close to victory in the season start at Daytona, then Talladega in the spring, what are your expectations for this Daytona run? “When we came here in February, it was about seeing what the team had, how our equipment had been built and whether we would be competitive. Although not the finish we hoped for, the February event showed us we can be there at the end and be battling for the win.
That was 15 weeks ago now and we certainly have proven that we are growing and becoming stronger with each track we go to. I was close to the win at Talladega and Joey got me there at the line. I’d like the chance again to bring this chassis home first — it would be a great accomplishment for the whole team and for Monster Energy.”
Crew chief Mike Beam:
This chassis was run in Talladega and you earned a second-place finish with it. What are your expectations for it with Kyle this time at Daytona? “I’m excited to get back to Daytona with Kyle and have the car there that ran so well at Talladega. We have had an opportunity to win at Daytona and Talladega this season, where in both races Kyle has been up front on the white-flag lap, so hopefully we can get the win this week.
I don’t know how we will qualify, but I have always worried more about racing than I have qualifying. When the car drives good and is secure with someone pushing you, and we have the best restrictor plate driver in the car, hopefully we can give him the car to win and limit our mistakes on pit road and have a good race.”
Chassis KBM-010: KBM will unload superspeedway car #010, first raced at Talladega (Ala.) Speedway where the team accomplished their second top-five finish of the season, with a second-place result. The backup machine is Chassis KBM-004, which previously traveled to Daytona and Talladega as a second team car.
Notes: Crew chief Mike Beam’s Daytona statistics include 43 races, one win (NCWTS), seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes, five poles and 257 laps led.
In 15 races over the last seven years, Busch holds the record currently for highest amount of Laps in the Top 15 (1,363) and highest amount of Total Laps Led (247). In addition he leads the Pass Differential at 118 with 1,577 Green Flag Passes made.
Busch has earned 23 career poles over his nine seasons competing in the Nationwide Series, including at least one each season from 2004 to 2011. His lone pole award at the famed superspeedway came in the 2010 February race.
Kyle Busch has led 91 (3.35%) of 2,718 laps raced in the 2012 NNS season.