Monday, January 16, 2012

KBM Scrambling To Finalize 2012 Nationwide, Truck Plans

Kyle Busch Motorsports General Manager Rick Ren has spent the last few weeks scrambling to rebuild his driver and sponsor lineups after team owner Kyle Busch was asked not to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series’ in 2012.

Ren and Busch had assembled a sponsor lineup that included Dollar General, Traxxas, Toyota and others for the 2012 campaign, with Busch scheduled to play a leading role in both the Nationwide and Truck efforts. Sources close to the team say virtually all the team’s sponsors signed on believing that Busch would drive their entries in a significant number of events this season, only to learn last month that Joe Gibbs Racing had asked Busch to dramatically trim his involvement in all but the headline NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Ren confirmed in late December there was “a high probability” of Busch withdrawing from at least the 2012 Truck Series “at the request (of JGR). Not by demand, but by request. There is (also) a possibility of him running no Nationwide races under certain circumstances, as well,” said Ren. “There are a lot of things being discussed right now, which makes it pretty tough on me.

Since then, work has continued at KBM’s 77,000-square foot headquarters, with a fleet of Toyota Camrys and Tundras being assembled for the 2012 season. The team announced last week that veteran Jason Leffler will serve as primary driver of its potent, No. 18 Camping World Truck Series Toyota, driving a minimum of 14 races – beginning with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway – with sponsorship from Dollar General. KBM continues to seek sponsorship to run Leffler in the remaining eight events on the 2012 Camping World Truck Series schedule

The 36-year old Leffler is a proven commodity in NASCAR National division competition. He finished in the Top-10 in Nationwide Series points in each of the last two seasons, and has two career wins on that series. In 46 career Truck starts, the California native has one win, 19 Top-5 and 29 Top-10 finishes, with a top point finish of fourth in 2002 with Jim Smith’s Ultra Motorsports team.

"As a racer, your ultimate goal is to win races,” said Leffler. “Driving the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra for KBM is definitely an opportunity where I expect to achieve that goal. Kyle has put together a first-class organization that builds top-notch equipment. I'm honored that he has the confidence in me as a driver to come in and carry on the winning tradition that his team has established. Dollar General is one of the premier sponsors in our sport and I'm looking forward to representing them on and off the track."

Mexican driver Germ├ín Quiroga could also compete for KBM this season, if pending sponsorship arrangements can be finalized. Ren told NASCAR.com last week that Quiroga has “a verbal commitment” to cover most -- but not all – of the 2012 season, and has been approved by NASCAR to race in the 2012 lid lifter at Daytona. He warned, however, that time is running short for Quiroga to finalize the deal. "It is still a possibility,” said Ren. “Our negotiations have gone a lot more in-depth (and) right now he's got some verbal commitments. But we all understand in this industry what a verbal commitment means. It doesn't mean a lot.

“He's trying to finalize himself down there, and we told him that the clock is ticking. We drew a line in the sand, so to speak. We have to have an answer by such-and-such a day, or it's just going to be impossible for us to make Daytona.”

KBM is expected to announce its finalized Nationwide sponsor and driver lineups this Thursday. It is possible that Busch could compete in at least part of the Nationwide slate, but sources say he is unlikely to equal the 20 starts he made in NASCAR’s second division a year ago.
The team’s first on-track Nationwide test is scheduled for mid-February at Nashville Superspeedway.

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:00 AM

    I hope JGR is happy they aree hurting a great driver by not letting Kyle run races in own equipment

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    1. Anonymous10:42 AM

      Jgr didnt hurt Kyle. Kyle hurt Kyle!

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  2. welcome back Godfather!

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  3. Anonymous12:10 PM

    Nice to see JGR show a guts when it comes to keeping Kyle inline. I would guess the season has been broken down into sections...Kyle likely can't run ANY other races in first couple months, then will be allowed to run a few if he keeps his act in line...just to see how it goes...but once chase comes i'm guessing we'll be back to a "Cup Only" Kyle.

    Will be very interested to see if Kyle manages to keep those sponsors...I kinda figured he'd use KBM to Toyota cup drivers to work to keep the sponsors happy...putting lefler in the truck isn't likey to make it a regular in Victory lane (but with the loss of KHI and Germain maybe KBM is the strongest team left standing and can still be a regular winner without their star)

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  4. Vicky Ashcraft12:26 PM

    Hope you had a great time on your vacation. I am happy that JGR said no Truck and Nationwide for Kyle. Let up and coming drivers learn in these series.

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  5. Anonymous3:30 PM

    You know if this racing thing doesn't work out, these guys could run for politics. They certainly have the double talk and spin part nailed.

    Yep, you've got hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship lined up, and the boss "asks" you not to do it. Sure, makes perfect sense to me.

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  6. Lorraine11:30 PM

    Who or what gave Rick Ren the right to talk to the media? He needs to remember that Kyle Busch is HIS boss!! Or does he still work for Harvick?? Kyle's fans want to see him race in trucks, nationwide, cup, and anything else that he wants to drive!!

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    1. Lorraine, Rick Ren is the General Manager of Kyle Busch Motorsports. Part of his job is updating media on the status of his race team. That's part of what Kyle hired him to do.

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  7. Emery Chuck Piper3:13 AM

    Kyle Busch is great driver who was more successful in Nationwide than in any other , banning him from driving because of his behavior is not right, Believe he has learned from Texas & will show the world he is indeed a professional driver. He can be the best driver in the sport, not only will his talents prevail but his personality will as well.

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  8. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Well, if they don't let Kyle race Nationwide and trucks, that saves me some money-- won't be buying Nationwide and truck tickets, and I won't have to pay for extra nights at a hotel, and the gas to drive back and forth from the hotel to the track on multiple days.

    Thanks JGR and (I suspect the real people behind this) Mars Inc.

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  9. Anonymous3:30 PM

    Welcome back Dave,

    If you go to Kyle's pages you'll see NOS and Z-Line are gone, even though Kyle appears on their web pages. It's sad that JGR, for whatever reason, by either continuing to sanction Kyle or dictate his schedule, chases two great sponsors from NASCAR. That's some amount of penance for Kyle. And I guess for some it will not ever be enough.

    We won't know the real reason right away, but it appears that Kyle is still being punished, and it's a shame. The sport and the fans are poorer for it.


    Doug from NJ

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  10. hmmm here is a thought, maybe JGR asked him not to race anything but cup because he gets into the chase and falls apart. Maybe they think if he just concentrates on cup he might actually win a championship. Hmmm I'm not a fan, hey coach, let Kyle race every race that way he wont ever win a cup championship.

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  11. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Well Dave guess YOU WERE WRONG!!!!
    Kyle WILL BE racing in the NW series. Doesn't look to me like KBM were scrambling for anything today!!!

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  12. Anonymous2:27 PM

    This is why i didnt like the redskins Joe needs to keep his nose outta Kyles business no one told Joe not to coach football and have a racing team ,isay its bs and just another reason not to watch nascar.

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