Kyle Busch is extremely close to owner Billy Ballew and the rest of his Camping World Truck Series team. He hangs out with them, sometimes pitching in to work on the team's Toyotas, and delights in delivering them victories. Indeed, Busch seemingly enjoys winning for the team more than for himself.
Busch has ten wins in 49 starts since joining Ballew's team in 2005. Three of the wins are at Atlanta Motor Speedway, site of Saturday's American Commercial Lines 200. Busch won the race a year ago when he put on a spectacular display using the high and low lines to drive through the field.
Busch also will be trying to win his second straight this season, having finished 9.023secs in front of Todd Bodine in the previous race, two weeks ago, at Auto Club Speedway in California.
“[Ballew Motorsports] feels like it's almost a part of me, this team I'm a part of,” Busch said, “It almost feels like it is Kyle Busch Motorsports - that's how close-knit all these guys are - and I spend a lot of time with them in the shop. Billy Ballew is just a great part of this deal, and he makes it happen for us. He busts his butt throughout the week to make sure we get to the racetrack.”
Atlanta holds special significance for Ballew, who owns a condo at the track and splits his time living there and his hometown of Blairsville in northeast Georgia.
“I'm always excited about going to Atlanta,” he said, “It's been exciting with Kyle winning three of the four races he's run there for us. To me, winning there is bigger than winning the Indianapolis 500.”
Bodine's start to the season has equalled Busch's, having won at Daytona and finished second in California, while Busch was second to the veteran at Daytona. Bodine's Germain Racing Toyota remains without a sponsor for the full season, but it did get some help from Geico to make it to Atlanta. The team says its success so far has brought some interest in backing the team. Running up front at Atlanta should help move its prospects forward.
“Atlanta's been one of those tracks I've run good at - whether it's the old configuration, new configuration, Cup Series, the former Busch Series or truck series, it doesn't matter,” Bodine said, reflecting on a win at Atlanta in March 2006 and two second places, “I like the track, and that gives you confidence going there.”
Kevin Harvick, meanwhile, will drive the #2 Kevin Harvick Inc Chevrolet this weekend, and has also has entered rookie Ricky Carmichael in the #4 Chevrolet, adding it to the former motocrosser's schedule based upon his eighth place in California.. Ryan Newman won in the #2 last October at Atlanta, with team-mate Ron Hornaday Jr second. Hornaday has finished second in three straight races at Atlanta.
The race also marks Rick Crawford's 300th start in the series and the 200th straight for Matt Craftonby Tim Tuttle
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service