Last week Kyle Busch ran three races at the Bristol Motor Speedway and made NASCAR history by winning all three of them. It marked the first time any driver has won events in the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup on the same weekend at the same track.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be taking a well deserved weekend off before they wind down their regular season before the Chase starts. That actually turned out to be somewhat of a dilemma for Kyle Busch. He only has one scheduled race this week: the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event Friday night at the Chicagoland Speedway.
This is a driver who pads his busy schedule with as many races as possible. So to fill the racing void of this week’s schedule, Busch has recently turned his attention to the world of short course stadium racing and their high powered racing trucks. In particular he has chosen to visit the Traxxas TORC Series, presented by Amsoil.
TORC, which stands for The Off Road Championship, is one of the most intense, and often brutal, racing series you could name. The series turns half mile dirt track ovals into one mile off road racing courses complete with sweeping, high banked, road course style turns, motocross style jumps and special features like turn tables and whoops that gives the appearance that these trucks were shot out of a cannon.
This is a form of racing where hard contact is the norm and not the exception. The life expectancy of sheet metal fenders is approximately five laps. It’s a racing world where a truck can land on its roof without warning. It’s also an incredibly exciting form of racing that attracts a growing legion of fans and has garnered the attention of national television. The first of 26 episodes of “The Off Road Championship” will debut on the Discovery HD Theatre Network on September 2nd.
Should Coach Joe Gibbs, the owner of Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Sprint Cup team, be worried about his superstar driver entering this particular brand of rough and tumble racing? You bet he should.
Busch will make his Traxxas TORC debut on Wednesday and Thursday at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet-Illinois. He will be driving a Traxxas sponsored Toyota Truck in the series’ Pro 2 division. This division features custom, full size two wheel drive trucks. The Toyota Busch will drive in the pair of races was built by Mark and Mike Jenkins widely regarded as two of the best in the business.
Busch’s venture into short course racing this week is also an opportunity to do some sponsor co branding. Traxxas, “the fastest name in radio control,” is a renown designer and retailer of some of the finest radio control race vehicles in the country. Traxxas recently signed a three race deal to sponsor Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota. The first of the three races will be Friday night at the Chicagoland Speedway.
To prepare for this new racing adventure Busch spent some time last week at the Wisconsin based Crandon International Off Road Raceway where he worked out with Rob MacCachren, the current Pro 2 Series points leader, and Jeff Kincaid, the winner of the most recent TORC Series race.
Busch began his new racing orientation slow and easy at first but, by the end of the day, turned his best lap which was one-tenth of a second from the fastest lap turned in by anyone during the test session. An elated Busch sent a “Twitter” message that read: “was in Cranston-Wisconsin today testing the Traxxas TORC off road truck. What a blast to drive. Got pretty good I guess. As fast as the good guys.”
Team co owner Mike Jenkins was extremely impressed with Busch during the test. “He started the day off with no experience and ended it as an off road racer,” Jenkins said. “He was tip toeing around the first session, getting the feel. He was within three seconds of the fastest lap in his first time out. That’s mind blowing. Its one thing to race on pavement and it’s another to do it off road. All the possible track conditions and he made the transition to off road racer in one day,” Jenkins added.
During a television interview Monday afternoon, Busch commented on his TORC debut and said “I have no real expectations; I think it just going to be a lot of fun.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if he won all three of his scheduled races this week.