KBM Result Not as Anticipated at Cornfield Event
Date: August 4, 2012
Event: U.S. Cellular 250 Presented By Enlist Weed Control System
(Race 20 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Nationwide Series
Location: Iowa Speedway in Newton (.875-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 15th/ 18th (Running, completed 249 of 250 laps)
Winner: Elliott Sadler of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Upon their return to the cornfields of Iowa, the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team and driver Kurt Busch had high expectations for a good result. Earlier in the season, the young team tackled the short track for the first time, with the older Busch brother and finished fifth. With a winning chassis underneath them, and a driver that had seen the track once before, the crew felt confident about a strong run. Busch started Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race from the 15th position, reaching as high as second and often running lap times faster than the race leaders. With seven laps to go, however, a blown right-front tire forced the Monster Energy team to visit pit road while event laps expired. The No. 54 team finished one-lap down to the field, in the18th position.
Within 10 laps of the green-flag drop, Busch had worked his way inside the top-10 to ninth, complaining only of a 'tight exit' car condition. Crew chief Mike Beam assured the champion driver that changes would be made on the first visit to pit road. A competition caution waved on lap 50 and the Monster Energy machine hit pit road. Due to several changes made to the vehicle, the team's pit stop was longer than normal, losing the group three spots upon track return.
A green-flag restart on lap 55 scored the black machine 10th, and within one lap Busch had regained the spots lost from the previous pit stop. The second yellow-flag showed on lap 89 and teams visited pit road once more. While most competitors chose to take only two fresh Goodyear tires, the No. 54 team, along with race leaders, took advantage of replacing four tires. Again, losing time on pit road for the added maintenance, the KBM team restarted 11th on lap 95 of the 250-lap event.
Needless to say, the pit road changes worked and by lap 127 Busch had wheeled his Toyota machine to sixth place. "Whooee, I'm having fun," Busch exclaimed on the radio. "The left rear needs help," he continued, with direction to consider for the next pit stop. By lap 144 Busch was third and remained there until the third and final caution flag waved on lap 172.
For the third time of the event, Busch brought his Camry onto pit road and the team replenished it with Sunoco fuel and new Goodyear tires, this time with some air pressure adjustments. The pit stop time was fast and it helped Busch gain one position through the exchange. The Monster Energy car restarted second on lap 178, behind leader Justin Allgaier. Over the next 30 laps, the Las Vegas native would battle to maintain the second spot, fighting the No. 2 car of eventual race winner Elliott Sadler.
Lap times were key at this point, showcasing the KBM car's ability to run for a win, with faster speed than race leaders. Beam relayed lap times to his driver over the radio, confirming the machine's ability. With laps winding down in the event, the Toyota team started to settle in for a third-place finish, when on lap 243 Busch exclaimed a tire had gone down. One lap later under green race conditions, Busch brought his car to the pit area one final time. The tire was replaced and the team returned to the race track to complete the event, although scored one-lap down and out of time, the KBM group settled for an 18th-place finish.
Sadler recorded his first win at Iowa Speedway, notching his fourth victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year and ninth of his career. Allgaier finished in the second-finishing spot while Sam Hornish Jr., Michael Annett and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the top-five finishers. There were three caution periods for 16 laps of the race along with six lead changes across four drivers.
The No. 54 Monster Energy team remains eleventh in the Owner's Point standings, 146 points from the leader.
The Nationwide Series continues action Aug. 11 from Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The television broadcast will start at 2pm EST on ABC and at 2:14pm EST on the MRN radio broadcast. Kyle Busch will make his 12th start of the season behind the wheel of the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.