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Aug 15, 2012 - 04:59 PM
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2012 Michigan: Kurt Busch NASCAR Truck Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Aug 15, 2012 - 04:56 PM
NASCAR News
2012 Michigan: Kurt Busch NASCAR Truck Race Preview


It's been 11 years since Kurt Busch's last NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, but he's hopeful that his return to NASCAR's third division will be 'like riding a bike.' His bike for Saturday's VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn will be the No. 18 Shore Lodge Tundra, fielded by his brother's Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team.

 

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Although it will take some laps to get readjusted to the feel of a truck, Busch believes that having two races already under his belt on the repaved two-mile oval will give him a leg up on the competition when practice begins Friday morning. The elder Busch, who shares the driving duties behind the wheel of KBM's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry with younger brother Kyle, finished third in the Nationwide Series race at MIS earlier this year. He will be looking to improve on that finish Saturday, as he bids to add a Truck Series victory to his two Cup Series wins at the track nestled in the Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan.

Quickly adapting to the feel of a truck shouldn't be a problem for the veteran driver, who proved to be a quick learner when he burst onto the NASCAR scene in 2000. As a 21-year-old driver, making his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, Busch registered a second-place finish in the Truck Series opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The talented wheelman made an immediate impact on NASCAR's third division that season, collecting four wins, four poles, 14 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes en route to a second-place finish in the final point standings and Rookie of the Year honors.

His success in the Truck Series earned him a promotion to the Sprint Cup Series for the final seven races of 2000 and he has been a full-time competitor in NASCAR's premier division ever since. The Las Vegas native's Cup Series resume includes a Sprint Cup Series championship (2004), 24 wins, 15 poles, 89 top-five and 171 top-10 finishes over 421 career starts to date.

Coincidentally, as Busch gets back to 'riding a bike' this weekend, a bike will be riding onboard the tailgate of his Shore Lodge Tundra. The tailgate will be promoting "Win Kyle's Custom Made Chopper," the latest Kyle Busch Foundation fundraising campaign. Deadwood Choppers, based in Middle Island, N.Y., designed and built a custom chopper that features the logos of the Kyle Busch Foundation's largest supporters. Fans can go to kbfchopperraffle.com and purchase two chances to "Win Kyle's Custom Made Chopper" for $54.

Kurt Busch, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS Shore Lodge Tundra:

How much fun will it be getting back behind the wheel of a truck?
"This is exactly what having fun means to me -- driving different vehicles in different situations. Kyle came to me and asked for my help this weekend -- it comes from my heart to be able to do this and I'm thankful for the opportunity with his team. It's been 11 years since I've been in a truck, but hopefully it will be like riding a bike."

Most of the drivers in the Truck Series will be racing at Michigan for the first time since the repave, how big of an advantage will it be to already have two races under your belt on the new surface?
"I think that having raced in both the Nationwide Series and the Cup race in June will give me an advantage early on, but those guys will catch up to us. We will have to keep working hard throughout the three practice sessions to find speed in the truck and then be able keep the speed in it that will allow us to compete for a victory in the race."

Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS Shore Lodge Tundra:

How will the repave affect the Truck Series race at Michigan?
"I think that we are going to see a situation very similar to Pocono, where some teams are going to be more trimmed out -- like speedway racing -- and other teams will set their truck up for more downforce. I also think that you'll see more drafting -- we've drafted a fair amount there in the past on restarts, but I think that you'll see it for a longer period of time this weekend. I talked to our Nationwide Series guys and they were able to run wide open during the early part of a run and I think that we'll be able to run wide open almost the whole run."

Will the extra practice session this weekend allow you to do some experimenting?
"We'll have some time in between the first two practices and then a couple of hours before the final session, so that will allow us to experiment a little bit. We're going to start out with a little different package than we've ran there in the past -- mostly because of the repave. We can always go back to our baseline setup if that doesn't work for us."

Kurt Busch's No. 18 Shore Lodge Tundra:

Chassis KBM-9: Saturday's VFW 200 will be the fifth time on the track this season and seventh career start for KBM-9. KBM-9 is the same Tundra that Denny Hamlin drove to a fifth-place finish in the Pocono Mountains 125, the last time that the Truck Series was in action. Jason Leffler posted a season-best fourth-place finish for the No. 18 team with the truck at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May and also posted a season-best qualifying effort with it, starting second at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in April.

Notes of Interest:

Win Kyle's Chopper Featured on Tailgate of the No. 18 Shore Lodge Tundra:

The tailgate of the No. 18 Shore Lodge Tundra this week will be promoting "Win Kyle's Custom Made Chopper," the latest Kyle Busch Foundation fundraising campaign. Deadwood Choppers, based in Middle Island, N.Y., designed and built a custom chopper that features the logos of the companies who support the Kyle Busch Foundation. Fans can go to kbfchopperraffle.com and purchase two chances to "Win Kyle's Custom Made Chopper" for $54. The winner of the raffle will get to be Kyle's guest at the Oct. 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway - airfare, lodging at a Choice Hotel property and pit passes included - and receive a custom designed helmet, a Monster Energy refrigerator with a year supply of Monster Energy, and Monster Energy team gear. Proceeds from the raffle will allow the Kyle Busch Foundation to continue to empower young men and women by fostering life experiences and helping them achieve their goals. To learn more about the foundation, go to kylebuschfoundation.org.

Kurt Busch @ Michigan International Speedway:
• Finished second in his lone NCWTS start in 2000 (7/22/00)
• Two career NNS starts, including a third-place finish in KBM's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry in this year's race
• Has collected two wins (6/15/2003 and 8/21/2007), two poles, three top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 23 career Sprint

Cup Series starts
Kurt Busch 2012:
• Two wins, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 13 Nationwide Series starts, including the first-ever series win for KBM at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in April
• One top-five and two top-10 finishes in 21 Sprint Cup Series starts
Kurt Busch Camping World Truck Series Career:
• Has collected four wins, four poles, 14 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 25 career starts
• Earned Rookie of the Year honors and finished second in the 2000 final point standings

Kurt Busch NASCAR Career:
• 2004 Sprint Cup Series Champion, first to win in the "Chase for the Cup" points format
• Has collected 24 career Sprint Cup Series wins and 15 poles in 421 career starts
• Four-time qualifier for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship
• 2010 Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race Winner
• Has registered five career Nationwide Series wins and three poles in 25 starts
• One of 26 drivers with at least one victory in each of NASCAR's top three divisions

Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 18 Toyota Tundra:
• Owner-driver Kyle Busch was running third just past the halfway mark in last year's VFW 200, but was unable to finish the race after a piece of debris from another truck punctured a hole in the radiator and relegated the No. 18 Tundra to a 25th-place finish
• Busch started ninth and finished third in the 2010 VFW 200
• Michigan International Speedway is one of just seven tracks on the 2012 schedule where the No. 18 Tundra has yet to score a victory (Daytona, Iowa, Kansas, Las Vegas, Pocono, Rockingham)
• The last time that the No. 18 Tundra was in action, Denny Hamlin posted a fifth-place finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (8/4/12)
• After 11 races, resides 11th in the 2012 NCWTS Owner's point standings
• In 2011, ranked first in Truck Series wins (8) and second in Owner's points (920), Laps Led (878), Fastest Laps Run (448) and Top-Five Finishes (16)
• Three different drivers won a race in the No. 18 Tundra in 2011 - Kyle Busch (series-leading 6), Kasey Kahne (1) and Denny Hamlin (1)
• Since debuting in the Truck Series in 2010, the team has compiled 16 wins and 34 top-five finishes over 60 starts
• In 2010, became first team since the NCWTS originated in 1995 to win the Owner's Championship in its inaugural season

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