INDIANAPOLIS— Kyle Busch was so close to being able to run the Indianapolis 500 this season. However, there had to be some convincing done before he could participate in the event.
Busch had to convince one of his two bosses before he could participate in the Indianapolis 500. That boss was Coach Joe Gibbs.
“I had it done last year, sold and everything, but I got a boss that said no,” said Busch.
Despite not being able to run the 500 this year, Busch hopes that one day he will be able to, but was glad he did not because of Fernando Alonso skipping the Formula One race in Monaco to participate in the 500.
“I had a great opportunity to do it. I am kinda glad that I didn’t because (Fernando) Alonso kinda stole the headlines the last time it was done,” said Busch. “In the future, there will be guys coming over to run that race. I may have to split the limelight with somebody else who wants to run that race. I think it would be fun and unique opportunity.”
The biggest concern for Coach Gibbs was the fact that Busch had never driven an IndyCar. “The biggest fear was not knowing what those cars would do if you get in a bad situation,” Busch stated about the concern.
In NASCAR, the three manufacturers are Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford. In Indycar, drivers are limited to only Chevrolet and Honda. For Busch, his options are open.
“It would keep your options open for the engine manufacturer. Obviously next year with the aero platform, that’s going to change. To my understanding, with just engines being the culprit, not necessarily being an engine package anymore. Obviously, if Toyota was a third, I would be limited to that. It does kinda keep your options open,” said Busch about his options if he chose to run the Indy 500.
At the end of the day, Busch would not trade a Brickyard 400 win for a win in the Indianapolis 500. “I would like the opportunity to be able to earn it myself. If that day ever comes, we will see what happens.”
With the announcement of Erik Jones returning to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2017, the future of Furniture Row Racing (FRR) remaining a two-car organization came into question.
The announcement of Jones leaving FRR was expedited after Matt Kenseth made comments last weekend at Kentucky Speedway that he would not be returning to JGR in 2018.
Currently, Jones pilots the No. 77 Toyota for FRR. The car number currently has a charter, purchased from Premium Motorsports over the 2016 offseason.
“It was exciting going to two cars and I know it was something that Barney has thought about and talked about for a long time and I know his plans originally were not for this team to be a one year deal,” said Truex Jr. about the organization moving to a two car organization in 2017.
Truex has seen improvements in the young team throughout the season. Being the veteran driver, Truex has seen the benefits of having a teammate like Jones.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Erik (Jones). He’s been a good teammate. He’s a great kid. Love talking to him and hearing his point of view and things, so it would have been nice to have him for a couple years,” Truex stated. “That program I feel like just keeps getting stronger each and every week and they had a good run last weekend and it’s a shame to see that happen that quickly
Reiterating what he said at Kentucky, Barney Visser, team owner, released a statement about the future of FRR being a two car organization.
"We are working on our team plans for 2018 but don't have anything concrete to report at this time except that Martin Truex Jr. will continue to drive the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota,” Visser stated.
Despite 2018 plans being up in the air, Truex Jr. doesn’t believe the organization would change if they went back to a one car organization. Truex believes the strongest part of the team is that everybody know what they are doing really well.
“We’ve got a really, really tight group of guys that have done a good job working together over the last few year and have a lot of trust and confidence in each other and I think one of the strongest parts of our team is just everybody doing their own jobs and understanding what they are and doing them really well, so I don’t see anything changing,” said Truex.
Despite the uncertain future for a two car organization. Truex is leaving those issues to Visser and Joe Garone, FRR team president.
“I’ll leave that up to Barney (Visser, team owner) and Joe (Garone, team president) and everybody that runs the show,” said Truex.
Truex has scaled to 28 playoff points over the 2017 season. He has three wins, six top-fives, and 12 top-10 finishes. He has lead 1,115 laps.
In his inaugural season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Jones has one top-five, five top-10’s, and has led 31 laps.
SPARTA, Ky-- From starting from the pole, Kyle Busch was victorious in the Alsco 300 from Kentucky Speedway.
“It’s nice to get to victory lane anytime you can. It’s been a heck of the year on the bad end for us. It’s nice to have this as a turn around. The Camry’s have been fast all year long. It’s fun to have the opportunity to run in this series, I enjoy it,” said Kyle Busch in victory lane.
This is the second win in a row at Kentucky Speedway in the July race. This is his 88th career win and 35th win from the pole.
After an outside tire violation on the final pit stop, Ryan Blaney was able to pass Erik Jones in the closing laps to finish in the second position,
“I didn’t really have a lot of fun but it was nice to have a good race car that we could pick our way through the field. We got it really good at the end. We were good all day. I thought we were the best car all day, personally. Before that last caution. I thought we were going to get by the 20 and set sail. The caution came out and we were debating on whether to pit or not, said Blaney. "It is easy to look back on it now and say that we should have stayed out and seen what happened. I thought the right call was to pit and we just had a violation. That stings. It almost stings worse running all the way up there and finishing second than if we would have finished 10th or something. Not where we wanted to be but hopefully we learned some stuff for tonight. It is fun to have this double-header. It is disappointing. I think you have to look at the positives and know we had a really fast car and that is something to build off of.”
After being passed by Blaney in the closing laps and running up front for majority of the race, E. Jones finished in the third position.
Kevin Harvick, Ty Dillon, Joey Logano, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-10.
There were seven lead changes among four drivers. The caution flew eight times for 44 laps. The time of the race was two hours, 30 minutes, and 56 seconds. The average speedway 119.258 mph.
Next up for the Xfinity Series is a trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Overton's 200 on July 15th. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 4:00 p.m EDT
SPARTA, Ky.— Kyle Busch will start from the pole in the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway after setting the track record.
The first round of qualifying saw Kyle Larson unable to make a lap in the session due to his failing of the Laser Inspection System. Chase Elliott was fastest at 189.434 mph. Matt Kenseth was second fastest at 189.029 mph. Kasey Kahne was third fastest at 188.904 mph. Jimmie Johnson was fourth fastest at 188.646 mph. Joey Logano rounded out the top-five at 188.646 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the second round of qualifying include Austin Dillon (P25), Ryan Newman (P31), and Larson (P40). All drivers will make the field.
In the second round of qualifying, Ky. Busch was fastest at 190.282 mph. Martin Truex Jr. was second fastest at 190.194 mph. Matt Kenseth was third fastest at 189.740 mph. Jamie McMurray was fourth fastest at 189.713 mph. Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five at 189.687 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance include Dale Earnhardt Jr (P13), Kurt Busch (P15), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr (P18).
The third round of qualifying was about to begin, but as the rains approached the speedway, qualifying was deemed complete.
SPARTA, Ky.— Kyle Busch will start from the pole in tonight’s Alsco 300 from Kentucky Speedway. This is his 61st pole.
The first round of qualifying was slowed three times by spins on the track. Brandon Brown, Morgan Shepard, and Quin Houff are the three drivers who will be sent home. Erik Jones was fastest in the opening round at 180.560 mph. Brennan Pole was second fastest at 179.325 mph. Spencer Gallagher was third fastest at 178.790 mph. Matt Tifft was fourth fastest at 178.749 mph. Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five in the opening round with his speed of 178.642 mph.
In the second round of qualifying, E. Jones was fastest at 181.494 mph. Ryan Blaney was second fastest in this round at 181.050 mph. Daniel Hemric was third fastest at 180.590 mph. Ky. Busch was fourth fastest at 180.542 mph. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five at a speed of 180.415 mph.
In the final round. Ky. Busch posted a speed of 181.935 mph. E. Jones will start second with his speed of 181.635 mph. Blaney will start third with his speed of 181.354 mph. Joey Logano will start fourth with his speed of 180.524 mph. William Byron rounded out the top-five with his speed of 180.150 mph.
The Alsco 300 will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 8:00 p.m. EDT.