Kyle Busch takes Kyle Busch Motorsports up to next level for 2013By Ashley McCubbin
Since Kyle Busch Motorsports debuted on track in 2010, KBM has been winning races.
Over the course of the past three years in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, KBM drivers have combined for 18 wins, 40 top fives and 58 top 10s in 91 starts.
Then this past year, in the Nationwide Series in their debut season with Kyle and Kurt Busch sharing the ride, they accumulated one win, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s in 33 races.
However, they have yet to go after a driver championship. That will all change in 2013 as Kyle Busch has hired three young stars to bring home the trophy for KBM.
In the off-season, Busch hired Joey Coulter and Darrell Wallace Jr. to drive his trucks, while he hired Parker Kligerman to drive KBM’s Nationwide Series car.
“It’s pretty neat to see the young talent and that’s kind of the whole point in having a Kyle Busch Motorsports, having a Late Model program, having a Truck Series program, having a Nationwide Series program,” Busch said at the Canadian Motorsports Expo earlier this month. “We’re trying to help bring that younger talent to NASCAR.”
Busch added that it’s cool to see that younger talent through the ranks of NASCAR.
“Everybody has plenty of opportunity to make it happen,” he said. “One thing that it comes down to is trying to have the right sponsorship to put you to that next level. Once you have talent, that’s what you need.”
When it came to adding Joey Coulter to the team to drive the No. 18 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Busch talked about the success that Coulter had last year.
“I think Joey had a good year last year and had success in the truck series with a win at Pocono, had some good runs where he showed speed later in the year, and that stood out right there,” he said.
Last season, Coulter finished his sophomore season in the trucks third in points with a win, eight top fives and 15 top 10s in the 22 races driving for Richard Childress Racing. Coulter began racing in the truck series in 2011 for Childress after catching his eye with success in the ARCA Racing Series.
Moving forward, off the track, Busch says that he also plans to help Coulter be a little outgoing.
“He seems like he’s a little shy at times,” he said. “Really want to open up more to move him up to the next level so we’ll see if I can help out with that, since I’m pretty good at that.”
Driving the second truck for KBM full-time in 2013 is Darrell Wallace Jr., who is a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. Wallace Jr. ran four Nationwide Series races last year for JGR, finishing in the top 10 in three of them. Wallace Jr. is part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program and found success in the K&N Pro Series East, winning six races and scoring 25 top 10s in 36 starts.
Their journey to winning the championship in 2013 will not be easy,as NASCAR has added two new types of tracks to the schedule – a dirt track and a road course.
“Definitely out of element so we’ve already been thinking what do we do with these trucks, how do we set them up, what we have to do to make them go fast on dirt so we’re entirely confused right now,” he said.
NASCAR will return to it’s dirt roots with a trip to Eldora Speedway on Wednesday July 24th. The Inaugural Mudsummer Classic will be the first NASCAR event on dirt since Richard Petty’s Grand National win at Raleigh, NC in September 1970.
“NASCAR hasn’t really been on dirt for a long time so it’s going to be interesting,” Busch said. “The thing I like about dirt racing is its fun, enjoyable, but I like racing somebody else’s stuff so they have to take it home and clean it. But now all three of my trucks are going and unfortunately, I am not going.”
However, Busch will have a special guest in a third truck for KBM in the form of Scott Bloomquest, one of the most well-known dirt races in the United States.
“I won with his car in the Prelude to the dream last year; I’m hoping he can bring home the win in the truck race,” Busch added. “Scott’s one of the best guys out there to race on dirt. He’s been doing it a long time. There’s plenty of other guys too, but I think Scott notoriety and experience and everything, I think it was a smart move. I am interested to see him get out there and see what he can do on the race track.”
The other new element is a road course race for the trucks, which will take place at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on September 1st. The trucks haven’t been to a road course since the early 2000s.
“Cool to see road course races back here in the truck series,” Busch said. “I think it was 2000 the last time that happened so I’m excited to see….Actually, I have to teach my two guys how to road race for sure so we have to go to school before they come up here (Canada) to do that.”
When it comes to the Nationwide Series team, KBM brought Parker Kligerman aboard after Kligermann’s success in the trucks last season. The 22-year-old finished fifth in points with one win (Talladega SuperSpeedway) despite switching teams midway through the season. Kligerman started 2012 with Brad Keselowski Racing, before moving to Red Horse Racing after the 12th race of the season. Now Kligerman has found his home at KBM and is ready to challenge for the 2013 Nationwide Series Championship.
When it comes to hiring the young drivers, Busch says it’s all about their resume and seeing that they can win in different vehicles.
“You got to see that they’ve won races in every level that they’ve been to – that’s the whole reason why I got recognized cause coming up through the ranks, we won races at every level,” he said. “That’s one of the key factors that you look at is can these guys win in all the forms of racing so you can see that they have, I guess, tenacity and know-all of being able to drive different forms of cars at the track.”
That’s why he says that if there are young drivers who want to get up to his level one day, they need to get out there and drive anything.
“You also have to talk to get sponsorship,” he added. “I know as a kid that’s hard to do, but you have to work up the charisma to do it. I know coming up through the ranks I missed out on that. I ran off my dad’s money for a while. I didn’t start that till I was like 16, running late models, which I had already been racing for seven or eight years. Then I started working face-to-face with owners, sponsors. You can only make it so far on your own dollar. You need to be able to get out and get help from people that can help you.”