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Gibbs admits doubts about Busch competition

The deal to release Busch from Nationwide commitments for JGR has meant that the team can concentrate on a full-season campaign for Brian Scott, with analysts wondering if the team are lining him up as a possible replacement for Joey Logano in case Logano has another flat season in 2012.

But the main reason for allowing Kyle Busch to set up in competition with JGR in Nationwide seems to part of a larger strategy of getting Busch to cut back on his racing commitments this year. The feeling is that simultaneous runs in Cup, Nationwide and Trucks were leading to too much pressure on Busch - and resulting in the notorious on-track blow-ups such as the retaliation on Ron Hornaday Jr. that saw Busch booted out of all races at Texas last autumn.

"What we tried to do was sit with him and work out a plan for him this year," said Joe Gibbs. "Obviously part of that is reducing his schedule a little bit so he can focus more on certain things."

Busch himself insisted that Gibbs hadn't ordered him to stop driving in the Camping World Truck Series altogether, however.

"They said, 'We'd rather you not run Truck races.' So it wasn't necessarily an outright 'no,'" he insisted. "But it was a highly recommended, 'Let's leave the Trucks alone.'"

JGR has also benefitted financially from Busch's new relationship in Nationwide with drinks brand Monster Energy. As well as bankrolling the #54 Kyle Busch Motorsports for the full Nationwide Series season, Monster have also signed up as backer for Busch's #18 JGR Cup car.

"They get something out of this, too," pointed out Busch. "I brought them an associate sponsor along with it. So they can't complain too much!"




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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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