A planned Formula 1 test for NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series front-runner Kyle Busch with Toyota in Japan [see separate story – click here
] has been canned after championship organisers asked him to abandon his flame-proof suit for a tuxedo.
The 23-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing and D'Hondt Motorsport ace – who has admitted that he would consider an F1 future one day – will finish either fifth, sixth or seventh in the Nationwide Series standings, depending on the results of Saturday's Ford 300 at Homestead. The top ten finishers in the final standings are expected to attend the season-ending banquet, scheduled for 22 November in Orlando, Florida.
“I don't get to drive the Formula 1 car anymore,” revealed a disgruntled Busch, currently sixth in the Nationwide standings. “I have to go to the Nationwide banquet and accept my sixth-place award instead. NASCAR took me away from the Formula 1 car.”
Meanwhile, Tony Stewart announced at Homestead-Miami Speedway that Tony Gibson will join Stewart-Haas Racing as crew chief for Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet in 2009.
Stewart also revealed that veteran Bobby Hutchens will join the team as director of competition. Both Gibson and Hutchens make the move to Stewart-Haas from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Moreover, the majority of the No. 8 DEI crew will accompany Gibson in his move to Stewart-Haas.
“These are two really important hires for our race team,” Stewart underlined. “Bobby Hutchens brings a ton of technical and management experience to SHR, and Tony Gibson has helped a lot of well-known drivers earn their recognition by getting them to victory lane.”
Gibson, 44, has been a Sprint Cup crew chief since 2002 and has worked with Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (during Tony Eury Jr.'s six-race suspension last year), Michael Waltrip and Steve Park. He also served as car chief for Jeff Gordon during title runs in 1998 and 2001, and worked in the same capacity for the late Alan Kulwicki during the 1992 championship season. He and Newman share common interests beyond racing.
“Tony and I have talked as much about racing as we have about hunting and fishing,” quipped Newman, a keen outdoorsman. “I feel like we're already on the same page, so to speak. I'm not sure who's more excited about next year – him or me!”
Finally, Camping World chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis appeared in the Homestead media centre to unveil the new logo for the Camping World Truck Series. Camping World is the new title sponsor for the series, which has competed under the Craftsman banner since its inception in 1995.
“Our expectation is to elevate the truck series to a whole new level,” Lemonis explained. “We're going to use our retail platform in whatever ways we can to grow the series.”
Reid Spencer/Sporting News