Interstate Batteries [6 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
Auto Club - 3/22, David Ragan
Texas - 4/11, David Ragan
Daytona - 7/5
New Hampshire - 7/19
Michigan - 8/16
Dover - 10/4
There are five current race tracks the Sprint Cup Series runs on that Kyle Busch has not won at a Sprint Cup race:
Kansas, best finish 3rd, 10/5/2014
Martinsville, best finish 2nd, 10/28/2012
Homestead, best finish 4th, 11/18/2012
Charlotte, best finish 2nd, 10/16/2010 & 10/15/2011
Pocono, best finish 2nd, 6/6/2010 & 8/7/2011
Contract Status: Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: M&M Mars 2017; Interstate 2015+
Drivers not happy with track cleanup UPDATE NASCAR comments: #18-Kyle Busch and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were angry at NASCAR for what they felt was a lousy job cleaning up the track in the top of the groove between Turns 1 and 2 from a #51-Justin Allgaier oil spill on lap 182 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers hit the wall as they tried to put themselves in position to finish on the lead lap. Earnhardt, one lap down, ended up in the wall shortly before lap 200 and wound up four laps down in 28th. Busch hit it about 15 laps later, finishing one lap down in 20th. "You can't pass anybody -- it's a single-lane race track and then [a driver] put oil on the top lane [where we] to try to make anything happen and then you put yourself in the fence -- so thanks to NASCAR for cleaning that up," Busch said sarcastically.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said NASCAR had cleanup workers actually walk the areas where drivers complained about oil, and they felt no oil, just the kitty litter-type absorbent. Earnhardt said NASCAR might have missed the oil because of shadows on the track, but Buck said workers and the pace-car driver did not feel any oil. "I've raced this [stuff] for 20 years," Earnhardt said. "I know what oil and [the absorbent] Speedi Dri is. We hit fluid, flew into the freaking wall hard. That's not Speedi Dri. There was oil up there. ... I hit the f---ing wall. I know I hit oil. I hit it. I promise. I'll argue with them all day long because I know I'm right."(ESPN)(10-11-2015)
UPDATE: A NASCAR executive said Monday that officials will talk to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch about their insistence they hit oil in Sunday's Bank of America 500 after the track surface had been examined. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive VP and chief racing development officer, addressed the matter on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "In this case, we did not see oil,'' O'Donnell said. "I can't debate Kyle and (Earnhardt), they're in the race cars. If they say they hit it, it's not something that we saw out there. We'll continue to talk to them and see what maybe we can improve on in the future. We had personnel even out on the track, getting down on almost their hands and knees to make sure there wasn't any.'' O'Donnell said series officials thoroughly examined the track during the cautions. "Under any caution and condition, we obviously send out all the safety equipment to look and see if there is any oil from their perspective on the track,'' O'Donnell said. "We did that in this case. We had (pace car driver) Brett Bodine run through it multiple times and confirm back up to race control that the track was in good shape to go ahead and restart. Hopefully, there wasn't any. We go out there and we go check and did our process multiple times and they did not see any. Ultimately, we're not in the car and driving the car. From our view, the race was in good shape to get restarted and it always has to be before we go back green. That's where we were and felt like we did everything we could to ensure that the race track was in a safe condition.''(NBC Sports)(10-13-2015)
Pit road tangle ruins Charlotte race for both Kyles-Busch and Larson: #42-Kyle Larson was running second, and #18-Kyle Busch third, approaching pit road after NASCAR called the eighth caution of Sunday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway because of fluid on the track. Busch feinted toward pit road, as he often does in similar situations. But as Busch steered his #18 Toyota to the right of the commitment cone at the entrance to pit road, Larson suddenly turned his #42 Chevy into Busch's path. Busch's car sustained minor damage, and Larson's spun on pit road, but both drivers drew commitment line violations that would send them to the back of the field for the subsequent restart on Lap 201 of 334. Neither driver recovered from the incident, as their winning chances disappeared with the contact. Busch subsequently slid in oil in the high groove and further hurt his car during contact with the outside wall.
"We stayed out there on that caution and Kyle faked like he was coming, and the 42 (Larson) in front of us, he was on the opposite end of the commitment cone and there was no way he was going to make it," Busch's crew chief, Adam Stevens, said after the race. He (Larson) panicked. I don't know what happened there, but them two came together. Then we were behind the eight ball at that point, but still going to have a good day, and the track had a little bit of oil on it, didn't get cleaned up as well-which a lot of people were talking about on the radio. Kyle slipped in it and fenced it, and that's what really did us in."
Larson said he got contradictory instructions on his radio. "They told me to do what everybody around me was doing, and the #22 (race winner Joey Logano) was staying out, so I was committed to staying out," Larson said. "And as soon as I turned right to stay out they said 'Pit, pit, pit.'
"I hung a left and Kyle (Busch) was there. I feel really terrible to ruin their day, and hopefully it didn't hurt their chances of transferring through this round (of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup). I know they deserved a top-three finish for sure. I felt awful immediately and still do. I hate it."
Busch salvaged a 20th-place finish, but he's 10 points out of eighth place, the position that will transfer from the Chase's Contender Round to the Eliminator Round. "Just can't say enough about my guys - all the work that they put into these things," Busch said. "They don't deserve to be put in these situations year in, year out, but we are for some reason. But it's tough, and we're going to have to battle through with what we've got right now. I can't say enough about what they did on pit road getting us back salvageable."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-11-2015)
Kyle and Samantha Busch raise money for breast cancer patients: For the third year, the Kyle Busch Foundation raised money to help the North Carolina-based Pretty in Pink Foundation award grants to what they call "champions" - people who are fighting breast cancer. This year, Busch and wife Samantha raised enough money - $57,000 - to help with medical expenses for 22 patients (21 women and one man). In three years, the foundation has raised more than $200,000 and helped 76 people fighting breast cancer. Busch sponsor Mars hosted six of the champions - the others were not healthy enough to attend - in its suite overlooking Charlotte Motor Speedway's Turn 4 on Saturday night. "It's neat to be able to help them out and give them a fresh breath of air and maybe even a fresh breath of life," Kyle Busch told USA TODAY Sports. "Hopefully they can enjoy a great day of not having to worry about things and think about things, and just kind of let loose a little bit." The Pretty in Pink Foundation assists under-insured or uninsured patients with their medical costs, which include things like radiation treatments, chemotherapy and doctor visit co-pays. Kyle and Samantha Busch founded the organization online a few years ago and reached out, saying they wanted to help. "Sometimes they get labeled as 'breast cancer patients,' but we want them to be able to go back to their other lives," Samantha said. "They never worry about themselves; they always talk about how it affects their family or friends. To be able to give them some small peace of mind, that's what's special."(see full story at the USA Today)(10-12-2015)
2015 Joe Gibbs Racing Fall FanFest Scheduled for October 9: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Fall FanFest will be held this Friday, October 9 from 9 AM to 1 PM at its team headquarters in Huntersville, NC. JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kenny Habul, and Matt Tift are all scheduled to sign autographs at staggered times throughout the morning. In order to receive an autograph, fans must have a wristband for each respective driver. Beginning at 8 AM on Friday morning, wristbands for each driver will be distributed in separate lines. No wristbands will be required for Suarez, Jones, Habul, and Tift or the JGRMX riders, who will be on hand to sign from 9 AM to 10:30 AM.
The complete driver autograph schedule for Friday, October 9 is as follows:
9 AM Kyle Busch
9:30 AM Matt Kenseth
10 AM Denny Hamlin
11 AM Carl Edwards
9-10:30 AM Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kenny Habul, Matt Tift
9-10:30 AM JGRMX Riders: Justin Barcia, Weston Peick, Phil Nicoletti
The fourth annual JGR Fan Fest Car and Motorcycle Show will be from 9 AM until 1 PM (registration begins at 7 AM and judging concludes at 11 AM with awards presented at 1 PM). Categories for the show include street rods, muscle cars, original class, custom, motorcycles, pick-ups, best engine and best in show. Participants can preregister at http://joegibbsracing.com/carshow. For more information and directions for JGR Fall FanFest please go to: joegibbsracing.com/fanfest. Funds raised from JGR Fall FanFest will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).(JGR)(10-7-2015)
Pretty in Pink M&M's scheme on the #18 at Charlotte: When the 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers take the green flag on October 10 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500, Kyle Busch's race car may look a little different than usual. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all those who are affected, Busch will be driving the #18 M&M'S Pink Toyota. Joe Gibbs Racing will donate a portion of the proceeds from every diecast sold to the North Carolina-based Pretty in Pink Foundation. The Pretty in Pink Foundation serves people diagnosed with breast cancer who have limited or no health insurance benefits. Busch fans can now order an Action Racing Collectables die-cast of his #18 M&M'S Pink Toyota from Lionel Racing. See an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(10-4-2015)
#18 JGR team makes pit crew change UPDATES: The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team and longtime front tire changer Nick Odell have parted ways. Odell was changing this past weekend in the Chase opener at Chicagoland in a race in which Kyle Busch finished ninth. This is an unusual development considering the timing and that the #18 pit crew has been intact for eight years and is a tightly knit group. This has been regarded as one of the best pit crews for years, and Odell is a great talent.
Josh Lesley will replace Odell as the front changer this weekend in the second race of the Challenger Round at New Hampshire (NASCAR.com/PitTalks)(9-22-2015)
UPDATE Odell to the #24? Ex #18 Joe Gibbs Racing tire changer Nick Odell is close to a deal with Hendrick Motorsports and the #24 team. After the news last Monday that Odell had been released by JGR, almost every team on pit road had some level of interest in talking with him. After sitting out Loudon, PitTalks sources say Odell is very close to finalizing his deal with HMS. If this deal goes down, then front tire changer Scott Brzozowski of the #24 becomes the man in question. Brzozowski came over to HMS a few years back after spending time on the #39 of Ryan Newman. HMS has four teams and Brzozowski is a top talent, seeing where he fits in will be the next piece in the puzzle. As far as when Odell starts changing tires for the #24, no idea. Supposedly the deal is almost done but we have not confirmed with HMS to verify.(PitTalks)(9-29-2015)
UPDATE 2: Nick Odell, who had served as #18-Kyle Busch's longtime front tire changer, will be #24-Jeff Gordon's front tire changer this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Front tire changer Scott Brzozowski, who had been on Gordon's team, moves to #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pit crew. Brzozowski replaces Dave Mayo, who returns to a backup role. Mayo was elevated to Earnhardt's pit crew before the Chase.(NBC Sports)(10-3-2015)
Kyle Busch clinches Chase spot: Now, the debate can begin: Is a driver who misses nearly a third of the season worthy of being a champion? #18-Kyle Busch will get the chance to accomplish that after clinching a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup after Sunday night's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. That he did is remarkable after missing the first 11 races of the season because of a broken right leg and fractured left foot in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch admits he wondered about his chances of making the Chase even with NASCAR granting an exemption that a driver must qualify for every race to be Chase eligible. "We weren't looking so good after Michigan," Busch said of the 43rd-place finish in the June race, which marked his second finish of 36th or worse in his first four races back. "It was really doom and gloom. I was bumming. I just wasn't sure what to do. I wasn't sure what was going on. It took a little bit of that time to get the rust knocked off, I guess. It's probably the longest I've been out of the race car in my life. That was a tough lick." He responded by winning the following week at Sonoma Raceway, starting a stretch where he won four of the next five races to make it realistic that he would climb into the top 30 in points - another requirement to be in the Chase.(NBC Sports)(9-7-2015)
Joe Gibbs Racing Launches Pit Road with Pals Game App: Joe Gibbs Racing announced the launch of their new interactive pit crew competition app: Pit Road with Pals. The new version of the popular pit stop game is now available for download on all Apple and Android devices. Pit Road With Pals App is a free app and provides fans the opportunity to test their skills in all facets of a pit stop. New to this version is the opportunity to play with friends in a best-of-three round competition style similar to many popular word games.(more info and links on JGRs Facebook page)(8-27-2015)
#18 Crew Chief not happy with speeding penalty, comments: A late speeding penalty on pit road likely cost #18-Kyle Busch a chance at victory in Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch led a race-high 192 laps (out of 500) and finished eighth. He did not talk to the media afterward. In his stead, crew chief Adam Stevens discussed the costly penalty.
Q) How frustrating is it to have the speeding penalty happen on the final pit stop?
Stevens: "It's frustrating. We put another car on the track that's capable of winning and it's tough to do. We've been able to do it I don't know how many weeks in a row. We had a race-winning car at Watkins Glen and Pocono and just keep coming up short. This one's on us. We made a mistake at Pocono, we weren't aggressive enough at Watkins Glen and now just make a mistake on pit road. We had a loose wheel and we battled back from that and then you speed on the last stop - you can't win if you speed on the last stop. That's all there is to it."
Q) What were you told about the section where NASCAR reported you were speeding?
Stevens: "They (NASCAR) told us that we were speeding in section five - our pit box is in section five. You can't speed if you're stopped on pit road. That could have just been - maybe they meant to say a different number, I don't know, but there is no earthly way that you can speed in the segment that your pit stall is in, it's not possible."(Toyota Racing/NBC Sports)(8-23-2015)
Kyle Busch's 7 race hot streak: A mere 11 races after returning from a broken leg and foot suffered in February, #18-Kyle Busch has cracked the top 30 in the points standings and is now eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Busch will qualify for NASCAR's playoffs if he can remain in the top 30 at the end of next month's Richmond race. Busch currently mans the 30th spot in the driver standings, six points ahead of 31st-place #35-Cole Whitt and one point behind 29th-place #51-Justin Allgaier. The #18 Toyota driver started off slow with just one top-10 finish in his first four races back (Pocono), but has been on an absolute tear since, winning four of the last seven races along with a runner-up. Over the last seven races Busch has dominated a majority of the statistical categories, leading the series in wins (4), driver rating (116.3), laps led (317) and points (283). No other driver has multiple wins during the span. #2-Brad Keselowski's 209 laps led marks the next-best total, while #4-Kevin Harvick's 107.5 driver rating is the second highest. The 283 points are 22 more than #22-Joey Logano's second-best total (261). Busch's run of wins has overshadowed the consistency of some other drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Harvick and Joey Logano rank tied with Busch with five top-five finishes over the seven-race span. Furthermore, Harvick and Kurt Busch lead with six top 10s each in the last seven races compared to Busch's five. Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth also claim five top 10s.(NASCAR)(8-13-2015)
Kyle Busch talks more about running out of gas at Pocono: #18-Kyle Busch talked to the media Friay morning at Watkins Glen and was asked about running out of gas on the final lap at Pocono:
Q: Have you talked with your team about running out of fuel at Pocono last week?
Busch: "Of course Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and I talked about it this week and I went in Tuesday morning and watching a couple of the NASCAR shows this week and heard some of the commentators kind of beating up on me about not saving fuel and listening to my crew chief. My crew chief told me I did nothing wrong. He told me that we were not short on fuel, that we were two-thirds of a lap to the good and he was not asking me to save fuel, but once I couldn't really catch the #22 (Joey Logano) to just save in case there was a yellow - save the car, save the tires, save the brakes, save all the stuff, the mechanics of the race car. So in case we did have a shootout at the end that I would be ready for it. It wasn't until the 22 bunch started getting on Joey about saving fuel with about seven (laps) to go that then I heard my first, 'Okay, save fuel.' By then, you're not going to save what you need in seven laps, you're not going to have the opportunity to do that. I could have if I would have gotten, what I told Adam, the harp. At the Brickyard we were short on fuel and Adam told me, 'Hey, save fuel.' I asked him then again, 'Are you sure?' He goes, 'Yeah bud, there's absolutely going to be no checkered flag for us if you don't save fuel.' The tone was quite higher than that. We obviously have real good communication with one another and we weren't short and for some reason we ended up being short that last run and we know the reason why now, but we didn't know at that particular point."(Toyota Racing PR)(8-8-2015)
Erik Jones to run some Cup races next season; full-time in future: Coach Joe Gibbs shed light on Erik Jones' NASCAR career arc Tuesday morning, saying that a full XFINITY Series schedule and some Sprint Cup events were planned for 2016. Gibbs, appearing on "The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said that advancing the 19-year-old driver through the NASCAR development ladder was a top priority at Joe Gibbs Racing. "We look at Erik as a big part of our future," Gibbs told SiriusXM, "and we've got a plan laid out and it's not something we've talked about in public, but we all kind of know inside of our racing organization, and with his parents and his agent ... is just great. So we've talked over a plan, and basically the plan next year would be a full XFINITY season and try and run for a championship there and also to, in all likelihood, have him in some Cup races so that would be the goal for next year." Gibbs, 74, said plans to get Jones into a full-time ride are taking shape, though his organization currently stands at the NASCAR-mandated maximum of four teams, with Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth on the JGR driver roster. "We've got a plan laid out in the future, and it's something we can't, you know, we don't want to talk about now, but there is no question -- this guy, Erik's headed for Cup," Gibbs said with a laugh. "He's headed for Cup and we've got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there."(NASCAR.com)(8-4-2015)
Kyle Busch skipping Watkins Glen XFINITY race: Kyle Busch won't compete in that event this week as he continues to recover from injuries he suffered at the start of the season. Boris Said will drive Busch's car in the Xfinity race. Busch broke his right leg and left foot in a crash in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway in February. The only road course he has run this year was at Sonoma Raceway, winning the Sprint Cup race there. Busch was scheduled to compete in the Xfinity race at Watkins Glen this weekend but car owner Joe Gibbs said the decision was made to change his schedule. "He feels like Watkins Glen is more of a challenge than Sonoma," Gibbs said. "I feel like there's times when I get out of the car just putting weight back in my feet sometimes it hurts after race days and stuff like that," he said. "With Watkins Glen coming up (this) week, that's going to be another hard one to get through. That's going to be a tough challenge for myself and the left foot, but we'll make it and I'm sure we'll be okay just like Sonoma. It will be sore on Monday afterwards and we'll continue to ice it and make it feel better."(NBC Sports)(8-4-2015)
Kyle Busch runs out of fuel with 1/2 lap to go while leading: #18-Kyle Busch was leading the Windows 10 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on the final lap, heading towards his 4th consecutive race win, when his #18 Crispy M&M's Toyota ran out of fuel. Busch finished 21st, down one lap, leaving Busch 13 points out of the top 30 in driver points and a spot in the Chase. Busch's comments:
Q) How disappointed are you not to get your fourth straight win after running out of fuel on the final lap leading the race?
Busch: "Yeah, that was it. I didn't know we were that close. Normally when we're close or that close I get harped on pretty hard to save fuel. They were just telling me to save just to not put too much pressure on the car and everything else. Man, that's a bummer. I wish I would've saved a little more there that last run. I wish I would've known that the 22 (Joey Logano) was that far away from making it. He was way far away from making it. Man, that was just a shame that we weren't able to get it done there. But, this M&M's Crispy Camry again I can't thank my guys enough -- Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody. We've got fast race cars right now so congratulations to Matt Kenseth for winning today for Joe Gibbs Racing and everybody at home can continue the celebration although it's not the right JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) car for the 18 it's certainly good for the company."
Q) How are you feeling about qualifying for the Chase as you are 13 points out of 30th place in the point standings?
Busch: "Was I in before we ran out? We would be celebrating a win and a Chase berth. We got greedy, I don't know how greedy but that's the position we're in. If it came down to other things that we haven't had the success that we've had here lately we would've had to have pitted and just made the opportunity of it and made the best finish that we could. But, we went for broke today and come up a little bit short so can't fault the team."
Did you think you had enough fuel to earn your fourth consecutive victory?
Busch: "I thought it was. I didn't know we were that short on making it on fuel and by the time I got notice that the 22 (Joey Logano) was going to run out. He was pretty much out, but by then to try to save that much gas in the last three laps of the race that just wasn't going to be feasible. I didn't know we were that close. I wish that maybe I had a little bit better heads up but I can't fault these guys for trying and going for broke. We're in the position we're in for a reason and that's because of fast race cars and today we probably could've made a few different choices there through the last run and made it and won this thing again but that just wasn't to be. This M&M's Crispy Camry was awesome today though. Really fast car. I thought I was faster than Joey (Logano), I just couldn't get there in traffic. I got real loose behind him and the closer I would get to him so I just couldn't make anything of it."
Q) Do you think you are okay being 13 points out of 30th in the point standings?
Busch: "Ah, we're fine. If I would've won today we'd be in and celebrating a win and a Chase berth."(Toyota Racing)(8-3-2015)
Kyle Busch going for 4th consecutive win: #18-Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Indianapolis on Sunday for his third straight victory as well as his fourth in the last five races. In the Chase Era, Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver to log three or more consecutive wins. Johnson strung together four straight victories in the 2007 Chase on his way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and won three consecutive races in the 2004 Chase. Busch is the first driver in the Chase Era to win three consecutive races during the regular season. Jeff Gordon is the only other active driver to win three consecutive races. He has achieved the feat on three occasions. Gordon captured four straight victories in 1998, in addition to three straight in 1996 and from 1998-99. Busch has 33 NSCS wins since his career began in 2004, the second most in the Chase Era behind Johnson's 68.(NASCAR), see the full list of drivers who have won three or more consecutive races on Jayski.com's All-Time Wins page.(7-29-2015)
Kyle Bush talked to Stewart about injury: #18-Kyle Busch talked to the media Saturday morning at Indy, the transcript in part:
Q) What was your mindset after the accident and did you speak with Tony Stewart about his injury?
Busch: "Tony (Stewart) was actually the first one to the hospital -- as soon as the Daytona 500 was over he was there. He actually told everybody that was on his plane that they were going to wait. He was there for about four hours. We had a good talk, we had a good discussion about just what it was like and the process that he had to go through and how long it was probably going to be or what it was going to be. In all reality, our injuries were the same but entirely different. His was much more severe than mine. Just being able to talk with him, my mindset was okay. At first I was like, 'I'm never going to race again and I don't know what I'm going to do,' all those things go through your mind. You just continue to power through and listen to your doctors and those that are around you and of course my wife and the support system that I had. I wouldn't call it painless, there was certainly a lot of pain, but it went really, really well as far as you could say any injury healing goes. I was pretty pleased with everything."(Toyota Racing)(7-28-2015)
Kyle Busch wins at Indianapolis: #18-Kyle Busch won the Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 4th win of the season, 1st win at Indianapolis, and 33rd career win. It his 3rd win in a row and 4th win in the last five races. It is also Toyota's first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and breaks a 12 race winning streak for Chevy.
The race ended under a green-white-checkered finish after a late caution when #6-Bayne spun.
#22-Logano finished 2nd followed by #4-Harvick, #78-Truex, Jr., #11-Hamlin, #15-Bowyer, #20-Kenseth, #41-Busch, #42-Larson, and #2-Keselowski
Harvick's driver points lead is unchanged, he's 69 points ahead of #22-Logano.
Pole sitter #19-Edwards ran near the front most of the day, but go loose on a late restart and fell back into traffic. He finished 13th.
#24-Gordon, making his final Brickyard start, spun out and hit the wall. He had to go to the garage for repairs and finished 42nd.
Busch is now 32nd in the points standings and just 23 points out of 30th. He must be in the top 30 in points to be eligible for the Chase. He now needs around a 24th place average finish to make the top 30 in the 6 remaining races before the Chase begins.
There were 16 lead changes among 6 drivers. There were 9 cautions for 36 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 131.656mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(7-26-2015)
Kyle Busch wins at New Hampshire: #18-Kyle Busch won the 5-hour ENERGY 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of the season, 2nd win at New Hampshire, and 32nd career win. He has now won 3 of the last 4 races.
#2-Keselowski finished 2nd followed by #4-Harvick, #22-Logano, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #20-Kenseth, polesitter #19-Edwards, #3-Dillon, #24-Gordon, and #41-Busch.
Harvick increases his driver's points lead to 69 points over #22-Logano.
Busch is now 33rd in the points standings and just 58 points out of 30th. He must be in the top 30 in points to be eligible for the Chase. He has gained 70 points on 30th in the last 2 weeks and now needs around a 19th place average finish to make the top 30 in the 7 remaining races before the Chase begins.
There were 10 lead changes among 7 drivers. There were 7 cautions for 34 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 108.504mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(7-19-2015)
Kyle Busch wins at Kentucky: #18-Kyle Busch won the Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway for his 2nd win of the season, 2nd win at Kentucky, and 31st career win. He led 163 of the 267 laps.
#22-Logano finished 2nd followed by #11-Hamlin, #19-Edwards, #20-Kenseth, #2-Keselowski, #24-Gordon, #4-Harvick, #48-Johnson, and #41-Busch.
#42-Larson, who started from the pole, had to pit for a tire rub with 50 laps to go, then made contact with the wall and finished 35th.
Harvick increases the drivers points lead to 68 points. #48-Johnson and #22-Logano are tied for 2nd.
Busch is now just 87 points out of 30th (to get in the Chase) and needs around a 17th place average finish to crack the top 30 in the 8 races before the Chase.
There were 13 lead changes among 8 drivers. There were 11 cautions for 49 yellow flag laps. The 11 cautions are a record at Kentucky Speedway.
The average speed was 129.402mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf)(7-11-2015)
Kyle Busch not back to 100% yet: #18-Kyle Busch talked to the media Friday at Kentucky Speedway and was asked how he is feeling:
How far back to 100 percent are you in health?
Busch: "When I'm inside the race car, I feel like I'm 100 percent. I feel like I'm fine for the things I have to do and all the abilities that I have to have to drive a car - I feel like I'm at 100 percent. Walking around here, I can't. They haven't approved me to go running yet. If you say me being able to go for a run is 100 percent, I'm probably 85."(Toyota Racing)(7-11-2015)
Kyle Busch comments on Daytona safety improvements: Toyota NSCS Daytona Kyle Busch Notes & Quotes:
Q) Do you feel safer at Daytona with the safety improvements that have been implemented?
Busch: "I wouldn't say you ever feel safe, but you're certainly grateful for the opportunity with the race tracks - not just Daytona, but all the race tracks to continue to work on the evolution of safety as well as NASCAR, the work that they've done throughout the years with the seats and the HANS device and our restraints and everything. I'm grateful that the Daytona International Speedway was as complimentary as they were after the crash here in the spring. They wanted to fix it and they wanted to do everything they could do in their power to make sure everything was done right here at the speedway and to make it first class. I think they've done that. I think there's certainly always room for improvements - any facility you go to, I feel like there's room for improvement. Seeing those done here at Daytona was really good."
Have you been able to visit the area of the race track where you made impact?
Busch: "Actually Joie Chitwood (track president) and NASCAR invited me early to take a ride around and just kind of take a look at some of the things that they've done. We went early yesterday, just after lunch and was able to take a look at some of those things. Actually got out of the van that we were in and just walked the area a little bit, kind of looked at some things and made some more suggestions of what else they could kind of look at and try to make improvements to. They were all well receptive and I think it was a good thing that we did that. Hopefully again, we can just continue to see the evolution of safety at all these race tracks continue to expand."
Q) Did you have any suggestions for Joie Chitwood beyond removing the grass and paving that area?
Busch: "Yeah, there's a little bit more of an opening over there in the area in which I crashed that we'd all kind of like to see get closed up some. They have a challenge there with the road course obviously having safer barriers there and everything kind of going on. So, we'd love to be able to see that area continue to be closed up more like it is off of turn four. Turn four has got a small gap over there where the safety workers and their vehicles can come in and out. That was the only other suggestion and obviously of course the grass is an issue that I think a lot of the drivers would echo my statements on."(Toyota Racing)(7-5-2015)
Changes made at Daytona crash scene: The section of Daytona International Speedway where Kyle Busch broke his left foot and right leg in February will look quite different this weekend. The speedway has reconfigured the inside wall with a combination of SAFER barrier and tire barriers near Turn 1, the entrance to the track's road course. That's where Busch smacked a concrete wall section Feb. 21, causing injuries that threatened to sideline him for the 2015 season. The new wall is positioned so that a skid into it would be shorter and make impact at a less dangerous angle. The speedway also paved over the grassy area that Busch slid through, as pavement offers more resistance than grass in a skid. That area isn't the only new area with SAFER barrier at the track. Daytona now has SAFER barrier around the entire outside wall, not just in the turns. It has added SAFER barrier to the inside pit wall just beyond pit road -- an area that Kevin Harvick hit in 2014 -- but needs to add some SAFER barrier in the turns to make the track completely covered.(see image of the wall at ESPN)(7-3-2015)
Kyle Busch wins at Sonoma: #18-Kyle Busch won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway for his 1st win of the season, 2nd win at Sonoma, 4th road course win and 30th career win. It is crew chief Adam Stevens' first Sprint Series win as a crew chief.
#41-Busch finished 2nd followed by #15-Bowyer, #4-Harvick, #22-Logano, #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kahne, #31-Newman and #9-Hornish Jr.
#48-Johnson led late in the race when the caution came out for #13-Mears broken axle. Most of the leaders pitted but Johnson stayed out. After the restart, #18-Busch started 7th, passing five cars before catching Johnson on lap 106 to take the lead and held off his brother, #41-Busch to win the race. Johnson finished 6th. It was the first time then Busch brothers have finished 1-2 in their Sprint Cup Series careers.
Pole winner #47-Allmendinger led 1 lap and ran up front most of the day until having fuel problems on lap 60. Allmendinger's team made repairs and he came back out to finish 37th, 12 laps off the pace.
Harvick increases the drivers points lead to 53 points over #78-Truex Jr. who finished 42nd after an early wreck.
#18-Busch now has 125 points and is 37rth in drivers points. To get in the Chase, he needs to be in the top 30.
Busch is 136 points out of 30th and needs around a 14th average finish to crack the top 30 in the 10 races before the Chase.
There were 9 lead changes among 5 drivers. There were 5 cautions for 21 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 74.774mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(6-28-2015)
Brother's Back-to-back wins: With #18-Kyle Busch's win at Sonoma on June 28, 2015 and #41-Kurt Busch's win the race before at Michigan, the Busch brothers have now won back-to-back races seven times, the most by any brother duo in NASCAR history:
Kurt, Kyle Busch - 7
Tim, Fonty Flock - 3
Bobby, Donnie Allison - 2
Tim and Bob Flock - 2
Bobby, Terry Labonte - 2
Brett, Geoff Bodine - 1
Bob, Fonty Flock - 1
Donald, Herb Thomas - 1.(6-28-2015)
What Kyle Busch needs to do to make Chase: Heading into Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, #18-Kyle Busch is 39th in points, 173 points behind 30th-place #51-Justin Allgaier. If Allgaier keeps accumulating points at his current rate, he'll have roughly 435 points when the regular-season ends. That, in turn, means that to catch Allgaier, Busch will have to average a 12th-place finish in the next 11 races. Considering that in the four races Busch has run since returning from a compound fracture of the lower right leg and a midfoot fracture of the left foot, his average finish is 24.75, it's safe to say Busch has his work cut out for him. Plus Busch has to win a race.(FoxSports)(6-25-2015)
Jones youngest driver to win two races in a weekend: 19-year old Erik Jones is the youngest driver to win two NASCAR national series races in the same weekend. Jones won Friday's Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway and then won the XFINITY Series race at Chicago on Sunday (NASCAR). After doing some research, it looks like Jones is the first driver since 2008 to win a National Series race in the same weekend at different tracks. Carl Edwards won the XFINITY Series race at Memphis on 10/25/2008 and then won the Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta on 10/26/2008.(6-23-2015)
Wreck Dims Kyle Busch's Chase Hopes: If #18-Kyle Busch wants to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, he needs to rack up points. And he needs to rack them up fast. Yes, he also needs a win in the next 11 races. Busch's Chase hopes took a hit when he smacked into the wall on a Lap 52 restart at Michigan, causing him to finish 43rd. He ranks 39th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings after missing the first 11 races of the season due to foot and leg injuries. To make NASCAR's playoffs, Busch must finish the regular season 30th in the points standings and win a race prior to the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway. Right now, he trails Justin Allgaier in the 30th position by 173 points. In four races since his return, Busch has posted finishes of 11th at Charlotte, 36th at Dover, ninth at Pocono and 43rd at Michigan.(NASCAR)(6-21-2015)
NASCAR issues warnings to four teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Hendrick Motorsports #88 team was one of four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams that received written warnings for pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection issues this past weekend at Michigan International Speedway. THe #88 team needed three trips to clear pre-race inspection leading into Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. The Joe Gibbs Racing entries of #18-Kyle Busch and #19-Carl Edwards, along with that of Phil Parsons Racing with driver #98-Josh Wise, had issues in pre-qualifying inspection, and made more than two trips through the line before heading out to pit road on Friday.
Failing to pass either pre-qualifying or pre-race inspection twice results in a written warning from the sanctioning body; failing a third time will result in a 15-minute loss of practice penalty at the next scheduled event. In March, teams were notified that beginning with the Phoenix race weekend, the series' fourth race, any vehicle failing qualifying inspection more than twice would be subject to a 15-minute practice penalty.
Officials began issuing written warnings prior to this year's race at Richmond International Raceway due to the number of teams requiring multiple passes through inspections. It was noted at that time that had the policy been in place the previous week, when the series was at Bristol Motor Speedway, it would have resulted in nine written warnings and three teams would have received time penalties. Since the policy was adopted, there have 44 written warnings issued to Sprint Cup teams. The warnings are a part of NASCAR's 2015 Deterrence Policy, which categorizes infractions (Level 1 through Level 6) and the applicable penalties.
If the same team receives two warnings during the same event, or during two consecutive events, the P1 penalties may include last choice in the pit selection process, a deduction in track time for practice or qualifying, a delay in the order of inspection or selection for post-race inspection.
If a team or member receives six or more warnings during a six-month period (from the time of the first warning), the penalty may be increased to P2. P2 level penalty options may include the loss of 10 championship driver and owner points and/or a fine not less than $10,000 and not more than $25,000. P2 level infractions also carry the potential for suspensions and probation.(NASCAR)(6-18-2015)
Kyle Busch's Chase chances take a hit: The debate on if a driver who misses 11 races deserves to have a chance to be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup might become moot after #18-Kyle Busch finished last - his second finish of 36th or worse since returning to the car last month. Busch said on the radio after the incident that he crashed when he hit rain in Turn 4. Call it bad luck that Busch was the one who crashed in that situation but it leaves him way behind in his bid to earn a Chase bid. He must win one of the remaining 11 races before the Chase field is determined and be in the top 30 in points by then. #51-Justin Allgaier is 30th in points and on pace to score 435 points by the time the Chase field is set. Busch needs a win (at least 47 points) and then would need to average about a 13th-place finish in the other 10 races to match Allgaier's projected total. Busch's chances are dropping.(NBC Sports)(6-15-2015)
Kyle Busch feels good after 600 miles: #18-Kyle Busch finished 11th in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was his first points race back since the XFINTIY Series accident at Daytona in February. Busch missed 11 races. Busch started the race in 17th position, running in the top-10 most of the race running as high as second on lap 295. But the handling went away just a bit for Busch following his lap-329 pit stop, and he dropped back to fifth with 33 laps remaining in the 400-lap race. Busch pitted for the final time for four tires and fuel with 21 laps to go, but the aforementioned six cars made it the rest of the way on fuel, turning Busch's possible fifth-place finish into an 11th place finish. Busch Discusses the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte:
"I feel pretty good. All in all, I felt like that was a great race for us with our Skittles Camry. We ran really strong. We ran up front, and we showed we had some speed. You know, it certainly is frustrating to finish where we did. That's disappointing. But sometimes you do win these things by fuel mileage races, so congratulations to our teammates, Carl (Edwards) and Matt (Kenseth). They finished up front there. But all in all, I can't say enough about everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and just all of our partners that have stuck behind me, with Skittles here and M&M's Crispy, SNICKERS, Pedigree, Interstate Batteries and Toyota. Everyone pulling for me and cheering for me and helping me get back into this racecar, and to get out there and have a strong run means a lot. I'm really proud of my guys. Adam Stevens (crew chief) made some great calls tonight and got ourselves in some really good spots and up toward the front. We raced up toward the front. We battled side-by-side, door-to-door with guys for a little while and it felt good."(JGR/TrueSpeed)(5-25-2015)
Congrats - Kyle Busch: from Kyle Busch's Facebook: "Samantha Busch and I are happy to announce the birth of our son Brexton Locke Busch. Born 5/18 at 9:45pm weighing 7lbs 10oz and 21 inches long. Mom and baby are doing great!"(5-19-2015)
Kyle Busch Happy to Return, Waits on Baby Busch: #18-Kyle Busch was happy to return to the seat of his race car on Friday as practice was held for Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. It didn't take long for Busch to get back to form, but he was just as intently preparing for the birth of wife Samatha's first child. "I was optimistic about coming back and getting in some laps here at Charlotte Motor Speedway," said Busch. "Our car was fast. It was good to see all my guys, and just kind of get things to fall back in. You know, just trying to get a feel for the seat since I hadn't been behind the wheel in a while. As far as I was concerned, everything went according to plan. We made some adjustments to get in that mock qualifying run. We were able to put a fast time up, but I'm not sure everybody else made that kind of effort. I was definitely excited to see that seat."
Busch noted the biggest adjustment was getting acclimated back to the car. "I think the biggest thing was just getting back the feel of the race car," said Busch. "These race cars have been changing quite honestly. Just trying to get a feel for what all was going on there and what I had to drive. The seat was an adjustment for me. I'm not used to the carbon seat at all; I have never run one. We had to tinker with it a little bit there and tinker with it now to just try and make it a little bit better for me for the long haul, especially for next week."
Charlotte was also a goal for Busch to return to competition. "There were some nervous days in Daytona where I was counting the weeks," said Busch. "And I was like, 'I could probably come back at Talladega,' and that would definitely be pushing it. And then I thought that wouldn't be very smart of me to come back at Talladega. And then Kansas was the next one. And I thought, you know what, I don't know if I want that one either, so Charlotte looks really good. And so far it seems to be a good choice coming back here. I think it was always kind of a goal, just depended on how hard we pushed getting ready for it."
Busch also is excited about soon becoming a father. "Samantha and I got up together like we always do and had breakfast." said Busch, "I told her she better keep her legs crossed and do whatever she had to do today and tomorrow, so we could keep baby Busch inside for 48 more hours. Besides that, it was a nice moment as I was getting ready and what we had is all over with all the trials and tribulations, and learning how to walk again, it was all over. We could now get back to our normal routine."(CMS Pit Notes)(5-16-2015)
France defends NASCAR decision about waiver for Kyle Busch: NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France defended NASCAR's decision to waive the 26-race rule on Wednesday and allow Kyle Busch to be eligible for the Chase. Although the sanctioning body granted the waiver, it doesn't mean the Joe Gibbs racer will automatically qualify for the playoff. That's where France says the challenge lies. "The real beauty in the way the championship is now decided, you have a little bit of flexibility to crown your champion," France said. "As opposed to the old days, when it was an accumulation of all the points. Now, you're resetting it any way. You still have to get into the Chase with a win. Once you get there, that's when the real work begins - those final 10 races and to survive that. I think the flexibility the format adds we're still rewarding the best driver in a given year is helpful for us and allows us when things like Kyle Busch happens or something else that are out of a driver's control we at least have a tool left in our tool kit so we can put them back in." Although France acknowledged that Busch's absence for nearly one-third of the Sprint Cup season played into NASCAR's decision-making process, with the new Chase format, the main emphasis is qualifying for and performing in the playoffs.
"What we determined in this case is you still have to finish strong in the remaining events leading up to the Chase, you have to win a race and you have to perform in the final 10 when it matters the most any way," France added. "There is plenty of merit if Kyle, in this case, is able to accomplish all that, then he will be a fine champion."(Motorsport / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)(5-16-2015)
Kyle Busch to Remain Eligible for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship: NASCAR announced today that Kyle Busch will remain eligible to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Busch will qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by meeting all requirements of eligibility excluding Rule 22.214.171.124.a, which requires a driver to start all Championship Events of the current season. NASCAR made the decision after the driver of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota received the appropriate medical clearance documentation to immediately return to NASCAR racing. To qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Busch will need to be within the top 30 of the Championship point standings after race No. 26, and meet all other stated requirements within the NASCAR Rule Book. "On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, it's great to have Kyle Busch back racing," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "Our decision to grant Kyle a waiver that allows him to continue running for a championship is one we discussed extensively. The spirit of the rule never was designed to punish drivers who are unable to compete due to extenuating circumstances such as recovering from a racing accident. We wish Kyle the best of luck in the balance of the season, and look forward to his return to the car this week for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway."(NASCAR)(5-13-2015)
What will it take for Kyle Busch to make the top 30? Kyle Busch returns to the #18 M&M's Toyota for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte. To race for a title in the 10-race, season-ending Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Busch must win one of the next 15 races, receive a medical waiver from NASCAR and either finish in the top 30 in points, or receive another NASCAR waiver for that requirement as well. Right now, #14-Tony Stewart is 30th in points, with 179 after 11 races. Over 26 races, that projects to about 423 points. For Busch to get 423 points -- and ultimately, the 30th-place driver likely will have slightly more or less than 423 -- he'd have to average 28.2 points in the next 15 races. So far this season, the top 11 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings have averaged at least 28.2 points per race.( )
AND Last year, #38-David Gilliland was 30th in the standings after the September Richmond race with 407 points. Over the past four years, the average point total for 30th place in the driver standings is 420.8 points. Factoring that, Busch would need to average a 16th-place finish to be in the top 30 when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins in September. #14-Tony Stewart is 30th in the points at the Sprint All-Star break with 179 points in 11 races (an average of 16.3 points per race). If that pace continues for whoever finishes 30th in the points before the Chase begins in September, they would have 423 points. Busch would need to average a 15th-place finish to reach the top 30 in points(NBC Sports)(5-13-2015)
Kyle Busch returns to racing, will run the All-Star Race: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch has received medical clearance to return to on-track activity beginning with Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the #18 M&Ms Red Nose Toyota. Busch was injured during an accident in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 21 causing him to miss the first 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(5-12-2015)
UPDATE: on Tuesday, May 12th, the was a Joe Gibbs Teleconference with Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M Red Nose Day Toyota. Busch made a few comments then held a Q&A, answering questions about his health, the Chase, safety, testing and more, a few highlights:
Busch started off: "I was cleared to get out of the boot a couple weeks ago, and was cleared to test my late model. That test went really well. I was able to come back again and test again last week at Hickory. My medical team was there with me and then declared I was cleared to get back in the car again for the All-Star Race in the Sprint Cup Series. I think it's a great race to come back to. For one it's shorter. It's a non-points event. There's mandatory cautions after every 25 laps and whatnot, so it gives you an opportunity to take a breather, take a rest, whatever it may be."
Q. Kyle, how is your race shape, your conditioning in general? You mentioned this is a shorter race, that it gives you the opportunity to take breaks. Do you feel you will need them?
KYLE BUSCH: No, I don't believe that's the reason. I think as far as my physical shape as to working out and whatnot, I've been doing therapy and whatnot three, sometimes four, five days a week. I feel like I'm well ready to go, that the cardio aspect is there, and the physical aspect of it is all there. I don't foresee there being any setbacks in that regard.
Q. Have you heard anything from NASCAR on whether or not they will make you eligible to compete in the Chase should you qualify?
KYLE BUSCH: I know there's been some good dialogue on the subject, but I'm not aware that there's been a decision made at this point. As I mentioned last month, I'd love to race for a win and a spot in the Chase. I think the top 30 rule makes a lot of sense. But for me, in my mind, it was intended for someone in my situation that has a car, sponsor and team that was set to run the entire year for a championship. I think it was set up to keep guys from being able to grab a win at a road course or restrictor plate track or something like that.
Q. There's no pain or anything like that associated like when you put a lot of pressure on the pedals?
KYLE BUSCH: No, No. I've not had that. The pedal pressure is somewhat around the same as to when I'm doing leg presses and stuff like that in therapy. All of that feels real relative. Yeah, I mean, there's probably some soreness there, but I wouldn't call it pain. It's definitely not 100% cleared up yet. But I'm not so sure that other drivers haven't raced in worse pain than I have over the years.
Q. Kyle, is there a chance you'd get out in the All-Star Race, decide it was more than you thought it was, not continue throughout the season? Or are you fully committed and feeling you're confident and be able to move forward?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, my plan is to obviously get in the car and to do all on-track activity each weekend. I'll admit we'll have Erik Jones on standby in case anything happens or in case I have any issues that I need to come out during any event. That's just a precautionary thing. I plan to be in the entire time.
Q. Specifically what day were you cleared by NASCAR's medical staff being able to come back?
KYLE BUSCH: I was cleared by NASCAR's medical team the same day I sent in my letter for them to review to release me. So that was just yesterday.
See the full transcript on the Kyle Busch Press Conference Transcript page.(5-12-2015)
Toyota intent on keeping Jones around long-term: In a short weekend at Kansas Speedway, Erik Jones has turned a lot of heads in his new job -- a job that could prove to be one-and-done. Jones will make his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start Saturday night behind the wheel of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. And it could well be his only start in the #18, as JGR team driver Kyle Busch could be back in his car as soon as next Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Series race. So far this weekend, Jones has dazzled in the both the Cup and the Camping World Truck Series. In his first Cup start, he qualified 12th for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400, was ninth in the first practice and first in Happy Hour. Not bad for an 18-year-old young man who hails from the sleepy little hamlet of Byron, Mich., population 581.
Of course, once Busch comes back, Jones will lose his Cup ride. But don't worry about his prospects -- the Toyota camp intends to keep Jones in the family for a very long time. In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com, Toyota's racing boss in the United States said the automaker has big plans for Jones. "He's not going anywhere," said David Wilson, the president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A., Toyota's American racing division. "We're going to keep Toyotas underneath him, somehow, some way." Wilson said Jones' run for the Truck Series championship, where he's third in points after Friday night's race, is what Toyota is focusing on this year. In the immediate future, his biggest priority is to win his first national series championship," Wilson told FOXSports.com. "The part that is important to us about that is, OK, whether Erik belongs in a Cup car today full-time or today an XFINITY car full-time, that's secondary. He hasn't gone through a complete season and raced for a championship. There's a certain discipline and mentality that that takes, right? Whereas you jump in a car one weekend and another car the next weekend and it's all about winning. But his day job right now is to win a Camping World Truck Series championship." And from there, the sky is the limit. "We have next year lined out for him," said Wilson. "We're working on the year after that."(FoxSports)(5-9-2015)
Kyle Busch tests late model UPDATE: Following a 10-week absence from a race car, Kyle Busch got behind the wheel of a Late Model last week. Busch, the driver of the #18 M&Ms Toyota, has been sidelined since he sustained injuries to his foot and right leg during an accident in the XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 21. "We have a program for him and we're moving forward with everything - and that was part of it," team owner Joe Gibbs said of Busch's test, prior to the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Gibbs did not recall where Busch tested his Kyle Busch Motorsports car, however, the team was expected to run at nearby Caraway Speedway, a .455-mile track in Asheboro, N.C. or Hickory Speedway. Busch is expected to return to Hickory this week in a KBM Late Model. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said he had not heard whether Busch had been medically cleared to return to competition. Busch met with the media on April 15. At the time, Busch said his doctors had not offered a timetable for his return. Erik Jones is scheduled to drive the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota next week at Kansas Speedway, but speculation is that Busch will be in the car for the All Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 16th. During his media availability, Busch said he hoped to be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Last month, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France told a group of sports editors that depending on when Busch returned "it was more likely than not," that the sanctioning body would attempt to "accomodate" the driver.(Motorsport)(5-4-2015)
UPDATE: Kyle Busch tweeted Monday morning that he will not compete in a Late Model race this weekend despite reports that he was expected to compete in an event at Hickory Motor Speedway. Busch tested a Late Model car Friday as part of his return to racing after being injured in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona.(NBC Sports)(5-4-2015)
Jones says Kansas one race deal in the #18...for now: from a Toyota Racing transcript, Erik Jones, who will run the #18 Toyota at Kansas in the Sprint Cup Series race, was asked a few questions about his first Cup start:
Q) What will your expectations be for the NSCS race at Kansas in the #18 Camry?
Jones: "For me, it's really all seat time and experience. I think keeping our expectations realistic is a pretty big thing for us. If we can go run top-15, I'd feel like that would be a pretty big win for us. It's a big step. We've talked a lot about it. I've talked with Adam Stevens (18 crew chief) a lot about it and kind of what the jump is and talked to Kyle (Busch) about it. It's not going to be an easy step for anybody, but I really believe we can go run top-15 and if we can do that, I think that would be a good day."
Q) Have you had any discussion of the conflict weekends in June with the NCWTS schedule?
Jones: "No, I haven't. For right now, Kansas is the only race I've got in the 18 so beyond that I honestly don't know. Sure, I'd love to run it again. I think it would be fun, but we'll really just have to see how things go. I'm just going to run Kansas, do my deal there, do the best I can and see what happens."
Q) Is Joe Gibbs Racing only telling you about racing Kansas and not beyond?
Jones: "Honestly, just Kansas at this point, that's all I heard. I've seen it too and I saw it 20 minutes ago where it says, 'Until he (Kyle Busch) returns.' Honestly, Kansas is the only one I know of right now."(Toyota Racing)(5-4-2015)
Erik Jones to drive the #18 JGR car starting at Kansas: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced that Erik Jones will fill in for Kyle Busch in the #18 M&M'S Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) starting at Kansas Speedway on May 9, 2015. This will mark the 18-year-old Byron, Michigan native's first official NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start. "I'm pretty excited and grateful for the opportunity to drive the #18 M&M'S Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series and make my debut for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is a really good opportunity for me. We are going to try to manage our expectations and if we can go out and get a top-15 run and gain some experience, that would be a great day for us. I'm also excited about representing M&M'S, a great longtime partner at JGR and such a well-known brand. I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the M&M'S Toyota at Kansas." At Kansas, Jones will be running a special paint scheme highlighting M&M'S support of Red Nose Day on the #18 M&M's Toyota. Mars is proud to be a partner of Red Nose Day, a major charitable event that will be held on May 21, 2015. The M&M'S Brand is one of the world's most beloved chocolate candies and a leader in colorful fun, so it's a natural fit to leverage the M&M'S brand and humor to help raise money through this partnership. M&M'S is bringing Red Nose Day to NASCAR for the first time at Kansas and May 15 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jones currently runs full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for Kyle Busch Motorsports and a partial schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS). Kansas will mark Jones first official Cup Series start, but earlier this season he was able to make laps in the #11 Toyota Camry at Bristol Motor Speedway after Denny Hamlin was unable to continue the race following an extended rain delay. Jones finished the race in the 26th position (which was credited to Hamlin).(JGR)(4-30-2015)
Pedigree featured on the #18 at Talladega; start 300 for Ragan: Sunday's race at Talladega will be the first of two this season with Pedigree as primary sponsor of the #18 Toyota, the other coming in September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. David Ragan, an avid animal lover and dog owner, would like nothing more than to bring the dogs riding along on the Pedigree Toyota back to victory lane at Talladega, a place he's quite familiar with. The Talladega race will coincide with the launch of a new tastier and meatier PEDIGREE Dry Dog Food recipe that delivers the variety that pet parents are looking for. The new recipe is loaded with whole grains and protein accented with vegetables, providing a nutritious and delicious difference that pet parents will see and their dogs will taste. On top of his solid track record and Talladega race win, Ragan will be celebrating a career milestone Sunday regardless of the outcome. He'll be making his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 17th Sprint Cup start at Talladega. Ragan will be filling in for the ninth and final race in the #18 Pedigree Toyota for regular driver Kyle Busch. After Talladega, Ragan will move over to the #55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing (JGR), see images of the car/scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(4-30-2015)
Ragan in the #55 rest of the year, starting at Kansas: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that David Ragan will drive the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine for the remainder of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, beginning May 9 at Kansas Speedway. Brian Vickers had planned to race the Toyota fulltime in 2015, but heart surgery in December forced the Thomasville, N.C., native to miss the first two races of the season. Vickers returned at Las Vegas on March 7, but was sidelined two weeks later by recurring blood clots in his lungs. No timetable has been set for his return.
"Life has thrown a lot at MWR the first part of this racing season, but our team has stood tall and worked through it," said Michael Waltrip. "Our original plans for the #55 team have been challenged since December and we felt it was important for our employees and our sponsors to solidify the remainder of the 2015 season. The opportunity to bring David Ragan into the team is incredible for a number of reasons. He will bring experience, consistency and a lot of confidence based on how he has been running with our Toyota teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing. He also puts the #55 team and Aaron's right back into the Chase for the Sprint Cup contention, which is a very positive turn of events for that team. There is absolutely no question about Brian Vickers' ability, but there remains a question of his availability. We are going to remain very close with Brian while he works on his plan to return. We have told him that MWR is here when he has a clear picture about what the future holds, but we don't need to add any timeline pressures. He is working with a lot of medical advisors and once he has established his plan, we will sit down and discuss next steps. I'm really proud of the incredible job Brett Moffitt has done for us in the 55. He has been a big part of this organization for the last couple of years and he will continue in that role. With the limited number of starts Brett has in this industry, he has proven that he has the talent to be a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and we are still committed to helping him get that opportunity."(MWR)
Front Row Statement: "We are grateful to David Ragan for his contributions to the growth of Front Row Motorsports and his commitment to our partners over the past three years. He led us on our first trip to Victory Lane, and that's a moment we'll never forget. We wish him the best with his new team. As previously announced, Chris Buescher will be the driver of the #34 at Talladega this weekend. We are working on finalizing the driver line-up for races to follow and will announce those plans soon."(Front Row Motorsports)(4-28-2015)
Michael Waltrip in the #55 at Talladega; then Ragan UPDATES: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3. Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, replaces 22-year-old Brett Moffitt who has driven MWR's #55 since the March 22nd race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. "Talladega is a place where I know we will be very competitive," said Waltrip who owns four restrictor plate victories including a Talladega win in the fall of 2003. "This will be my 58th Sprint Cup start at Talladega so believe me when I tell you Talladega is some of the best racing in the world and I'm glad I'll get to be part of it again in the Aaron's Dream Machine." The May 3 and Oct. 25 Talladega races are the only remaining races Waltrip is scheduled to drive this season.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(4-23-2015)
UPDATE: The team is believed to be trying to sign David Ragan to drive the #55 beginning next month at Kansas. Ragan is currently the replacement driver for Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, but JGR is leaning toward putting 18-year-old development driver Erik Jones in the car until Busch returns. That would free Ragan, who has subbed for Busch since the second week of the season. Waltrip wasn't prepared Thursday to discuss anything beyond next week at Talladega. "We're making plans now and we wanted a more long-term solution for the situation by this point, but we just haven't been able to put all the pieces together yet," he said. He also said it's unclear when - or if - Vickers will be back. "I can't answer that," Waltrip said of Vickers, who is in a contract year with the team. "He certainly wants to be back, but he's on thinners. Until he comes up with a long-term solution to that, that challenges us in answering if he'll be back."(Associated Press)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE 2: David Ragan, who entered the season planning to run with Front Row Motorsports, is expected to move to Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Toyota beginning with the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway, multiple sources confirmed to the Observer on Friday. He would replace rookie Brett Moffitt in the #55, who has been filling in most of the team's races since the team's regular driver, Brian Vickers, was sidelined once again with blood clots. Ragan would remain with the team for the rest of the 2015 season, sources said. Saturday's race is expected to be the last for Moffitt with MWR in the Cup series, but the organization remains committed to obtaining sponsorship in order to run him in a third team and he remains under contract with MWR. An official announcement is expected sometime next week, sources said. Ragan's move will require another fill-in driver for JGR in the #18 as Busch is not yet set to return to competition. Sources said JGR will move Xfinity and Truck series driver Erik Jones into the #18 beginning with the Kansas race. An official with Joe Gibbs Racing said "nothing has been confirmed" thus far about any changes to their driver lineup. With Ragan moving to the #55 for the remainder of the season, Front Row Motorsports will need to find a more permanent replacement for Ragan in its #34 Ford. Roush Fenway Racing has been loaning Xfinity driver Chris Buescher to the team when the schedule doesn't disrupt his run for Xfinity Series championship. That arrangement could well continue, with other drivers used when Buscher's schedule doesn't allow double-duty, sources said. A FRM spokesman said at this time, the organization was still expecting Ragan to return to the team whenever his tenure at JGR is completed.(Charlotte Observer)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE 3: If the deal is finalized, Vickers, who announced in March that he would have to miss at least three months while he takes blood thinners to treat blood clots that had developed in his lungs, would be left to find another ride if he is able to return this season, [a] source said. That could include the possibility of MWR fielding a third car, pending sponsorship, after Vickers is ready to return.(ESPN.com)
AND Asked about reports that he would be moving to MWR: "I know I'm going to be in the 18 car for a little while," Ragan said. "This week and Talladega are obviously two very important weeks we're looking forward to. I'm focused on that and I just don't really have any comment.")USA Today)(4-25-2015)
NASCAR was willing to approve Jones at Bristol based on experience: Erik Jones had never turned a lap in the Sprint Cup Series when he became a last-minute replacement driver for Denny Hamlin at Bristol last weekend. Jones was flown in from North Carolina during a lengthy rain delay in Sunday's race when because Hamlin had neck spasms. The 18-year-old arrived 5 minutes before the race resumed, and jumped into Hamlin's car for the remainder of the event. NASCAR had to approve Jones as the replacement driver, something that isn't done until the competitor has at least turned some laps. But in the case of Jones, NASCAR was satisfied he was capable of driving. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said Friday that Jones was approved "based upon his recent experience at the track, and we had just gotten a fresh look at him the day before at Bristol."(Associated Press)(4-25-2015)
France says NASCAR open to Chase spot for Busch: NASCAR chairman Brian France isn't sure if Kyle Busch will be granted a waiver to be part of the championship chase when he returns from injury, but said Thursday the sanctioning body would like to "accommodate" him. He'll miss his ninth race this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, but has indicated he'll return to racing this season. The only way he'd be eligible to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship is if NASCAR grants him a waiver, and he wins a race that would qualify him for the 16-driver field. He'd also have to be inside the top 30 in points. Those are the rules under a Chase system France altered last year. It gives him more flexibility to grant exemptions to drivers who miss races. "Depends on when he comes back of course, but it'll be more likely than not that we're going to try to figure out how to accommodate him, which is the beauty of our playoff system," France said Thursday during a meeting of The Associated Press Sports Editors at the NASCAR offices in Manhattan. "What happened to him was on us," he said. "We'll balance a lot of things at that point when we have to make a decision, but we're inclined to want to figure that out for sure."(Associated Press)(4-23-2015)
Kyle Busch meets with media UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch, injured in an accident during the Daytona XFINITY Series race, met with members of the media at Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday afternoon. Some notes:
• Busch says the accident was the hardest hit of his career.
• He left the racing surface at 176mph and impacted the wall at 90mph.
• The crash was so hard that his helmet and chest hit the steering wheel.
• He says he knew instantly that both legs were broken.
• Busch took the blame for the accident, saying that he was being too greedy trying to win the race.
• Doctors have not given him a timeline to return to racing. They are pleased with his progress and believe he is ahead of schedule.
• He would like to be able to return to racing by Daytona in July, but is not sure that will be possible;
• Busch would like to be Chase eligible upon his return, but believes it could be hard to get to the top 30 in points.
• Busch will need additional surgery. He has one scheduled for December to remove screws and plates in his left foot.
UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch said he does not know when he will get back into a race car but hopes he can return by July as he continues to recover from a broken right leg and a broken left foot suffered in a crash Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, speaking about his injuries at a news conference Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing, said he hit the DIS concrete wall at 90 mph and the g-forces were 90 g's. He said he is healing well and still has a small crack in his right leg as well as a walking boot on his left foot. Kyle Busch suffered a broken right leg and a broken left foot in a Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway. Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images "First and foremost, I have to please my doctors. ... They say my recovery is going faster [than expected]," Busch said about his possible return. "I don't even ask. They won't release me a timetable." Busch said the wreck was his fault, being greedy trying to win the race. He was trying to push teammate Erik Jones, who ended up spinning. While Jones was spinning, he took the air off the rear of Busch's car, sending him into the skid into the wall. NASCAR has made no decision on whether it will waive the rule that a driver must compete each race weekend in order to be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. NASCAR also could waive the rule that requires a driver to be eligible with a win and a top-30 placement in the regular-season standings, although it has not waived that rule when issuing past waivers.(ESPN.com)(4-15-2015)
Gibbs says Jones is "ready to go" to Cup; MWR an option?: With Kyle Busch's return date still undetermined from a broken right leg and broken left foot suffered in a crash in February, Joe Gibbs has talked about putting Erik Jones in Busch's Cup car when he feels it's the right time. Jones' performance in outlasting Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the victory Friday no doubt is encouraging Gibbs to make "the right time" sooner than later, as Jones won in just his ninth Xfinity start. "There's no question that at some point very quick he's going to be in a Cup car some," Gibbs said. "We kind of have a little bit of a strategy there that we've talked about. He's ready to go at any time." Jones is driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports full time in the Camping World Truck Series while also driving as many Xfinity races as possible for JGR that don't conflict with his trucks schedule. Gibbs doesn't have any room to expand his Cup program, as he has the current maximum of four teams and all his drivers are signed through at least 2016. He can run a fifth car for up to seven races for a development driver or loan him to another Cup team. "We know that Erik is on the fast track," Gibbs said. "It's just a matter of when."(ESPN.com)(4-12-2015)
AND If Joe Gibbs Racing cannot find a Sprint Cup ride for Erik Jones, fellow Toyota team owner Rob Kauffman says Michael Waltrip Racing might have a Camry for the 18-year-old phenom. "There are a lot of moving parts, but we would love to figure something out," Kauffman told Motorsports.com prior to Saturday's Duck Commander 500. Kauffman acknowledged he went to Victory Lane last night during Jones' celebration to congratulate Coach Gibbs and Dave Wilson, President and General Manager, Toyota Racing Development. "We have some open seats, potentially. We'd love to expand when it makes sense." Currently MWR runs two teams - the #15 with veteran Clint Bowyer, who is in the first year of the three-year contract and the #55 with Moffitt, who is filling in for Brian Vickers while he recovers from blood clots. "I think Brian's doing better," Kauffman added. "I haven't talked to him in a bit...but right now the important thing is his health."(Motorsport)(4-12-2015)
Ragan would like to be in the #18 until Busch returns: David Ragan accepted a congratulatory handshake and pat from team owner Joe Gibbs and then turned to face the news media with a broad smile. In his fifth start in the #18 Toyota, he finally had a result to justify his contention that the team wasn't struggling as much as it seemed since he took over for injured Kyle Busch. But he persevered to score his first top five since his May 5, 2013 victory at Talladega Superspeedway. Even more importantly, it came after a stretch of four consecutive finishes of 18th or worse since moving into the JGR car on an interim basis from Front Row Motorsports. Ragan said multiple times in postrace interviews that he believed he could win during his stint in Busch's car. There still is no timetable for Busch's return, nor has it been announced when Ragan will return to Front Row. In the wake of Busch's Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Talk has reported the plan was for Ragan to drive nine races before turning Busch's car over to Erik Jones at Kansas Speedway. "It's kind of week by week on how Kyle is feeling," Ragan said. "Certainly that's a Kyle Busch decision and a Coach Gibbs decision. There are probably a lot of different scenarios that could play out. Obviously, I hope I'm in the car until the transition for Kyle comes back. That's what the team and everybody wants. They don't want to have to put a third or fourth or fifth driver in, so hopefully Kyle can heal well, and he'll be back sooner than later, and we would have won a race, and I can go back to Front Row Motorsports and carry a Chase ticket back home. That'd be cool."(NBC Sports)(3-30-2015)
JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs' doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR's headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
Statement from Brian France: "All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We've all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery."(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs addressed the media Sunday morning at Martinsville:
"J.D. at our team meeting earlier this week, he got up and basically he said, 'I know God has a plan and God puts us through things for a reason.' I think J.D. gains his strength from the fact that he has a personal relationship with the Lord and I have to tell you that he's my hero. I kind of watch him and I don't know if anybody has ever dealt with anything as crazy as J.D. does. He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at two and we fought through that for about three or four years. By the way, appreciate all of you all's prayers for Taylor and Taylor's doing great today. Like I said, J.D. through his entire life has probably been the craziest person that I've ever been around or knew. Basically, his situation medically - there's very few answers. We've been dealing with this for about six months and basically what the doctor's say is that they really don't know. J.D. has lived a very active lifestyle. All the things that he's done in his life physically he's loved all sporting events and it's everything from football to snowboarding, racing cars, racing motor bikes - he's lived in a lot of ways for him, he loved all those things. We can't point to any one serious thing that happened to him, certainly any injury is a possibility that led us into some of the symptoms that he's experiencing now.
We've been dealing with this for about six months so as far as the management team for Joe Gibbs Racing, we have a senior management team and most of our people have been in place for the full 24 years - it's amazing really. I think very few people have noticed anything or any difference in the way we operate with the race team. The good thing there is that J.D. and I share the same responsibilities. If I'm not there for a particular reason, J.D. will be there and if J.D. is not there for some reason, I'll be there. As he goes through treatment, he will probably be doing less at the race track because he has a full week that demands quite a bit from him as he goes through treatment. You will probably see less of him at the race track, but he'll be there on a day-to-day basis with the race team and be in all of our meetings and all of the key decisions that we make, J.D.'s going to have a huge impact on that.(Toyota Racing)(3-29-2015)
Pole winner, Gordon, wrecks in Happy Hour at Las Vegas, goes to backup: Polesitter #24-Jeff Gordon couldn't avoid hitting #10-Danica Patrick after she lost control of her car exiting Turn 2 in the closing minute of Happy Hour at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. "Danica spun out and we hit her," Gordon said. "Oh my (expletive) god," replied crew chief Alan Gustafson. "It shouldn't be too bad, just the right front," Gordon said. "Isn't she smart enough to know when (indiscernible) to watch out," Gustafson added. Gordon scored his 79th pole on Friday for the Kobalt 400. He was 14th on the speed chart after posting a lap of 185.306 mph. He was on stickers tires at the time when Patrick lost control of her car. "The right front fender is pretty bad," spotter Eddie D'Hondt said from above the track. "Gosh, darn it."
"We'll have to get a backup," Gustafson concluded. Gordon wasn't alone. David Ragan also had an issue and slapped the right rear of the #18 M&Ms Toyota. "Got in a little too high in the gray stuff," Ragan radioed to the crew. Ragan will also go to a backup car.(Motorsport)
AND Pole-sitter #24-Jeff Gordon will go to a backup car after it was damaged when #10-Danica Patrick's car spun late in Saturday's final practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Patrick spun and Gordon reported damage to his car. Gordon's spokesperson confirmed on Twitter that Gordon will go to a backup car. Gordon will start at the rear of the field because of the move. Gordon raced his backup car last season at Chicago, Charlotte and Texas. He finished second at Chicagoland and Charlotte during the Chase. He was racing for the lead late at Texas before contact with #2-Brad Keselowski saddled Gordon with a 29th-place finish.
Also, #18-David Ragan, driving for the injured Kyle Busch, hit the Turn 2 wall in the final minutes of the practice session. The Joe Gibbs Racing team rolled out a backup car for Ragan.(NBC Sports)(3-7-2015)
Kyle Busch released from hospital: Kyle Busch has been released from a Charlotte, NC, hospital and is home, wife Samantha tweeted, and a Joe Gibbs Racing spokesperson confirmed Friday morning. Busch spent three nights in a Daytona Beach, Fla., hospital after he suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a fractured left foot in last weekend's NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. Busch slammed into an inside wall not protected by a SAFER barrier. He was transferred to North Carolina on Tuesday. He had surgery on his right leg last Saturday and surgery on his left foot Wednesday.(NBC Sports)(2-28-2015)
If Ragan wins, he can get in the Chase: David Ragan doesn't know how long he'll get to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota, but he'll relish every opportunity he can to compete for one of NASCAR's elite teams. Front Row has loaned Ragan to JGR as the replacement for the injured Kyle Busch, who has had surgery on a compound fracture in his right leg and on a broken left foot suffered in a crash Saturday during the Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
JGR officials have not said how long Busch will be out. While no more surgeries are scheduled, Busch must be able to work pedals with both his feet because he likes to brake with his left foot. He remained hospitalized in a Charlotte area hospital Thursday. Ragan will drive the car for the next "several weeks," and JGR officials will re-evaluate the program at some point to see if they want to give development driver Erik Jones a shot. "As far as the length of time Kyle will be out, I don't think anyone really knows that yet," Ragan said Thursday after a test day at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I know for the next several weeks, I'll be in the 18 car. I don't know that we have really a hard time frame on it just yet. There's a lot of moving parts and pieces and certainly it all goes back to how quickly Kyle can heal up and get back driving for them."
If Ragan can win a race, he would be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup as long as he finishes the regular season in the top 30 in the standings. Ragan is expected to have returned to Front Row well before the Chase starts in September, creating a possible windfall for Front Row Motorsports to have a driver in the Chase.(ESPN)
AND Supposedly the plan is for Ragan to drive the car for nine races before Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones would take the wheel of the #18 in the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway. Ragan then would return to the #34.(NBC Sports)(2-27-2015)
Kyle Busch Undergoes Successful Surgery On Left Foot: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), underwent successful surgery this afternoon on his left foot, which was injured in an accident during last Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina. Busch is resting comfortably and will remain hospitalized for observation.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-26-2015)
Ragan to sub for Kyle Busch? UPDATE: #34-David Ragan has been contacted by Joe Gibbs Racing about driving the #18 Toyota while Kyle Busch recovers from a compound fracture in his right leg. JGR is considering a plan that would share the ride between Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones, who is under contract to the team, while Busch recovers from his injury. There is no timetable on the return for Busch, who spent a third consecutive night in a Daytona Beach hospital after being hurt in a Saturday crash during the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona.
Ragan has driven the #34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series the past four seasons. He has two victories in Cup, at Daytona in 2011 for Roush Fenway Racing and at Talladega in 2013 for Front Row. Ragan met with JGR officials Tuesday morning at the team's Huntserville, N.C., headquarters. Team owner Joe Gibbs met Monday morning with Jones, who has four career victories in the truck series, about taking over the No. 18, but there are concerns about how it might impact the 18-year-old's future sponsorship prospects if he struggled in Busch's absence.
Jones races full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the truck series and is running 10 races in the Xfinity Series for JGR. He is a likely candidate to take over Busch's part-time schedule in the #54 Toyota on the Xfinity circuit. Among the plans being considered would be to put Ragan in the #18 for several races and then allow Jones some time behind the wheel after he has more Xfinity and truck experience.
It wasn't clear immediately how Ragan's Ford relationship might be affected, but multiple sources said JGR had received approval from Ford and Roush Fenway Racing to put driver Elliott Sadler in the #18 for the Daytona 500 before electing to run truck series champion Matt Crafton. Requests for comment from Ragan and Front Row Motorsports hadn't been returned Tuesday morning.(NBC Sports)(2-24-2015)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces that David Ragan will fill in for Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch was released this morning from Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL and transferred to a hospital near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina for further treatment. Busch sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. No specific timetable has been announced for Busch's return to the race track. It is expected that Ragan will pilot the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota for at least the next several weeks. Ragan's current race team Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated the move by Ragan and Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season. Additional updates on Busch's condition will be provided as necessary. In addition, JGR announces that Erik Jones will pilot the #54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend in Atlanta. An announcement on who will drive the Monster Energy Camry following Atlanta will be made at a later date.
"We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David's (Ragan) availability," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David's caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers. Erik is a big part of our future at JGR and we will be increasing his schedule in the XFINITY Series beginning this weekend in Atlanta and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience. We appreciate all the support we have received from the NASCAR community including our fans and we look forward to getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible."
"Everyone at Mars is thankful that Kyle is doing well and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery," said William Clements, vice president of sponsorship and sports marketing for Mars Incorporated. "While we can't wait until Kyle returns behind the wheel of the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota, we are excited to work with David and we're pleased JGR was able to work it out for him to step in during Kyle's absence."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-24-2015)
Kyle Busch spends another night in the hospital UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch will spend a third night at Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach, where he is recovering from leg and foot injuries, according to a team spokesman at Joe Gibbs Racing, who said Busch is "resting comfortably."(FoxSports)(2-24-2015)
UPDATE Kyle Busch's wife Samantha tweeted with a pic: Off to NC! Thank u to everyone at Halifax for taking such good care of Kyle! Leaving Daytona.(2-24-2015)
Erik Jones meets with Joe Gibbs about subbing for injured Busch in #18 ride: Erik Jones has emerged as the leading candidate to replace injured Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and is under contract with JGR, met Monday morning with team owner Joe Gibbs to discuss taking over the ride. Busch is out indefinitely after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg in an Xfinity Series crash Saturday at Daytona. JGR could make an announcement on an interim driver as early as Monday afternoon. Jones, 18, is scheduled to run a full truck season for KBM and a 10-race Xfinity schedule for JGR. There are no major scheduling conflicts that would preclude him from driving in NASCAR's premier series until the Martinsville Speedway weekend in late March. The team is expected to receive approval from NASCAR to put Jones in a Sprint Cup car. He wasn't approved for the Daytona 500 as NASCAR typically doesn't allow drivers to make their Cup debut in a restrictor-plate race at Daytona or Talladega without having raced at a lower-tier event at those tracks.(NBC Sports)(2-23-2015)
Crafton finishes 18th in first Cup start: Now that the Daytona 500 is history, and Matt Crafton brought home an 18th-place finish in an emergency relief role for injured Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing will have to turn its attention to the future. Busch suffered a broken right leg and a broken left foot after his #54 Toyota slammed nose-first into a concrete wall inside Turn 1 during Saturday's XFINITY Series race. Unknown at this point is the number of races Busch will miss as he recovers from his injuries. Whether Crafton races again in the #18 Toyota as Busch mends, he's due a vote of thanks from JGR for an excellent effort under exigent circumstances. Crafton flew back down to Daytona on Saturday night and started the Daytona 500 without the chance to run a single practice lap. "Pretty gnarly," Crafton said of the experience. "It was very, very tough, but that's what we get paid to do, drive race cars and figure it out quick. It was a learning curve. The first half (of the race) we just rode around and tried to learn, learn, learn. I made a mistake. I had a pretty good surge up top, and I tried the bottom and shuffled myself all the way to the back. I should have had a little better finish there at the end, but it is what it is."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-23-2015)
First time no Busch's in a Cup race since 2001: At least one of the two Busch (#18-Kyle, #41-Kurt) brothers has raced in every Daytona 500 since 2000. Sunday's event will be the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race without a Busch brother since the 35th race of the 2001 season, at Atlanta.(NASCAR Wire Services)(2-22-2015)
Joe Gibbs Quotes and Notes about Kyle Busch's accident at Daytona: Joe Gibbs, owners of Joe Gibbs Racing and the car of #18-Kyle Busch, who was injured in a wreck at Daytona in the XFINITY Series race on Saturday, met with the media on Sunday morning, February 22, 2015, the transcript:
Joe Gibbs, team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing Opening Statement:
"First of all, I want to say that what really impresses you at a time like this is the NASCAR family. Last night - our drivers are intense competition and all the race teams are intense in competition. Something like this happens, it was just an outpouring of spirit, prayers - we had drivers coming by last night while we were at the hospital. We had NASCAR officials and everybody coming by and certainly I think that's one of the most impressive things about our sport and the way we adjust to things and the way we rally behind people particularly when we have a situation like we had last night with Kyle (Busch). I'd like to address a couple of things with him - I talked to him before surgery and then we waited until after surgery. Kyle, to be quite truthful, was kind of light-hearted and joking around with me and talking about wanting to get back in the car right away before surgery. Afterwards the doctors came in and Sam (Busch, wife) stayed there with Kyle last night and for us, we waited to get a report from the doctor. He said everything went very well. The major portion of what they did yesterday was his lower right leg where the injury was - they took care of that. They're going to wait on his foot - his left foot - and it remains to be seen there what the situation is, but that will probably be taken care of. They said there's not a rush on that and we'll probably be dealing with that in Charlotte with Dr. Anderson. I felt like considering everything that happened last night, I felt like everybody banded together. Certainly, we appreciate all the prayers and I would like to say this, we've been in racing for all the Gibbs family - J.D. (team president) and Coy and everybody -- we've been in racing 24 years and up until this point we've had one driver miss four weeks. I think that says a lot about the safety of the sport and I think yesterday in that wreck, the great thing was that Kyle had nothing from the knees up. Everything was fine and I think NASCAR does a great job of adjusting to things like this and making decisions. I think this will be the same in this case. I know the race track had a press conference yesterday and made some statements about that and I think this is probably one that again will make some good decisions again based on that. NASCAR certainly knows that the most important asset that we have is our drivers and I really applaud the fact that we have had some of the wrecks and everything that we have in sport and yet the safety factor has really been outstanding with some of the improvements that have been made. This will be a learning experience for everybody and I'm sure that the tracks will be a part of that and will probably reach the point with everything to do with the walls and everything -- we'll probably have those protected. I know there's been some decisions made today on that too. I appreciate all that and the way NASCAR handles anything like this. They took our helmet last night, they took the HANS device and they take all those things when we have a wreck like this and do an in-depth study of it. We appreciate that."
Have you thought about drivers past this race and how long will Kyle Busch be out of the car?
"We haven't put thought into other than just today. We were thrilled to get Matt (Crafton) - I should have brought the fact that Matt has driven some of Kyle's stuff. He's a veteran guy and we felt like it was the perfect fit. We sent him over to the race shop last night. He met our person in charge of seats and they sat in all of our cars and he's real comfortable with Kyle's seat. We brought him down last night and he climbed into the car today and he told me, 'everything's perfect.' I appreciate Matt. As far as time or length, I don't have a good understanding of that with the doctors and everything -- I think we're just going to pray for him to bounce back. I can tell you this, Kyle's already telling Sam, he said, 'Hey, I just want to get back to racing.' He has a great spirit about things like that."
Have you determined how many races Kyle could miss and still be eligible for the Chase?
"I really hadn't got into that other than I had a brief conversation last night about it and I'm not even sure that I'm clarified on all the rules and what would take place. I think our focus, we had so much going on last night, it was just to get everything arranged as best we could for today. I'm sure there will be some conversations on that going forward."
Does this incident give you any pause to Kyle racing in the Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series races?
"I think what happens on that, I've dealt with it for different driver and everything. If you take Kyle's situation, let's think about it for a minute, he has his own race team - trucks - loves that, wants to race it, it's a big part of him and Sam and his future so you kind of think about that and you know he's going to be racing some trucks. This year he cut down his schedule quite a bit there. Obviously, I think in Kyle's life, he has Sam and he has racing - he loves it. As a matter of fact, at one point there in his career, we did cut back quite a bit and it was one of the tougher years he had and he comes back to you. I think those conversations are obviously ones that you have, but I felt like in his case he just loves it so much and felt like it was something that really makes his happy, keeps him excited about life and you always wrestle with that. I think that's a little bit of my feelings about our past history with him. Racing is his life and like I said, other than Sam, that's what he wants to do."
Did you communicate the situation to Mars and have you spoken with NASCAR about SAFER barriers at other tracks?
"The thing about that, Mars has been in the sport for 27 years - have a great relationship, they're awesome, everybody, when I talked to everybody that was here - all on board and everybody was there last night. We had Mars people at the hospital and it is a close-knit family and they certainly are a big part of our family and they've been a big part of NASCAR's family. I don't deal with the tracks or anything like that so I haven't had any discussions along those lines. We leave that up to NASCAR."
Will Kyle need additional surgeries and when will he go back to Charlotte?
"As far as medically, I'm obviously not the medical person, but according to the doctor last night, the lower part of his leg is all taken care of and I think we'll have Dr. Anderson and that group look at the foot because they didn't feel that was something that would be dealt with right now. The main emphasis was on his leg. As far as going back to Charlotte, we're on standby with the plane. Whenever he feels that he can travel, we'll get him back to Charlotte."
Will the team owners demand SAFER barriers at all tracks on all walls moving forward?
"I think for me, just kind of the way I stated that we all work together. I think NASCAR does a great job of evaluating things. I think the safety of our cars is evident when you race cars. I think they do a great job with that. The comments I made are pretty much what I think and I think this is obviously - NASCAR realizes our most important thing that we deal with is our drivers. It's a safety issue and I think we've made great progress in the past. To have that kind of wreck yesterday and have him from the knees up be in great shape, I felt great about that. I think we all have concerns of any kind of injury to our drivers."
When will you know how long Kyle could be out of the car?
"I think what will happen there is the doctors, after they have a chance to look at his foot and everything and we get it all squared away, I think they will give us a good opinion. Dr. Anderson deals with, whether it's football or racing or anything so I think he will give us a good opinion of that. As far as sponsor goes, we had conversations all last night. Our Mars representatives were there at the hospital waiting all the way to the bitter end there listening to the doctor and everything. We're just going to make the best decision we can. We felt like today was perfect - you say perfect, but considering the situation we're in, to be able to get Matt (Crafton) down here last night was a big deal for us and to have him in the car - he and Kyle get along great and Kyle was saying to get him in here. Today has been our whole focus so we'll talk more about how long he's going to be out and try to get an evaluation of that and then starting tomorrow we'll talk about what's our best decision for everybody on going forward. I know our emphasis is getting him back as quick as we can. I know that's what Kyle will be wanting to do and we'll have everybody working with him and for him in rehab and everything else to get him back as quick as we can in the car."
What is the personal side of this with your close relationship to Kyle?
"I think what happens when you get in a relationship over a period time, which we've been with our drivers and you develop a close relationship with him and Sam and there is a personally side of that. My whole life has been involved in sports. People ask me about me about my children playing sports and I always said that, 'That's part of life for a lot of people,' and if they weren't playing sports in high school they would probably be riding around in cars and that's not safe either. So I think - you know, you look at that from a personal standpoint to just really care for Kyle, his whole family, mother and dad and so I think you are a lot like family. I look at it that way. I told him last night to be truthful - I told him before surgery that, 'Hey, I love you.' And that's the way we feel about it."
How does Kyle's injury compare to others you've seen in football and racing?
"I think any injury, particularly one that would affect your life and take you away from what you love to do for a period of time - I know we're going to just do everything we can to get Kyle back. And as far as the future, we're probably start thinking about that tomorrow, get a better evaluation from the doctors and what they think on time and then we'll be talking about what we can do there going forward, which will be best everyone concerned."
"Thank you all and appreciate all the prayers - the prayer and all of you. We care so much for our people and our family and the people you're so close to. I think in sports you go through so many things that are the highs and the lows and certainly right now this is a low. We appreciate everyone's prayers and going forward for the family and thank you for the way you guys always rally and you're a big part of our sport - thank you."(Toyota Racing)(2-22-2015)
Statement from Toyota on Kyle Busch Accident: "Kyle Busch is a key member of our Toyota NASCAR family and it goes without saying that everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), U.S.A. has Kyle in their thoughts and prayers. Kyle is as tough a competitor as you'll find in motorsports and I'm confident he'll recover quickly and return to the track with an even greater passion to win. We know fellow Toyota driver Matt Crafton will represent not only Toyota, but Joe Gibbs Racing well in today's Daytona 500." Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A.(Toyota Racing)(2-22-2015)
Kyle Busch injured in XFINITY Series race at Daytona, will NOT race in Daytona 500 UPDATE: Kyle Busch will miss the Daytona 500 with a right leg injury after a hard crash into a concrete wall during an Xfinity Series race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, in obvious pain, had his right leg placed in an air cast before being transported to Halifax Health Medical Center. He was awake and alert at the hospital, Joe Gibbs Racing officials said. He was supposed to start fourth Sunday in the Daytona 500. A replacement driver hasn't yet been named.
The accident occurred when Busch was racing directly behind JGR teammate Erik Jones. Jones got turned and Busch got clipped. Busch's car sped across an area of the track used as an entrance to the road course portion of the speedway and then slammed hard into a concrete wall. Busch climbed out of the car before laying down on the grass near his car. The wall did not have a steel-and-foam energy-reduction barrier (SAFER), which NASCAR has had installed in the turns and other areas at tracks but has consistently been criticized for not having everywhere on the inside and outside walls on ovals.
If Busch cannot start Sunday's Daytona 500, he would not be awarded any points. NASCAR, which requires drivers to compete each week to be eligible for its season-long championship, would have to grant Busch an exemption to not start a race he qualified for as well as to miss any future events and still be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(ESPN)
AND #18-Kyle Busch will miss Sunday's Daytona 500 following a hard crash in the closing laps of Saturday's Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch was caught up in a 10-car crash near the end of the frontstretch on Lap 112 of the 120-lap event, his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota careening head-on into a section of infield wall that had no SAFER barrier. After the crash, Busch was transported directly to Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach. Medical updates are pending. He is being evaluated for injuries to his right leg. Joe Gibbs Racing has not named Busch's replacement or indicated how long he will be out (FoxSports)(2-21-2015)
UPDATE: Matt Crafton will replace Kyle Busch in the Daytona 500, a person familiar with the arrangement told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. Crafton, the Camping World Truck Series champion, went to Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday night to get fitted for a seat in the #18 car. The team thought of using Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones, but NASCAR overruled it based on his inexperience in a Cup car. Busch and Crafton are not only both Toyota drivers, but also close friends. Crafton was a groomsman in Busch's wedding.(USA Today)
Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. Busch was transported to a local hospital for treatment immediately following the accident and is currently undergoing surgery on his right leg. Busch's injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Veteran Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch's #18 Toyota during Sunday's 57th Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for the following race March 1 at Atlanta or for any future races. Additional updates will be provided as needed.(JGR).(2-21-2015)
Kyle Busch Undergoes Successful Surgery Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), underwent successful surgery tonight to repair a compound fracture to his lower right leg suffered earlier today during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch is resting comfortable and will remain hospitalized for observation. There will be no additional updates tonight. Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs is scheduled to address the media at 9:20am/et in the media center at Daytona International Speedway.(JGR)(2-21-2015)
Crispy M&M's to return, featured on #18 in 2015: For Kyle Busch and M&M's Crispy, 2015 is the year of the comeback. In January, Busch's primary backer M&M's listened to the fans and launched the highly anticipated return of M&M's Crispy. Just one month later, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fans are also looking forward to another highly anticipated return - the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, which kicks off with Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and culminates Feb. 22 with the 57th Daytona 500. To celebrate the return of M&M's Crispy, Busch's colorful #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will introduce a new green paint scheme celebrating the return of Busch's favorite M&M's candy. While 2015 is about the celebration of the return of M&M's Crispy, there are also some exciting new elements for Busch and his teammates that have them looking forward to a return to success for the #18 M&M's Crispy team. The biggest of the new additions is the promotion of crew chief Adam Stevens from the JGR XFINITY Series shop to new crew chief for Busch's and the M&M's Crispy team's championship efforts in 2015. While Busch and Stevens will work together for the first time in NASCAR's top series in 2015, the driver-crew chief duo already knows its way to victory lane. In fact, Busch and Stevens have combined for 19 wins, 46 top-five finishes, and 47 top-10s in 52 XFINITY Series starts together over the last two seasons. One other exciting addition to the team, approximately mid-May, is the expected arrival of Busch's wife Samantha's first child, a son, who is due around NASCAR's annual stop at Charlotte.(JGR). See an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2015)
Kyle Busch tired of being confused with brother Kurt: #18-Kyle Busch said Monday he has not gotten involved in his older brother's personal issues and is disappointed he has been mistaken for Kurt in coverage of assault allegations against the 2004 NASCAR champion. #41-Kurt Busch spent four days over the last two months in a Delaware courtroom as part of a hearing regarding an ex-girlfriend's request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll alleged Busch assaulted her in September during an argument at Dover International Speedway. "Haven't spoken to him, don't know nothing; trying to stay away from it all and let him handle his business," Kyle Busch said. But he's been dragged into it as the case drew national attention earlier this month when Kurt Busch testified he believes Driscoll is a trained assassin. In several instances, Kyle has been wrongly identified as his brother. "I think it's stupid. I think people need to do a little bit more background before they write names or say names if they don't know what the heck they are talking about," Kyle said. "It's not that hard to differentiate between two people that have the same last name. I think people need to do a better job and not be so slackish. It hasn't been bothersome from a sponsorship standpoint, yet, that I know of. I know it could be if it continues to keep going, but it's the wrong brother. But I think the relationship I have with the Mars family is far beyond that, hopefully."(ESPN/AP)(1-27-2015)
Jack Men changes so far in 2015 season: There are a lot of teams making moves in the off season and the Jack Man position seems to be one that is getting a lot of attention. Below is a list of changes for 2015 with more to come.
#5 of HMS replaces Jack Man Trey Burklin with long time HMS Jack Man Eric Ludwig
#9 of RPM replaces Kevin Wing with Gabe Martin from the #10 team
#10 of SHR-We arn't sure about this but we heard Tony Cardamone will be replacing Gabe Martin who is now at the #9
#18 of JGR replacing retired Jeff Fender with David Odell from the #78
#19 of JGR has hired Trey Burklin from the #5
#27 of RCR replacing Carey Wimbish with Sam Abney
#42 of GR is replacing long time Jack Man Mark Jacobs with Mark Janssen
#43 of RPM is replacing Mike Brown with T.J. Ford from the #48
#78 of Furniture Row is replacing David Odell-who left for the #18- with Carey Wimbish from the #27.(Pit Talks)(1-6-2015)
Kyle Busch Undergoes Scheduled Offseason Foot Surgery: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) had successful surgery on his left foot this morning. Busch is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2015 NASCAR season in February. The scheduled offseason surgery was performed to relieve a recurring source of inflammation in his left foot. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina.(JGR)(12-11-2014)
New #18 crew chief talks about jump to Sprint Cup: While new #18 crew chief Adam Stevens will be making his Sprint Cup debut in 2015, he's a very familiar face to the driver he'll be working with: Kyle Busch. Stevens has collected 31 wins as a crew chief for JGR's NASCAR XFINITY Series program over the last four years. 19 of them have come over the last two seasons alone from working with Busch; after racking up a staggering 12 wins together in 2013, the duo followed up with seven more this past year. In an interview today on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Stevens touched on how he and Busch quickly became a successful pair. "Kyle and I, we have a little bit of history now of building some communication and some success behind us," he said. "The cool thing about him and I is we look at race cars the same way, and immediately when we started working together, his feedback and what I'm thinking and how I think race cars work just seemed to mesh really well. And in our brief history [together], it's added up to quite a few wins. We're hoping to see if we can carry some of that into the Cup Series. There are certain aspects of the race that will make it a little bit more easier, comparatively. But the [Cup] races as a whole - being so much longer, the track conditions, and the preferred line and handling conditions you're fighting - tend to change a lot more through the race. You're trading one set of problems - managing your tire sets - for another set of problems, which is managing changing track conditions."(NBC Sports)(12-6-2014)
Todd Berrier joins Joe Gibbs Racing: Todd Berrier has joined Joe Gibbs Racing. The veteran crew chief started his new job on Monday and is expected to transition into Jimmy Makar's role. Makar, who has been with JGR since its inception in 1992 as Dale Jarrett's crew chief, is currently the senior vice president of racing operations. JGR president J.D. Gibbs confirmed Berrier's hiring on Thursday but was not certain of his title. Berrier was most recently the crew chief for Furniture Row Racing and the #78 Chevy but transitioned out of his role over the last year. Berrier honed his crew chief skills at Richard Childress Racing starting with truck in 1997. He led Kevin Harvick to the Nationwide Series title in 2001 before graduating to Cup full-time in 2002. Berrier has four Chase appearances, eight Cup wins, six Nationwide Series wins and four truck victories.(Motorsport)(12-5-2014)
Joe Gibbs Racing Announces 2015 Crew Chief Lineup: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced crew chief assignments for each of its four 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams.
JGR's 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief lineup:
Jason Ratcliff, #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth
Dave Rogers, #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
Darian Grubb, #19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards
Adam Stevens, #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch
(Rogers moves from #18 Cup team, Grubb moves from #11 Cup team, Stevens moves up from JGR's NNS team)
JGR's 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Crew Chief lineup:
Eric Phillips, #18 Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez
Chris Gayle, #54 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
Mike Wheeler, #20 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
"With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Like Jason and Dave previously, Adam (Stevens) has clearly proven that he is ready to move into the Cup Series and we feel that his familiarity with Kyle (Busch) provides the opportunity for us to make that move now. We think pairing Dave (Rogers) with Denny (Hamlin) and Darian (Grubb) with Carl (Edwards) will also make each team stronger heading into next season. Jason (Ratcliff) and Matt (Kenseth) came together quickly and we felt it was in the best interest of the 20 team to keep it as is.
Stevens joins the Sprint Cup Series after spending the previous four seasons as a crew chief in JGR's NASCAR Nationwide Series. Over that time, Stevens has been a part of 31 wins, 73 top-five and 95 top-ten finishes in 124 starts.
"The XFINITY Series has been very important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only from a driver development standpoint, but also in the development of crew chiefs and other team members that eventually make their way into our Cup programs. Mike Wheeler has been a vital part of our success with Denny on the Cup side and we're excited that he will have a chance to be a crew chief. It is a similar transition to the one we made with Chris Gayle a couple of years ago, and Chris will remain with us, but move over to the 54 Toyota with Kyle. We're also excited to have Eric Phillips join our operations from KBM to work with Daniel Suarez next season."
Mike Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the #11 Cup team since that team's formation in 2005. He will now serve as crew chief on the #20 XFINITY team which will run a full season with multiple drivers. Gayle, who has served as the crew chief on JGR's #11 Nationwide Series team the previous two seasons and was an engineer on JGR's #18 Sprint Cup Series team prior to that, will now lead the organization's #54 XFINITY Series team. Eric Phillips joins JGR from Kyle Busch Motorsports where he served as crew chief for the NASCAR Camping World Series Owner's Championship #51 Tundra team. Phillips, who joined KBM in 2010, will work with Daniel Suarez on the #18 XFINITY Series team in 2015.(JGR)(12-4-2014)
New look for the M&M car in 2015: Kyle Busch goes green in 2015 as the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota Camry will take the track for 24 races next season, starting with the Daytona 500 (JGR), see an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(12-3-2014)
Kyle Busch says JGR needs an affiliation: #18-Kyle Busch says that Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing need to work more closely together if they are to compete against the Hendrick Motorsports-Stewart Haas Racing conglomeration and other teams next season. While Busch's teammate, #11-Denny Hamlin, raced for the championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, there was a disparity in victories among the Toyota teams and others, including Stewart-Haas Racing, which won the championship with #4-Kevin Harvick. "We have four cars going next year and in reality we should have six, no ifs, ands, or buts,'' Busch said Monday, alluding to the addition of #19-Carl Edwards to JGR, which gives that organization four teams, and MWR's two teams. "We need to have as much as we can have.'' Busch views Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing as one eight-car entity. Stewart-Haas Racing receives chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports and shares information. "We need to have an affiliation,'' Busch said during a luncheon before Monday night's Nationwide and Camping World Truck banquet. "It would be nice if MWR ... made us all eight. It would be better for all of us. There's a couple of reasons that we're fighting internally why we're not mingling with those guys quite yet, but hopefully that gets resolved here soon.'' Busch described the information shared between Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing as "informal. It's like ... "Hey we're running these four springs and bars and shocks,' but in reality what's your pivots, what's this, what's that, what's everything else?'' Busch said that aero information from a wind tunnel is shared among the two teams but other areas of information doesn't transfer as well. Busch noted that the two teams have different chassis simulation programs.(in part from MRN)(11-18-2014)
Some #18 2015 Toyota images posted: Toyota Racing posted a few images on their Twitter of the #18 M&M's 2015 Toyota Camry that was shown at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov 4th. See images of the car on the 2015 #18 Team Schemes page.(11-4-2014)
Congrats to Kyle & Samantha Busch: #18-Kyle Busch and wife Samantha announced on Twitter Saturday that Samantha is pregnant and expecting the couple's first child in May 2015.(10-18-2014)
2015 team sponsorships coming together: Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and #15-Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins. Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Joey Logano, #4-Kevin Harvick, #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. "It's certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team," said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier. "I think the climate is getting better," Newmark said. "It's not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing." Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors. See more team-by team info at Motor Racing Network and check out the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team / Driver Chart.(10-16-2014)
Mars renews with Gibbs, Busch, NASCAR: Mars announced that it has signed new multi-year deals with Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR, further anchoring its presence in the sport. The new agreement with JGR will extend the winning partnership that has brought the #18 M&M'S Toyota to victory lane 20 times since 2008 and continue with the popular M&M'S brand as the primary paint scheme in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The renewed contract with the sanctioning body will designate Mars as the Official Chocolate of NASCAR. Mars will continue to leverage its Official status to ensure its various chocolate brands remain a race day staple for millions of racing fans.(True Speed Communications)(8-13-2014)
Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE: A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
"With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)
#18 Hauler driver wins Charlotte event: Jamie Price, #18 Joe Gibbs Racing, won the Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge in the NASCAR Chicane #1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More info at pfjtruckchallenge.com.(5-21-2014)
Kyle Busch cited for speeding: #18-Kyle Busch was issued a speeding citation on April 29 in Denver, NC on suspicion of traveling 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. According to the police report, the stop happened in front of Beach's Grocery. Busch said he thought the speed limit was 55 mph. The officer commented in the police report that Busch had a "disrespectful attitude." He was driving a Lexus sedan when he was stopped around 7:45 pm. This is not Busch's first documented driving incident. In 2006, he was ticketed for reckless driving after he "chirped" his tires while pulling out of a Richmond, Va., gas station and into a fast-food restaurant next door. Busch was cited for careless and reckless driving and speeding in 2011 when he was stopped in Iredell County for going 128 mph in a 45 mph zone.(WWOC)(5-5-2014)
Busches raise money for 'champions': Just after her husband clinched the pole for Friday night's Dollar General 300, Samantha Busch stepped in front of a hospitality tent full of breast cancer patients and their families to give them a little bit of good news. And it didn't have a thing to do with racing. "I want you to know that your medical bills are covered," Busch said, presenting a check for $80,000 as she wiped away tears. One by one the breast cancer champions (the preferred term by the foundation) came up to hug Busch, pick up a bright pink bag of goodies, and share stories with the woman who spearheaded the fundraising effort that will help them fight for their lives. "Breast cancer touches everybody; it's somebody's sister or wife or mother or aunt," Busch said. "For us it's a wonderful employee at KBM who's a survivor. It's wonderful to hear the stories and know that we're making a difference in their lives." The Pretty In Pink Foundation exists to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients in North Carolina with quality, life-saving medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay. It was those qualities that drew the Busch family to this local organization. "These 12 champions have come from Charlotte and right around here - they're neighbors," Busch said. "We knew we had to help them so that the only thing they had to focus on was getting better. Kyle Busch couldn't be at the presentation because of his on-track duties, but he made sure to mention the effort after his pole-winning run. "Samantha has done a wonderful job with all of our Pretty In Pink Foundation people that are here," Busch said. "We raised a lot of money for them this week. This is just the first part of it."(CMS Pit Note)(10-13-2013)
Joe Gibbs Racing Launches Chase Digital Magazine: Joe Gibbs Racing currently holds the first and second position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship standings, and now fans will have a unique way to follow the team over the next nine weeks with the launch of a new digital magazine. The magazine will be available on both Apple and Android devices including tablets. It will be available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and accessed through the following direct link: www.joegibbsracing.com/chaseapp. The magazine, which will be updated throughout the Chase and through the conclusion of the season, will feature profiles on each of Joe Gibbs Racing's three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The digital magazine will be informative for all NASCAR fans and not just those passionate about JGR's three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. It includes educational pieces that provide in-depth and interactive aspects of the sport including the importance of camber and toe to the performance of a race car. In addition, there is an infographic on each of the race tracks featured in the Chase. Of course there is plenty of information specific to JGR, including photo essays, video profiles of each driver, a feature on driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. and statistical analysis of each driver.(JGR)(9-20-2013)
Joe Gibbs Racing Partners with Pit Crew U: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that it has partnered with Pit Crew U, a division of Performance Instruction & Training, on a pit crew development program designed to keep a flow of talent coming to the organization for years to come. "It certainly is no secret how important pit crews have become in our sport especially with track position playing such a vital role in each race," said J.D. Gibbs, President of JGR. "We've always believed in developing our own talent through our driver program and our Nationwide Series program, which has seen many team members, including crew chiefs, make the step to the Sprint Cup Series. We're excited to partner with Pit Crew U now to make sure we have a consistent flow of over the wall talent coming to JGR in the years to come." Pit Crew U has produced some of the best over-the-wall talent in NASCAR with several of JGR's current Sprint Cup Series pit crew members having come out of their program. JGR will work with Pit Crew U to identify 10 talented athletes to form a development squad for their racing programs with the intent to eventually fill the organization's needs in their Nationwide Series programs and ultimately the Sprint Cup Series.(JGR)(8-15-2013)
Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Agree to Contract Extension: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today that it has signed driver Kyle Busch to a long-term contract extension. In addition, JGR will field the #54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013 with Busch serving as the primary driver.
"I'm passionate about winning and that was a big factor in deciding to re-sign with Joe Gibbs Racing," said Busch. "I think JGR gives me the best opportunity to win a championship in the Cup Series for M&M's and Interstate Batteries. I know that everyone on our team is committed to that goal and will push towards making that a reality in 2013. I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to work with Adam Stevens in the Nationwide Series and put Monster Energy in Victory Lane where they belong. "I'm extremely proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time at KBM in both the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series. When we started KBM our attention was to build something for the long term and now we are going to put a greater focus on our future with Parker (Kligerman) competing in Nationwide and Joey (Coulter) running trucks."
The #54 Monster Energy Toyota will run a full season schedule for JGR with crew chief Adam Stevens calling the shots from atop the pit box. Busch is currently scheduled to drive the majority of the races in 2013. Additional drivers for the 54 team will be announced soon. "This is a big deal for us," said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. "It's no secret that you have to have great drivers to win in NASCAR and in the past year we've been able to secure long-term deals with Kyle and Denny and of course we were able to add Matt as well. Kyle is a big part of our success at JGR and we're thrilled to know he will be with us for a long time."(JGR)(1-24-2013)
Kansas City, KS
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, October 17, 2015, 2:00 pm/et
TV: NBCSN 2:00pm/et
Born in OCTOBER
13 John Kernan, Michael Ehert, Tim Sauter, David Ifft
14 Jason Jarrett
15 Chris Economaki, Red Farmer, Eddie Gossage, Chad McCumbee, Aaron Johnston, Roland Wlodyka, Gober Sosebee
16 Mark Petty, Mae Beaty, Tim Packman
17 Chocolate Myers, Doug Randolph, Tommy Kendall, Jarrod Breeze, Mark Beard
18 Edward Adamczyk Sr, Jerry Bonkowski, Bart Creasman, Billy Myers
19 Tom Wilsey, Mark Dyer, Lisa Price, Brad Daugherty, Leslie Britton, Brian Rose, Greg Cindric
20 John Kosner. Fred Wanke, Todd Gordon, Wally McCarty, Clifford Allison
21 Bob Jeffrey, Pete Wright, David Gebhardt
22 Ed Dybalski, George Gillett Jr., Milan Garrett, Rick Benjamin, John Graham, Adam Davis
23 Humpy Wheeler, Larry Hartle
24 Dave Blaney, Jim France, Brian Vickers, Tracy Leslie, Jeff Price, Bill O'Dea, Andrew Turner, Patrick Lawler
25 Mike Hofmann, House, Ward Burton, Jon Wood, Taylor Lane Stricklin, Maggie Martin, Eric Maycroft
26 Jimmy Pardue
27 Anne B. France, Robin Miller, Dick Trickle, Tommy Baldwin Jr., Butch Hylton, Richard Brickhouse, Michael Lance
28 Joe Ruttman, Deborah Renshaw, Krissie Newman
29 Teresa Earnhardt, Chris Buescher, Billy Woodruff, Steadman Marlin, Joseph "Papa Joe" Hendrick, Bob Dotter, Roseanne Adamczyk, Nicole Belber, Sandy Adamczyk
30 Linda Rudd, Al Pearce, Tony Bettenhausen Jr.
31 Rodger Brane, Mike Casto, Kip Childress
Born in NOVEMBER:
1 Jay Adamczyk, Joshua Marco, Doug Ingerson, Eric Vance, Larry Flynt
2 Larry Pearson
3 Derrike Cope, Tony Gibson, Bryan Mullett, Steve O'Donnell, Greg Sacks
4 Jason Bowles, Charley Pressley, Destinee Zastrow, Boone Stutz
5 Elton Sawyer Jr., Doug George
6 Bryan Reffner, Clay Rogers. Rodney Orr
7 Judy Allison, Gilbert "Pops" Gentle, Andy Houston, Dick May, Matthew Bodine, Lindsay Czarniak
8 Jason Burdett, Ed Berrier, Jim Inglebright, Teri MacDonald, John Bisci, Donny Lia, Ingrid Vandebosch, Joey Elliott
9 Rick Carelli, Nancy Sterling, Bill Kimm, John Holman, Ed Otto
10 U.S. Marines , Britt Goodrich
11 Mike Hembree, Barry Bodine, Chris Horn, Rob Morgan, Loni Richardson
12 Ryan Buscaglio, Tom Ehret, Wally Dallenbach Sr., Larry Hedrick, Gene Haas
13 Drew Blickensderfer, Karen Friddell, Katie Wallace, Tim Kuhn, Jeff Hallowell
15 Gene Haas, H.B. Bailey, Steve Lane