Kurt and Kyle Busch will face each other on the racetrack for the first time in the Camping World Truck Series this Friday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Driving his own No. 18 Toyota, Kyle Busch will make his first truck start since his run-in with Ron Hornaday Jr. last November at Texas. Busch deliberately wrecked Hornaday, punting him into the outside wall, during a caution. The incident occurred one lap after they made contact and crashed while battling for position.
NASCAR parked Busch for the remainder of the truck race and then suspended him for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events at Texas that weekend. He was later fined $50,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the year.
Kurt Busch will team with his younger brother's previous owner, Atlanta-area resident Billy Ballew, who sold his team at the conclusion of the 2010 season. Ballew and Kyle Busch won 16 times as a team, including the 2005 and 2007-09 Atlanta races. Ballew returns to the series with the No. 51 Chevrolet, in association with James Finch's Phoenix Racing and crew chief Nick Harrison.
"The deal for this weekend came about when (Phoenix Racing team owner) James Finch and the group asked me to run Atlanta for Billy Ballew and his gang, and it's just another element of going out there and having fun," Kurt Busch said. "I believe, at the end of the day, Billy Ballew just wants to go out there and see how good his equipment still is."
Two weeks ago at Michigan, Kurt Busch made his first appearance in the Truck Series in 11 years. He drove the No. 18 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Busch led a race-high 57 laps but ended up finishing ninth.
"The chance to drive Kyle's truck at Michigan was a unique opportunity to help with the team and evaluate his program and the fun factor was definitely through the roof," he said. "We led the most laps, and it just came down to fuel mileage. At Atlanta, it's all about saving your tires, so it's going to be more of a tire management race."
Kurt Busch finished second in points and earned rookie-of-the-year honors in the Truck Series in 2000. He graduated to Cup the following year. Busch has scored three victories in 21 Sprint Cup starts at Atlanta. He has yet to compete in a Nationwide or truck race there.
"Kurt was very successful as a rookie in the Truck Series, and that earned him a full-time Cup ride quickly," Kyle Busch said. "By the time I got to the Truck Series, Kurt had already established himself in the Cup Series, and for whatever reason, he didn't really run any Nationwide or Truck Series races, so we never got the chance to race against each other in NASCAR until I made it to the Cup Series.
"We've been able to race against each other a few times this year in the Nationwide Series, but it's been mostly working together in the tandem draft on the superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega). It will be really cool to be competing against each other in the trucks.
The Busch brothers are the only Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race.
"How exciting would it be to see things come down to a battle of me versus Kurt for the win on Friday night," Kyle Busch said.
Thirty-eight teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 200.
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck. Date: Friday, August 31. Race: Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 200. Site: Atlanta Motor Speedway. Track: 1.54-mile oval. Start time: 8 p.m. (et). Laps: 130. Miles: 200.2. 2011 Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr. Television: Speed. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.