This past weekend at Richmond International Raceway was a dream come true for Kyle Busch, with his big brother Kurt piloting the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota to victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. It was the team’s first Nationwide race win.
Kyle then scored a dramatic late-race triumph Saturday night to earn his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season.
Kyle Busch, who will appear Monday evening at 6 p.m. on SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub, said during an exclusive interview with SPEEDtv.com that the thrills he felt this weekend were greater than he could have imagined.
“It was a hell of a lot sweeter,” Kyle said of Friday night’s all-in-the-family victory. “You never knew what that feeling would exactly be like until you achieve it. It was just something that I’ve never really felt before.
“That was a great victory — the blood, sweat and tears and everything that you pour into building an organization like KBM has become over the years. Samantha (Busch’s wife) and I have worked really hard, Rick Ren (general manager), Eric Phillips (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series crew chief), Mike Beam (NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chief), all these guys that are there and work so hard. And it just feels so awesome to have it all come together like that.”
Busch expected big things this year in KBM’s first NNS season and has had to deal with the reality of tougher competition then the company faced last year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and tight fields at the top.
“We thought we could win every single race,” Kyle said. “But it’s pretty cool that we could win seven races in and we felt like we had a shot to win a couple of other ones out there. It just didn’t come together right away.”
The No. 54 Monster Energy-sponsored KBM Toyota is 12th in owners’ points already and looking to move up as the summer rolls around.
So does this mean Kyle Busch Motorsports could one day field a NASCAR Sprint Cup operation, perhaps with Kurt as the driver? Not so fast, Kyle said.
“I’m not sure,” Kyle said. “There’s so much that you’ve got to have to be a successful and competitive Cup organization. I’m realizing that now with the Nationwide efforts. There’s been so much that’s already gone on into this Nationwide team. And for us to feel like we’re not successful yet, I can’t imagine not winning at the Cup level.”
Money is the first obstacle.
“Shoot, you need $30 million for a start-up (Cup) program,” Busch said. “And that’s building cars and paying for engines and getting all the equipment and having 15 engineers sitting in a room, working on a car to make it better. And trying to figure out how to lighten a piece that already weighs one pound. All of that comes into play, when you own your team. You’ve got to get that infrastructure built and it just takes so much time at that level.”
And then Busch laughed a little bit.
“If we go Cup racing at Kyle Busch Motorsports, it might not be for 15 years.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.