NASCAR Notebook: Busch returns to truck at Kentucky
The NASCAR notebook …
With NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series taking the week off, Kyle Busch will stay busy, getting back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota for the Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.
Busch, who has two wins and six top-10 finishes in 10 starts for Ballew this season, was last behind the wheel of the No. 41 Tundra in June at Michigan, where he finished seventh.
The 23-year-old driver, whose Cup and Nationwide rides are with Joe Gibbs Racing, has racked up 14 victories overall this season ó including seven in Cup and five in Nationwide. And, coming off a sweep of the Nationwide and Cup races last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Busch can hardly wait to get back on track ó whatever the ride.
“I’ve never raced a truck at Kentucky,” the youngster said. “Kentucky is one of my favorite places. It’s always a lot of fun. I’ve raced Nationwide cars and won there, and I’ve won in the ARCA car there. Hopefully, our Cup test there last week helped me get a better sense and feel for the place and what I can learn there for the truck. I’m kind of itching to get back into the truck series.”
And that won’t be his only on-track activity this week.
He was scheduled to drive a Super Late Model entry on Tuesday night at Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin and at Iowa Speedway on Sunday.
“It’s not exhausting,” Busch said. “I am a racer and I enjoy doing it. We have a lot of fun in the Late Models and having the weekend off in the Cup Series just gives us an opportunity to go to a couple local tracks and have some fun.”
But the main objective is to get Ballew another victory.
“I want to keep Billy up front, and no one else can do it,” said Busch, who has shared the truck ride this year with Shane Sieg. “I think it’s cool that as long as he’s been in the sport, he’s finally got a chance to win a championship, and I want to help him keep that alive. He’s been around so long and he’s never had a full-time driver capable of winning him a championship. I’d like to be the one to do it for him.”
OBIT: Steve Peterson, one of NASCAR’s key officials, a veteran engineer whose work in safety areas the past 10 years have made stock-car racing safer than it’s ever been, died unexpectedly Tuesday at his Concord home, at 58, apparently of natural causes.
Peterson, who first came to prominence in the sport as Mark Martin’s crew chief on the Cup tour in 1982, was one of the sport’s first top race-team engineers. He was a graduate of Western Michigan.
Peterson joined NASCAR in 1995 and was key in the development of safer stock cars and in the development of the soft walls that have made such a difference in the sport.
Mike Helton, the NASCAR president, called Peterson “a tireless worker and passionate about all aspects of safety, the car, the track and the driver.
“Steve was our ‘R&D effort’ long before there was a formal one. His accomplishments were recognized in motorsports worldwide.”
Peterson was honored in 2006 with the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Motorsports Achievement Award, for his contribution to motorsports.
TAKE A RIDE: If it’s Wednesday, then Kyle Petty and the ride must be on the back roads between Lexington, Kentucky, and White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
It’s the 14th annual summer charity motorcycle ride for Petty and a couple hundred of his close biker buddies, who will cruise through the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman on Thursday, during the stock-car tour’s last off week of the season.
FILL UP? With gas prices apparently having an increasing impact on NASCAR crowds, Watkins Glen and NASCAR sponsor Sunoco will give fans $20 gas cards for next month’s Sprint Cup tour race.