BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After a nearly two year hiatus NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner Billy Ballew is making a return to truck series competition this Friday night in the Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a collective effort with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Phoenix Racing.
Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and current Phoenix Racing driver, will pilot the No. 51 Bill Holt Chevrolet. Phoenix Racing’s NSCS crew chief Nick Harrison will serve as Busch’s truck crew chief and the Phoenix Racing over the wall crew will pit The No. 51 NCWTS entry.
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“This is like going home for me,” said Ballew. “Atlanta Motor Speedway is a very special place for me. I grew up in the area and this was one of the first tracks that went to when I became involved in racing. To be honest with you, I have missed not being involved day to day with this sport and this series so to come back here and compete at Atlanta is very satisfying. Billy Ballew Motorsports has had some great success at this venue and we look to add to that Friday night. I can’t thank James Finch, Phoenix Racing and Kurt Busch enough for helping me return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.”
Billy Ballew Motorsports has indeed had tremendous success at Atlanta’s tricky, high-speed quad-oval. In 17 races at the Hampton, GA venue Ballew’s entries have posted four wins, 7 top-five and 9 top-10 finishes. Kurt Busch’s brother Kyle led a BBMS truck to victory lane at Atlanta in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Kurt Busch himself is no stranger to success in the NCWTS, he has four wins, 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in just 26 starts. The most recent truck series start for Kurt Busch came just two weeks ago at Michigan for Kyle Busch Motorsports where he dominated the race, leading 57 laps before being shuffled back in the finishing order due to pit strategy.
“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,” Kurt Busch 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. So just looking at everything from the broader perspective is these two races that I will have done so far in trucks we are talking about two polar opposite kind of tracks. With the race at Michigan and the race at Atlanta this weekend it’s just two different kind of tracks as far as the strategy used or needed to be successful in the No. 51 truck. 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.”
“After working for so long with Kyle and having the type of success we had together it is really kind of cool to have Kurt behind the wheel of this No. 51 Bill Holt Chevrolet,” Ballew added. “So many people have helped me with this effort I can’t possible thank them all. Bill Holt Chevrolet in Canton, GA, Bill and Steve Acor, Woodard Pools, Cardinal Waste Solutions and RedTopRacing.net all pitched in to make sure we could put our best foot forward. Kurt is right; it is all about the fun factor with this deal.”