Busch back in truck at Kentucky

Busch back in truck at Kentucky

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008 10:06 pm
By: AP

By The Associated Press With NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series taking the week off, Kyle Busch will stay busy, getting back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota for the Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. Busch, who has two wins and six top-10 finishes in 10 starts for Ballew this season, was last behind the wheel of the No. 41 Tundra in June at Michigan, where he finished seventh. The 23-year-old driver, whose Cup and Nationwide rides are with Joe Gibbs Racing, has racked up 14 victories overall this season — including seven in Cup and five in Nationwide. And, coming off a sweep of the Nationwide and Cup races last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Busch can hardly wait to get back on track — whatever the ride. “I’ve never raced a truck at Kentucky,” the youngster said. “Kentucky is one of my favorite places. It’s always a lot of fun. I’ve raced Nationwide cars and won there, and I’ve won in the ARCA car there. Hopefully, our Cup test there last week helped me get a better sense and feel for the place and what I can learn there for the truck. I’m kind of itching to get back into the truck series.” And that won’t be his only on-track activity this week. He was scheduled to drive a Super Late Model entry on Tuesday night at Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin and at Iowa Speedway on Sunday. “It’s not exhausting,” Busch said. “I am a racer and I enjoy doing it. We have a lot of fun in the Late Models and having the weekend off in the Cup Series just gives us an opportunity to go to a couple local tracks and have some fun.” But the main objective is to get Ballew another victory. “I want to keep Billy up front, and no one else can do it,” said Busch, who has shared the truck ride this year with Shane Sieg. “I think it’s cool that as long as he’s been in the sport, he’s finally got a chance to win a championship, and I want to help him keep that alive. He’s been around so long and he’s never had a full-time driver capable of winning him a championship. I’d like to be the one to do it for him.” ——— COMING ON STRONG: People who follow the NHRA closely are probably a bit surprised to look at the Funny Car standings and see Tim Wilkerson at the top. For most of his 12 years in the division, Wilkerson has been the consummate journeyman. In his first 223 races, he had five wins and his best points finishes were a trio of sevenths (1998, 2003 and 2004). Through the first four races this season, it appeared nothing had changed. Wilkerson had no wins and was eighth in the points, although he had been the No. 1 qualifier twice. Since then, Wilkerson has been nothing short of remarkable with four wins in nine races boosting him into the points lead. The driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Chevy Impala has a 215-point lead over second-place Robert Hight and he’ll become the second driver to officially clinch a playoff berth this weekend in Seattle, joining Tony Schumacher. “We don’t want to get cocky and do ourselves in,” Wilkerson said. “We’re planning to take what we know and keep using it to our advantage. We’re feeling confident that we’ll be able to do just that. … We just can’t lose focus on our goal of taking each race in two phases; first phase to qualify and the second to go rounds. That’s what we’ve been trying to do all year and it seems to be working.” ——— WOMEN DRIVERS: The Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation has awarded five young women drivers funding from the its new matching grant program, Project Podium. The inaugural funding distributed $28,900 grants to go-kart racer Natalie Fenaroli, 13, Raymore, Mo.; mini sprint racer Brandie Jass, 15, Bryan, Texas; go-kart racer Kristy Knoll, 13, Amherst, N.Y.; stock car racer Megan Reitenaur, 17, Miamisburg, Ohio, and sprint car racer Miranda Throckmorton, 16, Coatesville, Ind. Each driver is required to submit an application that includes her driving qualifications, race resume, sponsor information, a written essay on her goals and plans, and what the funding will be used for. Project Podium is a matching funds program focused on young women drivers who have demonstrated talent, hard work and perseverance, and who have generated sponsorship dollars to be matched. “Project Podium is designed to help young talent achieve racing and business success,” said former driver Lyn St. James, the founder and director of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation. “The 17 young ladies who submitted applications for our first round of funding exemplified the future of women in motorsports. They represented many different race Series and all are dedicated to being successful on the track and in the motorsports business world.” Published in The Messenger 7.18.08

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