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TRUCKS: Busch Footing Own Bill

Kyle Busch doesn’t mince words on the financial burden of owning a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team.

Busch brought his Kyle Busch Motorsports organization to NASCAR’s No. 3 series this year with hopes of fielding three full-time trucks.

That hasn’t happened yet – and lack of sponsorship is the reason.

“It’s a tough business to be involved in and, unfortunately, I picked the perfect yet wrong time to do it,” Busch said on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We’re looking to try to find the sponsorship.

"That’s what it boils down to in this sport, is having the dollars to go forward. Yeah, everybody thinks, ‘Okay, well, you make enough on the Cup side; you could do it if you had to.’ Well, you don’t want to. That’s what we’re having to do this year to get through.”

For the time being, Busch is picking up sponsorship for his teams on a race-by-race basis.

The No. 18 Toyota he shares with Brian Ickler has Z-Line Designs on the hood this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will carry backing from Interstate Batteries in a race later this year.

Busch had sponsorship from Dollar General when he won at Nashville Superspeedway on April 2.

“We’re excited about the people we’ve been able to work with, but we need to put that full sponsor on there and make the truck have its own paint scheme every week. It’s been a costly venture, a challenging one, but we’ll keep moving forward,” Busch said.

But moving forward means continuing to underwrite the organization primarily from his own bank account.

“It’s far above majority, it’s everything,” Busch said of his financial contributions. “We’ve got help from Toyota if we win; we have to win to get Toyota’s help. As far as resources and stuff, Toyota gives us all the resources we can use left and right. We can go to their center in Salisbury (N.C.) and use their pull-down rigs and use their seven-post machines and use all that. Joe Gibbs Racing has given some help with some gears, transmissions, oils and stuff. M848ff8if9a6fb627facGGcdbcce6M’s has stepped up and they bought the rear TV panel for the season, so that helps, too.

“As far as everything else goes, it’s all out of my pocket. Is it painful? Yeah. You work your whole life to make the money you make and do everything you do and, ... I’m not saying I’m throwing it away, but to see it all go away, it’s unfortunate.”

In addition to looking for sponsors, Busch is also having to adjust his original plans for the No. 18 truck after it was announced this week that Ickler will run select races in the No. 16 Nationwide Series entry of Roush Fenway Racing.

Ickler was scheduled to drive 10 races this year for Kyle Busch Motorsports but that’s unlikely to happen now. He has started two Truck races this year with a third-place finish at Martinsville and a fourth at Kansas. KBM still holds rights to Ickler for future truck races but it appears the 24-year-old won’t compete as originally scheduled at Texas Motor Speedway in June because of a conflict with the Nationwide race in Nashville, Busch said.

“I have no reason to hold Brian Ickler back,” Busch said. “It’s all for his best interest. I feel like I’ve done what I needed to do to help him move on up, so hopefully he can make a name for himself and a place for himself over there at Roush and do a good job. The remainder of this season, we’re going to have to work around our schedule a little bit and Roush’s schedule a little bit to see what races they want him to run. Right now I think he’s slated to run Charlotte, Nashville and Daytona. … We don’t know what other races Roush wants to run him in yet.”

Replacing Ickler at Texas will be 2007 series champion Johnny Benson, who signed with KBM in the preseason but has lacked the funding to run a single race with the team.

“I wanted to put Johnny in a third truck if we could ever find the money to do it,” said Busch, who also fields the entry of Tayler Malsam. “Right now we can’t even find the money to do my truck. I just told Johnny, ‘Look if I ever have the opportunity, I gave my word to Brian Ickler that he’s going to drive this truck and if there’s ever an availability, I want you to be the first to know that you’ll be in my truck.’ Here’s the first available time, and he got the call. I think it’s a great opportunity for him.”