Pre-Race: Chicagoland

Return to Chicagoland

Posted September 11, 2012

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2012) – Kyle Busch will make his 16th start behind the wheel of the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Toyota this week at a track where he has won twice in eight starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Busch is eager to tackle the 1.5-mile intermediate-size Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill for the second time this season. The Monster Energy team is coming off a strong run last week at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, where fellow driver Kurt Busch led the field for 25 laps late in the event. A final event caution unfortunately bunched up the field, and forced the elder Monster Energy NASCAR driver to fight traffic at the end in order to salvage a third-place finish. The positive run was enough to keep this team energized, though, going into week 26 of their 33-event season.

In July, a fast No. 54 race car topped the field several times during practice and team owner-driver Busch yielded a fourth-place qualifying spot. Car conditions changed quickly, however, for the veteran driver and his first-year team, as they were unable to find their sweet spot during the Chicago competition. That, coupled with a late-race accident, relinquished the young team to a 27th-place finish, eight laps down, their fourth DNF of the season.

KBM and the No. 54 crew look forward to another opportunity to change the end result and continue to improve their intermediate-track program. Busch, after all, has five wins in 18 races at the mid-west facility, across NASCAR’s three premiere series. In his time at Chicagoland in the Nationwide Series, he also holds the record for most laps led (397). Not a stranger to being competitive and leading in the ‘windy city,’ Busch is eager for Saturday’s Chicagoland return as he continues to seek that first victory with his team, as the owner and driver of the No.54 machine.

Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:

You weren’t able to finish the way you wanted to at Chicago earlier this year--do you look forward to another chance?

“I look forward to tackling it again with Mike (Beam, crew chief). We missed a little on the car changes during the last race, and then got into trouble there at the end of the race. I know the car is fast – we had a good run with it at Charlotte. I think it will be good again, we just have to stay on top of the changes needed. Chicago is one of those bumpy tracks, as far as 1.5-mile tracks are concerned, but we’ll take the notes we had and improve on them.”

Mike Beam, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NASCAR Nationwide Series Monster Energy Camry:

How will the second Chicago race be different for you guys?

“Well, hopefully it’s different. Last race we started top-five but didn’t get to run the way we wanted. We are going back to Chicago this week with the same car, chassis #008, but it’s a lot better car then we had the first race aero wise, so I expect better results. Kyle is in the car and he does such a great job. I hope we can give him what he needs this time around to get the job done.”

Will the track be much different now than in the heat of the July event?

“We will have to manage our practice sessions very well to be competitive, because of the tire drop off. This race track has become worn out, it is slick. There’s no grip but it’s a great place to race.”

Kyle Busch’s No. 54 Monster Energy Camry:

Chassis KBM-008: KBM will unload car #008, first raced at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in April, when Kurt Busch suffered engine problems and finished 30th. The car then competed at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway where Kyle Busch finished third, and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where Kurt Busch finished in second place. The backup machine is Chassis KBM-007, regularly traveled as a second team car.

Notes of Interest:

>Crew Chief Mike Beam’s Chicagoland Speedway statistics include six races, zero wins, three top-five finishes, three top-10 finishes, zero poles and 179 laps led.

>Team owner-driver Kyle Busch raced the first 2012 Chicagoland Nationwide event in the No. 54 Camry and produced a fourth-place starting spot, but suffered a 27th-place finish after an accident that resulted in 193 of 201 laps completed.

>In statistical categories over the last seven races in the Nationwide Series at Chicagoland, KBM team owner-driver Kyle Busch holds the record for highest number of laps led 348 (24.8%).

>Busch’s last NNS win came one year ago, on 9/09/11 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Busch has competed in 16 series races since then, achieving a high-finishing position of second-place twice.

>Busch’s best finish this year in the No. 54, a second, was registered at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on May 5, 2012.

>Busch holds an eight-year streak from 2004 to 2011 of consecutive seasons with a win in the Nationwide Series.

Kyle Busch @ Chicagoland Speedway in All Series over Career:



Top 5

Top 10







7 races










8 races

2 (’10 & ’08)









3 races

2 (’10 & ’09)








Kyle Busch NASCAR Nationwide Series Career Results:



Top 5

Top 10







237 races









-All-time winningest driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with 51 victories

-Has registered at least one win in each of the last eight seasons

-2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Champion Driver for JGR (a record 13-win season)

-2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver’s Championship and Owner’s Championship with JGR

-2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Champion Driver for JGR

-2004 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year

What are fans saying about Kyle on Social Media sites?

Facebook: Kyle Busch (142,481+ followers)

Donnie Shorts I watched the last race. I was super disappointed. But, there is always next year. I am actually beginning to be a NASCAR fan. I decided to go with Kyle Busch because I love Monster Energy and M&Ms. I hope to one day go to a race. (Sept 10)

Glenn Stout Always a Rowdy fan, win the next 10. (Sept 10)

Jo Ann Christennsen You are #1 in my book always, sad you didn’t make it L (Sept 10)

Lennis Krones Still behind you Rowdy, you’re one or the only reason I’m still watching NASCAR. Keep up the good job. (Sept 10)

Candace Bedell Frentheway It’s been a very tough season this year but I am still a Rowdy fan no matter what! Love you Rowdy and next year will be a great season! Now go out and win all the races!!! (Sept 10)

Gordon Kerr It’s all about the wins, now…. ‘Tear Em Up…. (Sept 10)

Angela Mairs Kyle, you will get your wins in the next ten. We are thinking of you and Sam. Keep doing your best as you always do. (Sept 10)

David Joel Keith Kyle, even though you didn’t make the chase, I’m still proud to call you my favorite driver. What you need to do is go out and win the next ten races. Go get them, you are number one, prove it to them. Best of luck to you! (Sept 10)

Kyle’s preferred Monster Energy drink flavor:
Original Monster Energy Green


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