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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kyle Busch striving to reach Harvick’s level of success in Truck series

While Kyle Busch is famous for his outbursts, it appears he also knows how to run a race team.

Just four races into his career as a Truck series team owner, he is a winner after claiming victory at the Nashville Speedway this weekend.

Who did he hold off to get that win? Kevin Harvick. This is significant because Harvick’s successful run as a team owner, especially in the Truck series, is something Busch hopes to emulate as he works to become a championship-level owner in that series.

Harvick dabbled in the Truck series from 2001-2004, but got serious in 2005 by fielding full-season rides in both Nationwide and Trucks. He and his wife Delana secured top talent when they got driver Ron Hornaday and top quality crew members like crew chief Rick Ren. Between their dedication to the KHI team and wisely chosen talent, the team has tasted a lot of victory in Truck and Nationwide and has a couple championship trophys courtesy of Hornaday.

It’s clear Busch loves the Truck series, and wants to achieve this kind of success with his new team, but it’s not going to be easy. He’s already felt the pain that can come when sponsors leave, which happened to his team before the season even started due to a vote from the Miccosukee tribe to pull sponsorship across the board in NASCAR.

Despite this setback, the team has persevered and taken its first win very early in its first year of operation. In order for the team to grow, they will have to get the proper funding and continue to have quality runs, even when Busch isn’t behind the wheel. They are in good hands, though, as Brian Ickler and Tayler Malsam have proven to be a solid driver (especially Ickler). It’s also notable that Busch immediately poached some top talent, getting Ren to leave KHI and join his operation as director of competition.

I once heard Kyle Busch tell a story about how people made fun of him as a teenager because he was in the garage on weekends working on cars, while they were out partying and chasing girls.
It’s going to take that kind of dedication from Kyle Busch and his Truck team to reach the level of success Harvick has seen. But I get the feeling that he’ll be able to do it … it’s just a matter of when.

Almirola finds a home
After getting some unfair shakes in the Cup series, mostly due to sponsorship issues, Aric Almirola is finally finding a place where he can thrive in the Cup series. He clearly has talent, and had some strong runs in Cup when the proper equipment was provided for him. He has used that talent to get the Billy Ballew-owned Truck he drives up to 2nd in the points, and hopes to contend for a title. After several years of bouncing around the various NASCAR garages, it’s good to see him settled and doing well.

One less crew member?
According to reports, if the new fuel can being used in the Truck series makes its way to Nationwide and Cup, there will not be a need for a catch can man on pit stops. So for all the guys who fill that role on the teams in the top two series, I would serious suggest applying for a job in the race shop or a new gig on the pit crew … yours might not exist next year.


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