MOORESVILLE, N.C. – The No. 54 Monster Energy team maintains strong momentum going into week six of the season at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth, coming off their third 2013 win at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Under the lights this Friday at TMS, the Joe Gibbs Racing stable looks forward to tackling another 1.5-mile venue, one where crew chief Adam Stevens has not earned his first victory, yet, but where veteran driver Kyle Busch has five wins and three poles in 14 starts there in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS).
Needless to say, Busch is extremely comfortable maneuvering the Texas track and has proven his skills to be dominant. Busch’s performance in Texas has yielded him the No. 1 spot in most statistical categories at this facility. Loop Data Statistics over the past eight years at Texas Motor Speedway, record Busch first in: Driver Rating (125.2), Average Running Position (1), # of Fastest Laps Run (572, 245.5%), Average Mid-Race Position (6.5), Final Average Position (6.8), # of Laps in the Top 15 (2258, 86.5%), # of Laps Led (1105, 42.3%), Fastest Driver Early in a Run (177.210 mph), Fastest Driver Late in a Run (171.703 mph), Fastest on Restarts (168.761 mph), Fastest Green Flag Speed (173.570 mph) and Highest Average Speed per Race Quarter.
With two recent NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series wins at Auto Club Speedway and a strong Sprint Cup Series performance last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the Monster Energy athlete also strengthened his personal career statistics, leading 273 additional laps bringing his total to 24,564 career laps led, passing veteran Darrell Waltrip (24,545 laps) and placing Busch seventh on the all-time NASCAR list.
The last race at Texas for the Nationwide Series was in November, 2012, when Busch captured the first pole for his young Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) NNS team and led 65 laps to finish in third place. This time he is reunited with his veteran Cup team, now running the No. 54 JGR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Toyota Camry and looks to add another win to the record books for himself and a victory notch in the belt of his crew chief Stevens.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
You and JGR run strong at Texas in the Nationwide Series, what do you expect under the lights this week? “We are on a roll right now, so hopefully we can keep that momentum going. I’ve had some wild races at Texas early on in my career which led me to not like the track very much. Then the Nationwide Series wins over the last several years and getting a win in the Truck Series a few years ago were real confidence-boosters. I’ve learned how to drive it better and I know what I need in my racecar to make it easier. Last year I was able to secure a pole for KBM in our first Nationwide Series season, at Texas, then went on to finish third in that fall race. This year I’m reunited with JGR who has always given me strong cars at this track, so I’m shooting for our fourth win of the year, and I think we can get it.”
Adam Stevens, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:
How will you prepare for this track and a night race, where Kyle has strong results? “Texas is a tough place. It’s a little bumpy and has a tendency to get loose. We have a slightly different tire combination this year so we all will have some learning to do. Kyle has a great track record at Texas so we will lean on him heavily to get the car dialed in. In recent years the middle and upper grooves have really come in which makes for good racing. You have to be able to move around to get thru traffic and pass cars. We have an evening practice on Thursday and a morning practice on Friday–but we race at night. The grip level and lap times will change drastically with the changing track conditions.”