The Frontstretch: Tearing Apart the Trucks: KBM Faces Another Tough Decision by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday September 16, 2010

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Tearing Apart the Trucks: KBM Faces Another Tough Decision

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday September 16, 2010

 

The Camping World Truck Series rolls into New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the first of the remaining seven races on the schedule. While most teams are looking toward Saturday afternoon’s race, Kyle Busch is already thinking about next season, and what will likely happen with Kyle Busch Motorsports. It wasn’t good news.

As he participated in the Chase Media Day, team owner Kyle Busch touched on the future of the team, commenting on the difficulties they have faced in trying to find financial support to back them.

“It’s hard to get anything and there really is nobody coming into it,” Busch said. “It’s hard to sell [a sponsorship]. Right now, just going through all that, learning how to run the team, learning how to run the business has been stressful and strenuous and very impacting on my pocketbook as well.”

“If we don’t find a sponsor for next year, I’m going to have shut it down. I’m not going to be able to do anything. That’s very unfortunate because I love all the guys working for me.”

Frankly, I’m not at all surprised to hear Kyle say this. No matter how you feel about the guy, running in NASCAR is expensive, and no team that will run competitive week in and week out can do that without some sort of sponsorship backing. And sadly, it’s nothing new in NASCAR these days, especially in the Truck Series.

Despite enjoying a season that has seen his team contending for wins on all types of tracks, finances may force Kyle Busch to shutter his namesake operation.

I’m also a little disappointed, but not in Kyle Busch. I’m more disappointed that NASCAR isn’t appealing enough to companies that are willing to throw a little money their way. At the beginning of the season, I looked to Kyle Busch Motorsports as something to be hopeful about. Here was a new team coming in with sponsorship that could add a couple of decent trucks to the field.

But it wasn’t meant to be when Miccosukee Resort & Gaming pulled out thanks to a leadership change with the tribe. That left the team scrambling for someone to back them. It was a blessing in disguise for KBM when Tayler Malsam signed with Braun Racing in the Nationwide Series. That allowed for one team to be shut down and all finances to be focused on keeping the No. 18 team up and running.

Financially, the decision made sense, just as it’ll make sense if Kyle is forced to shut down his team. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Here’s hoping KBM will be able to line up sponsorship for at least one of its trucks so the team can continue to run in the series.

Author’s Note: New this week is a preview of the upcoming race. It’s loosely modeled after an old column called Race Trax that I wrote when I first started out. Would you like me to continue with it? Am I wasting your time by including it? Did I forget to include something you’d like to see? Readers, please feel free to let me know what you think by commenting below or using the contact form. Your feedback is appreciated and will be used as I decide whether I’ll continue this segment of Tearing Apart the Trucks.

TheRaceDayShuffleSeries.com 175 Preview

Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1.058-mile flat oval)
Race Length: 175 laps (185.15 miles)
Defending Pole Sitter: Mike Skinner
Defending Winner: Kyle Busch

Who to Watch:

Points leader Todd Bodine has been nearly unstoppable this season, winning four races and scoring 15 top-10 finishes in 18 starts. Though he hasn’t won on the 1.058-mile track yet, Bodine does have two top 5s—a pair of fourth-place finishes in 2006 and 2007—in his six starts at the track. Though those numbers are far from outstanding, I refuse to bet against the driver of the No. 30 Toyota in what has been a dream season for the minimally-sponsored team.

Ron Hornaday, Jr. has three previous wins at NHMS and could easily make that number four this weekend, and that’s just the beginning. In nine starts, Hornaday, Jr. has just two finishes outside the top 10. Provided the driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet can stay out of harm’s way in the early stages of the race, expect him to be around the top 5 by the time the laps begin to wind down.

Whenever Kyle Busch races in the Truck Series, it’s smart not to count him out unless he gets caught up in a wreck on track. And that’s no different this weekend at New Hampshire, where Busch rolls in as the defending race winner. If you count out the 33rd-place finish he posted in 2007 after getting caught up in a wreck, the driver of the No. 18 Toyota holds a 4.25 average finish and will definitely be a threat Saturday afternoon.

Quotable

“New Hampshire is a really fun track, but it’s one of those places where, if your truck isn’t handling well, it can make for a really long day. I had two top-10 finishes there in the East Series, so hopefully I can build on the experience that I have and come out with a strong finish.” James Buescher

“New Hampshire is just over a mile — somewhat similar to a short track — but does display some unique features. It has a relatively flat surface and long straightaways. The biggest challenge drivers face is getting on the brakes in the right spot before going through the turns and then heading down the long straightaways.” Series Director Wayne Auton

“New Hampshire is a lot like Phoenix, and I grew up racing there (Phoenix) when I was first starting out. There’s a lot of braking. You have to really work on getting your car through the center of the corner and still have the forward bite you need up off the corner, so you get all three aspects of the truck, the driver and the setup all in one.” Kevin Harvick

Friday on the Frontstretch:
FREE FRONTSTRETCH NEWSLETTER! SENT RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
Who’ll Win It? 2010 Fearless Chase Predictions
The Chase Begins, But Who Wins? And What Does That Mean Historically?
‘Have At It’ Hasn’t Made Much Difference
Scott Speed Diary: Line Dancing And Amanda’s Shorts

Contact Beth Lunkenheimer

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…
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Sue
09/16/2010 11:59 PM
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I know that Mike Skinner hasn’t had the best year this year. I would like to see more about him in the truck series. Are Randy Moss and David Dollar going to keep the truck series going, or is this to be another failed project???

dooscoop32
09/17/2010 09:25 PM
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I can’t help but wonder if some of Kyle Busch’s temper tantrums when things don’t go his way have contributed to this shying away from his team by sponsors. Yes, they can get good exposure when their truck is being shown at the front of the field but they can get some really bad exposure when he pitches a fit after the race if he doesn’t win. Hmmmmmm. Just a point to ponder.

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