Phoenix International Raceway
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Searching for Repeat Success at PIR but with Own Team
by Amy Stein, Kyle Busch Motorsports
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- One year ago this week, Kyle Busch made history at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) by leading every race lap to accomplish victory at the Bashas' Supermarkets 200. Previous to the victory, the then 25 year old driver set a track qualifying record of 134.298 mph upon securing the pole position. That accomplishment came with his past Nationwide Series ride fielded by Sprint Cup Series team owner Joe Gibbs. Going into this year's same entitlement race on Saturday, the owner-driver hopes to achieve similar dominance, only this time behind the wheel of his own No. 54 Monster Energy Camry fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
Busch has enjoyed much success at the Phoenix-based racetrack competing in all three NASCAR Series, with his first run in 2004 in the Nationwide Series. He was the youngest pole winner at age 19 that year. In 2007 Busch went on to become the youngest race winner of a PIR NNS event at age 22. His resume at PIR includes five pole positions along with one win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (2005), an All-Time high performing four wins in the NNS (2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007) and two wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2011 and 2007). He is also the highest All-Time performing driver at PIR in the NNS with an average start of 5.417 and 793 laps led.
This year at PIR Busch will be competing against his former Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series team, as he enters the second week of the race season with his own crew and car. KBM announced in January the formation of a new team with the development of the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry. The team owner will share driving duties with his brother Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, who has thirteen confirmed races in the No. 54 Toyota. The west-coast native and car owner will however be behind the wheel this weekend in an attempt to repeat the success he had last time on track at the Arizona-based raceway.
Momentum is high for the No. 54 team going into Phoenix, Ariz. coming off the first race weekend of the season at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Although a difficult finish upon a last-lap accident, that yielded a wrecked race car, the team owner saw himself in position to win. One week later, knowing his new race team is competitive and able to work through adversity, the NNS all-time winning driver is prepared to bring them to a track such as PIR where he has been so successful.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR NNS Monster Energy Camry:
That was an exciting first effort by your new NNS Monster Energy team last week. Does that positive momentum carry over to Phoenix International Raceway this week, especially at a race track where you've had history-making success? "That was a phenomenal job by the guys last week. We kind of battled back from being behind much of the day and showed we could be contenders at the end. Having a new race team and bringing new crew members together for the first time is always a little unsettling, but we showed this group works well under pressure and hopefully we'll have the chance again to be leading in Phoenix."
What do you like about racing at PIR? "Well I won here last year, so that's always a good way to think about coming back. Last year, going into Phoenix, the track had been repaved and we were unsure what challenges that might bring to the car setup. What I was able to learn from that race I certainly will share with my new crew chief and team. The new asphalt gave PIR much more grip, which made the track faster. I like that Phoenix is a 'driver's track,' in that you have to find the compromise for car setup between turns. You don't have to use the brakes as much now with the new pavement, so maneuvering the turns smoothly is important."
Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR NNS Monster Energy Camry:
How do you feel about this new team with one race weekend under your belt? "I look forward to Phoenix International Raceway since Kyle always runs well there. I have also won PIR as a crew chief so I'm comfortable with this track. The team experienced a lot of challenges in Daytona and I'm proud how everyone worked together. We need to limit any mistakes in order to be competitive and contend for the win. If we try our best hopefully that will result in a first win for this race team."
Kyle Busch's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry:
Chassis KBM-001: KBM will unload the first NNS chassis built by the company in 2011, for Saturday's Bashas' Supermarkets 200. This Chassis, KBM-001, previously had time on track at Charlotte Motor Speedway last summer, with driver Kimi Raikkonen, in a partnership with NEMCO. The backup machine for this weekend's No. 54 team is Chassis, KBM-007.
Notes of Interest:
-Career NNS short track statistics for Kyle Busch include: 42 races, five poles, 12 wins, 25 top-five finishes, 31 top-10 finishes, 2,532 laps led comprised of 730,660 miles.
-Busch set the Phoenix International Raceway qualifying record for the Nationwide Series in 2011 with a speed of 134.298 miles per hour.
-In 2011 at PIR, Busch became the first driver to lead every lap of an event in one of NASCAR's top three series since Dale Earnhardt Jr. accomplished the feat July 4, 2003, in an NNS race at Daytona.
-Also in 2011, Busch won the Lucas Oil 150 Truck Series race the night before his NNS victory for two series wins in the same weekend. The KBM owner is not scheduled to race in the Truck Series this year.
Kyle Busch @ PIR in All Series over Career: (All-Time High Performer)
Kyle Busch Overall NASCAR Nationwide Series Results:
-All-time winningest driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with 51 victories
-Has achieved 120 top-five finishes, 149 top-10 finishes and 23 poles
-Has registered at least one win in each of the last eight seasons
-2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner's Champion Driver for JGR (a record 13-win season)
-2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver's Championship and Owner's Championship with JGR
-2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner's Champion Driver for JGR
-2004 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year
What are fans saying about Kyle on Social Media sites?
Facebook: Kyle Busch (102,000+ followers)
Ron Henderson: This young man has more skill than anyone I have ever watched, even Dale Sr. I bet ya Dale smiles every time Kyle cranks it up!!! (Feb. 22, 2012)
Mario Gencarelli: So happy for you Kyle. Can't wait to see that Monster Energy drink Toyota roll onto the track. (Feb. 25, 2012)
Kathy Wilburn: go rowdy....you the man (Feb. 25, 2012)
Jeremy Brodes: Hell Yeah, GO KYLE GO!!!!!! (Feb. 25, 2012)
Jennifer Kolbe: Excited to see the KBM Nationwide cars today! Good luck Busch Brothers! (Feb. 25, 2012)
Lynn Fowlston: That's OK will wait patiently to see you in the winner's circle
(Feb. 26, 2012)
Gayle Sherman: Not a bad run for a first with the #54. I was totally impressed. Knew we had the driver to win. Just glad you were OK!! (Feb. 27, 2012)
Twitter: @KyleBusch (138,409 followers)
@BKM18SWEEP AWESOME Looking Pit Box @MonsterEnergy And @KBMTeam The BEST Looking Pit Box On Pit Road!! #TrueFact (Feb. 28, 2012)
@calbeachbumm @KyleBuschTough end to a great race, good news is I drink enough @MonsterEnergy to pay for the damage. #kbshow rocks (Feb. 25, 2012)
@pnosilla Should be an exciting ending with the Busch brothers taking on this Daytona ending. Let's go, I want to see the #KBShow! (Feb. 25, 2012)
@MischGoodman I love to hear kurt and kyle working together and givin props to each other #kbshow (Feb. 25, 2012)
@Bryantfamily06 @KBMteam this is what we have been waiting for#Buschbrothersdomination a real #KBShow woohoo (Feb. 25, 2012)
@wcdubya For those who were breathing easy when the @KBMteam Monster Toyota was out of contention...grab your oxygen mask. #KBShow#youknowbetter (Feb. 25, 2012)