For the sixth time this year, Kurt Busch prepares to climb into the seat of his brother’s No. 54 Monster Energy Camry, this time for the Alliance Truck Parts 250 from a newly paved and anticipated fast Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn. The elder Busch brother, who has been successful at the track, nestled in the Irish Hills of Michigan, is looking to build upon a string of strong runs for the upstart NASCAR Nationwide Series team.
Busch has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at the two-mile fast track, visiting Victory Lane in August of 2007 and June of 2003. The Las Vegas native started sixth, led 36 laps but was relegated to a 21st-place finish after being involved in a late accident, in his lone Nationwide Series start in 2006. As a rookie in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Busch led two laps and brought home a runner-up finish at Michigan in 2000.
Busch isn’t the only Monster Energy team member with a positive track record at the historic Michigan facility. Crew chief Mike Beam has earned, over this career, one pole and led laps across all three top-tier NASCAR Series at MIS. Beam was the winning crew chief in last year’s NNS race and also registered Truck Series wins in 2009 and 2007.
The Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) chassis under Busch will be the same car raced at two other intermediate-size tracks this season, Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, Calif. and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The No. 54 Camry achieved eighth-place finishes at both tracks with Kyle at Fontana and Kurt at Darlington. The young Nationwide Series team has reworked the car and is ready to tackle the two-mile newly paved track which is expected to produce high speeds and make for exciting racing conditions.
Kurt Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How do you feel about the No. 54 car at Michigan International Speedway?
“It’s a little bit of an unknown, considering the track’s new surface. I know one thing, the track will be fast and I feel we’ll be ‘wide open’-I’m looking forward to it.”
Besides tackling the new surface, what are you looking forward to this weekend?
“I enjoy racing in the Nationwide Series and with my brother’s team. I’ve seen how we have progressed and know we are right on the edge of pulling off another win together. I’m ready to go for it!”
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
Thoughts on racing a newly paved Michigan International Speedway?
“Going to Michigan is a big race for us and in how we are progressing. With the new pavement there are so many unknowns, but I feel we are prepared for this track. The secret will be to have the least amount of aero drag and still have enough down force to help the vehicle handle. We were in the wind tunnel last week and have a lot of options for this car, which is exciting.”
You mentioned the level of progression for this young team, what are your expectations for the middle of the race season?
“Hopefully, we can get back to Victory Lane. I think it’s realistic. Everyone is working hard and together as a team. We have been close the last couple of weeks and now we need to go to the next level. Being associated with teams that have won in the ‘Motor City,’ I know how important this race is. This KBM team will give it our best and limit our mistakes, so we should have a good race. I know Kurt will bring his A-Game and it will be fun!”
Kurt Busch’s No. 54 Monster Energy Camry:
Chassis KBM-006: KBM will unload car #006, previously raced at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. and at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The team earned eighth-place finishes at both intermediate tracks. The backup machine is one that is frequently on standby, Chassis KBM-007.