Kyle Busch addressed the media on Monday as part of Joe Gibbs racing’s stop on the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour, revealing his plans to run fifteen Nationwide Series races and skip the Camping World Truck Series altogether. It’s not that Busch, who won the 2009 Nationwide Series title while also racing full time in the Sprint Cup Series, wants to curb his on-track fun. But as a team owner, Busch realizes that he has other things to consider.
Busch will test the waters of the Nationwide Series for the first time this year as a car owner, splitting the driving duties with his older brother Kurt. But he will not race in the Camping World Truck Series at all, choosing instead to let Jason Leffler pilot the No. 18 truck for 14 of 22 races. Drivers and sponsors for the remaining eight races have yet to be determined, but it won’t be Busch.
His reason, though a marked departure from previous years in which Busch ran as many races as he could, often to the dismay of race fans, is simple: Busch can be a team owner long after his driving days are behind him. But that won’t work if the sponsors expect Busch to be behind the wheel.
“This is a year for growth,” Busch told the assembled media on Monday. “Dollar general is good with having Jason Leffler as their driver. For me, I’ve always wanted to build Kyle Busch Motorsports into a place that doesn’t need Kyle Busch to sustain itself. That’s where I want to grow; that’s where I want to be with it. I haven’t been able to get to that point yet. The sponsors haven’t stepped in and said, ‘hey, we want to try somebody else behind the wheel,’ which I’m all for.”
Busch added that he will miss running in the trucks, the series where he ran with the name “Rowdy” on the door, but that he knows it’s for the best. “I’m definitely going to miss it. I’ve had a great time over there, running against the other competitors and winning, and getting recognition for the sponsors that we have. I think that’s been great over the last two years that we’ve done it, and unfortunately, I’m going to take a step back this season and not run it, to allow Kyle Busch Motorsports to develop into something that can sustain itself without me behind the wheel all the time.”