Kyle Busch has announced that his eponymous team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, is to field a Nationwide Series entry in the 2012 season.
"KBM is transitioning into the Nationwide Series next year," Busch confirmed during media appearances for this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. "We will race a full-funded team for the championship.
"It's a great opportunity for myself and for the Kyle Busch Motorsports organisation," he added. "It's a great day for us."
The team has been operating a full-time entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the last two seasons, since Busch purchased the remaining assets of Xpress Motorsports from JB Scott at the end of 2009. Busch has taken the wheel of the #18 for much of the season, sharing the ride with Brian Ickler and Kasey Kahne.
The team also put together a one-race operation to enter Kimi Raikkonen in the Perky Jerky-sponsored #87 in the May Truck race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Raikkonen then appeared in the following week's Nationwide Series race at the same venue, but KBM had to scramble to put together a scratch operation by loaning a car from Joe Nemechek's NEMCO Motorsports outfit. At the time, Busch said that while he would like to move to Nationwide in the future, he was not able to do so at the time - even if Raikkonen had expressed an interest in a full-time ride at that level. If that had been the former F1 world champion's intention, he would need to look elsewhere for a team, Busch had said in May.
Busch has now confirmed that KBM has signed a full-season sponsor that will enable them to put a Toyota Camry out on track for the full 2012 Nationwide Series season. However, Busch declined to reveal the identity of the sponsor at this time, and also declined to say who will be driving the car - although he confirmed that he would take the wheel for at least some of the races, as well as running in the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide team
“It's safe to assume I'll be running in some Nationwide races with Kyle Busch Motorsports,” agreed Busch. "I will also still commit to my current obligations that I have at JGR and run over there, too.
“Crew chiefs, sponsors, drivers: all that stuff will be announced later ... It's all pretty much done, it's just a matter of waiting until the time the sponsor wants to announce," he said. "Obviously it takes funding to do these deals, and we wouldn't be able to do it without the partner we acquired.
"We're ready and excited that the opportunity has finally come to move up ... We wanted to do that for a couple years now," he added. "This takes us to that next level."
It's welcome news for Nationwide Series organisers, who have seen two big sponsors (Dollar General and 5-Hour Energy) withdraw support for NNS teams in order to move their backing to Cup teams. Former series champion Carl Edwards has also announced that he will no longer be appearing in a nearly-full season and will be cutting back on his appearances from next season in order to concentrate on Cup competition in future, while Kevin Harvick has offloaded his Kevin Harvick Inc. Truck and Nationwide team in order to focus on Cup driving.