HOMESTEAD, Fla. — First year teams in any sport are supposed to go through a learning curve with an unknown adjustment period to get their act together, right?
Maybe so, but Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series team proved to be the exception to the rule during the 2010 season as they clinched the coveted owner’s crown Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway following the season ending Ford 200.
When the No. 18 Toyota Tundra hit the track at Daytona in February the team was confident it would win races with its rookie owner/veteran driver behind the wheel.
But the team also knew that Busch would not run the full season and thus would have to employ other competitive drivers in order to have a shot at the owner’s title at season’s end.
Busch competed in 16 Truck Series races this season while sharing the seat with Brian Ickler, who drove in seven events, Kasey Kahne and Johnny Benson, who drove one race apiece. While Busch drove the KBM Toyota to each of its eight victories, the four team drivers have combined for 16 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in 25 starts, truly a remarkable record for a start-up operation.
The team started on Dec. 1, 2009 with a key ingredient — General Manager Rick Ren — who left the crew chief position at Kevin Harvick, Inc. and driver Ron Hornaday just after winning the 2009 Camping World championship.
They purchased some trucks from Xpress Motorsports and began to rework them then were able to buy more trucks from Roush Fenway and Ren and crew chief Eric Phillips had a 14 member team by Jan. 5 as they thrashed to prepare two trucks for the season opener at Daytona.
“This means a lot,” explained Busch. “We came from nothing. We knew we had good restrictor-plate trucks and we built a lot of our own new stuff. It’s come a long way and it’s been a lot of hard work but, yet, but there still a lot more to do in order to get fully funded for next year.”