Kyle Busch on possibility of Chase in Xfinity Series, future of Truck team


It was a “whirlwind” 48 hours for Kyle Busch after winning his first Sprint Cup title Sunday night.

A late night at Homestead-Miami Speedway turned into mid-morning in New York City. Then Busch took in Monday Night Football in Foxboro, Mass., before returning to NYC to appear on talk shows to share the story of his first Sprint Cup championship.

That championship came in the second season of NASCAR’s revamped Chase for the Sprint Cup, which has three rounds of three races before the championship race at Homestead.

A week ago, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said the sanctioning body would look at the possibility of incorporating a similar Chase format in the lower tier Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

As the beneficiary of such a format, winning his first Cup title in 11 seasons, Busch shared his thoughts on the possibility of that in a teleconference Tuesday afternoon.

“I do feel as though it’s necessary to still keep some sort of integrity, and maybe that was the point of the first Chase format where you do have to average through 10 races rather than just having it come down to three races at a time,” Busch said. “I feel like it would be more exciting in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to change to some sort of a Chase format and have more guys eligible down towards the end of the season.”

Chris Buescher won the Xfinity title Saturday by 15 points over defending champion Chase Elliott. While four drivers had a mathematical chance to be the champion, Buescher, in his second full Xfinity season, had led the points since winning at Iowa Speedway, the 10th of the season’s 33 races.

“I still think you’re going to see the same championship‑caliber drivers contend for that championship when it comes down to the final race in Homestead,” Busch said.

Those championship-caliber drivers on championship teams are part of the reason Busch, who operates Kyle Busch Motorsports, wasn’t able to keep an Xfinity team going past 2013. The team started in 2011 but shut down after 67 races and one win in 2012.

Now KBM peaks in the Camping World Truck Series. Friday night, Erik Jones won Busch his first driver’s title as an owner since the operation began in 2010.

“I definitely feel like we’re in a really good position with where we’re at,” said Busch, whose only Xfinity win as an owner was at Richmond in 2012 with brother Kurt Busch behind the wheel.

“It just didn’t quite seem right, and it was just really hard to continue to compete with those guys that are at the Joe Gibbs Racing team or the Penske Racing team on the Xfinity side,” Busch said. “It was really expensive for us to try to keep up with those guys, so we opted out and just stuck with the trucks.”

KBM will run three trucks in 2016 a season after seven drivers competed over the course of 2015 for KBM, including Daniel Suarez in 13 races.

“To have three Truck series teams, I think that’s good,” Busch said. “I mean, we could be four, but I’ve still got to be able to get the third team up and running and as good as I want it to be with crew chief and leadership and team and people and everything like that.

“I feel really good with where we’re at with the two, with Rudy Fugle and Jerry Baxter being the two crew chiefs on those two trucks.”

Fugle served as crew chief on Erik Jones’ No. 4 Toyota Tundra, which won three races in its championship campaign. Baxter worked with Busch, Matt Tifft, Christopher Bell and Daniel Suarez.

The young drivers in the full-time trucks next season are William Byron and Bell. Byron, 17, won the K&N Pro Series East title and made his Truck debut two weeks ago at Phoenix.

Bell, 20, comes from a dirt racing background and drove in seven Truck races for KBM in 2015, winning the third annual Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway in his third start.

Busch doesn’t have any illusions either driver will follow-up Jones’ title in their first full seasons in the Truck series.

“I’m definitely optimistic that we could have a decent year,” Busch said. “I’m certainly not expecting any of them to contend for a championship, although they may. They may surprise me, and that’s fine.”

Of Byron, Busch said the K&N champion “certainly caught our eye with his success that he’s had over just the short period of time he’s been in a race car the last couple of seasons.”

Busch, a 44-time winner in the Truck series, had more to say about Bell and his transition to pavement. Bell had one win and three top-10 finishes in his seven starts.

“I think that he ran reasonably well,” Busch said. “I’m sure he learned a ton. I’ve definitely talked to him a little bit here and there about his experiences thus far this year in the Truck series races that he ran. As far as running on dirt, that was all we expected him to do, so that was pretty cool for him to get that first (win) out of the way.

“But now moving him to pavement and especially moving him to the mile‑and‑a‑half races and to Daytona as his first race next year, we’ve got to make sure that I and we give them the best opportunity to succeed with equipment, as well as with myself, and just being able to communicate with them and talk to them and give them everything that they need to lean on me and ask me all the questions that they can in order to have everything they need to be prepared for each week.”

2021 NASCAR Cup schedule features new tracks, bold changes

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The 2021 Cup schedule features the first race on a dirt track for the series in more than 50 years, three new venues and six road course points races.

Responding to fan interest, the series adds three road course events to the 2021 schedule. Those new races are May 23 at Circuit of the Americas, July 4 at Road America and Aug. 15 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The other points races on road courses in 2021 will be at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. The Daytona road course will host the Busch Clash exhibition race.

The race that might gain the most attention, though, could be the March 28 Cup race at Bristol. The track will be converted to dirt.

There are no midweek races. Pocono Raceway continues to have the only doubleheader weekend. There is a two-week break in late July/early August during the Olympics. NBC’s portion of the schedule will begin with the June 20 race at Nashville Superspeedway.

The schedule is flush with change. Here’s a look at those changes:


March 28 – Bristol Dirt race: It is the first Cup race on dirt since 1970 at Raleigh, a race won by Richard Petty.

May 9 – Darlington: The track that NASCAR returned to after the season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic this year will host two races in 2021. The track adds a spring date and it will be run on Mother’s Day. It will be only the third time in the last 40 years Cup has run on Mother’s Day. The added race comes from Chicagoland Speedway, which will not have any NASCAR events in 2021.

May 23 – Circuit of the Americas: Inaugural race for the series on the road course in Austin, Texas that has hosted Formula One and IndyCar, among other series.

June 13 – All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway: First time the All-Star race has been held at this track. Marks third different year for the event after being in Charlotte in 2019 and Bristol this year.

June 20 – Nashville: The 1.333-mile track will hold its first race for Cup. The track hosted Xfinity and Truck races from 2001-11. The date comes from a Dover, leaving that race with one NASCAR race weekend in 2021. This weekend begins NBC Sports’ coverage of NASCAR races.

July 4- Road America: Will host the Cup Series for the first time. Gets holiday weekend with July 4 date. The date comes from Michigan, leaving that track with one NASCAR race weekend in 2021.

July 11 – Atlanta: Kentucky race date moves to Atlanta to give track a second race. The first race at the track in 2021 will be March 21.

Aug. 15 – Indianapolis road course: After comping on the oval since 1994, Cup moves to the road course. Will be a part of a race weekend with the IndyCar Series. 


Feb. 21 – Miami: Moves to second race of the season and comes a week after Daytona 500.

Feb. 28 – Auto Club: Moves up a week earlier and this will be its last race as a 2-mile track. Track will be converted into a short track after this event for 2022.

April 10 – Martinsville: Track hosted its first night race in June but did not have fans because of the coronavirus. This April race will be at night. Provided fans will be allowed at that point, it will be their first time to witness a night Cup race there.

July 25 & Aug. 1: No Cup races because of the Olympics. 

Sept. 5 – Nov. 7: Cup playoffs. Same 10 tracks as 2020. Only difference is Texas and Kansas flip-flop weekends in the Round of 8. Texas will open that round on Oct. 17. Kansas will follow on Oct. 24. Round of 8 ends at Martinsville on Oct. 31. Phoenix again will host the title race, doing so Nov. 7.



(Times, weekend schedule and TV info to be announced later)


Date Race / Track
Tuesday, February 9 Clash (Daytona Road Course)
Thursday, February 11 Duel at Daytona
Sunday, February 14 Daytona 500
Sunday, February 21 Homestead-Miami
Sunday, February 28 Auto Club
Sunday, March 7 Las Vegas
Sunday, March 14 Phoenix
Sunday, March 21 Atlanta
Sunday, March 28 Bristol Dirt
Saturday, April 10 Martinsville
Sunday, April 18 Richmond
Sunday, April 25 Talladega
Sunday, May 2 Kansas
Sunday, May 9 Darlington
Sunday, May 16 Dover
Sunday, May 23 COTA
Sunday, May 30 Charlotte
Sunday, June 6 Sonoma
Sunday, June 13 All-Star (Texas)
Sunday, June 20 Nashville Superspeedway
Saturday & Sunday, June 26-27 Pocono Doubleheader
Sunday, July 4 Road America
Sunday, July 11 Atlanta
Sunday, July 18 New Hampshire
Sunday, August 8 Watkins Glen
Sunday, August 15 Indianapolis Road Course
Sunday, August 22 Michigan
Saturday, August 28 Daytona
Sunday, September 5 Darlington
Saturday, September 11 Richmond
Saturday, September 18 Bristol
Sunday, September 26 Las Vegas
Sunday, October 3 Talladega
Sunday, October 10 Charlotte Roval
Sunday, October 17 Texas
Sunday, October 24 Kansas
Sunday, October 31 Martinsville
Sunday, November 7 Phoenix
  • Races in bold are playoff races



All-Star Race moves to Texas in 2021

All-Star Race
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The All-Star Race moves to Texas Motor Speedway in 2021, marking the third different track the event will held in a three-year period.

The 2021 race will be held June 13, the track announced Wednesday. Eddie Gossage, track president, said the race will be at night. He said he will talk to NASCAR about a format and wants to have fans play a role in the event.

The complete 2021 Cup schedule will be announced Wednesday afternoon by NASCAR.

MORE: COTA to host Cup road course race in 2021

MORE: 2021 Cup schedule features new tracks, bold changes 

The All-Star Race was held from 1985-2019 at Charlotte Motor Speedway except for 1986 when Atlanta Motor Speedway held the race. The event moved to Bristol Motor Speedway in July because of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings in North Carolina.

Chase Elliott won Bristol All-Star Race.

Texas also announced it will host a NASCAR Camping World Truck race June 11 on All-Star weekend. The Xfinity Series will race June 12.

Texas will remain in the playoffs in 2021. It will host a Cup playoff race Oct. 17. The Xfinity Series will race at Texas on Oct. 16.

NASCAR Cup Series to go dirt trackin’ at Bristol in 2021

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Cup teams will compete on a dirt track for the first time in more than 50 years when the series races March 28 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the track announced. 

The full Cup schedule is set to be released at 3:30 p.m. ET today.

“Bristol Motor Speedway has hosted many historic events over the years and we will be adding to that resume,” Jerry Caldwell, general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, said on Wednesday. “We can’t wait to see how the stars of NASCAR take to the dirt.”

MORE: 2021 Cup schedule features new tracks, bold changes 

Said Austin Dillon of the race on dirt: “I’m super pumped. … I’m hoping it becomes a staple.”

Caldwell said the track will work with NASCAR on the race format for the dirt event.

“This is returning to our roots in racing,” Caldwell said. He noted that this concept has been talked about for “awhile.” He also said the track will “explore other options” on any other series that could race on dirt beyond NASCAR.

Caldwell said the change comes from feedback from fans. Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports President and CEO, said Wednesday that he pitched the idea of a dirt race at Bristol for the 2020 schedule.

Bristol hosted dirt races in 2000-01 with the World of Outlaws (see video below of 2001 race) and dirt late models. The track used 14,000 truckloads of dirt for the project.

The last Cup race on dirt was Sept. 30, 1970 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Richard Petty won a 200-lap race on the half-mile track. He earned $1,000. Petty was among one of five Hall of Famers in the 23-car field that day. Bobby Isaac finished third, Bobby Allison placed sixth, Benny Parsons was 14th, Wendell Scott placed 20th.

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series raced on dirt at Eldora Speedway from 2013-19. It was not held this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Bristol also will host a second race. That event again will be in the playoffs. The Sept. 18 race again will be an elimination race in the first round. The playoff race will be on the concrete track surface.

Road America to host 2021 Cup race on July 4

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Food, fireworks and road course racing will fill the July 4 calendar for NASCAR fans with Road America hosting the Cup series on that holiday weekend in 2021.

The track announced the race date Wednesday. The full Cup schedule is set to be released at 3:30 p.m. ET today.

The 4.048-mile course has hosted Xfinity races since 2010. Among the current Cup drivers who won there in the Xfinity Series are Michael McDowell in 2016 and Christopher Bell in 2019.

MORE: Cup to run on Indy road course in 2021

MORE: Circuit of the Americas to host Cup for first time in 2021

MORE: 2021 Cup schedule features new tracks, bold changes 

The track takes the holiday date that had been held by Daytona International Speedway from 1959-2018 before Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the Cup Series that weekend last year.

“We certainly have been working very close with (Road America) not only how we bring this to life but, ultimately, where it was going to be located on the schedule,” Ben Kennedy, NASCAR vice president of racing operations, told NBC Sports, said of adding the Wisconsin track to the schedule. “We started to really toss around the idea of hey, what about July 4th weekend and what would that look like for the track?

“Just even the name, Road America, it feels like Americana and the July 4th weekend and everything. Fireworks, camping and cookout, everything that goes along with it. That track is almost synonymous with it. I think that’s where we really ended up kind of tying Road America to July 4th weekend. Working with NBC on that as well, they are certainly very bullish on it and excited about having Road America on that weekend.”

Tim Flock won the lone Cup race at Road America in 1956. Flock was among nine NASCAR Hall of Famers among the 26 drivers in that race. Others included Fireball Roberts (third), Herb Thomas (sixth), Buck Baker (eighth), Rex White (11th), Lee Petty (13th), Joe Weatherly (20th), Curtis Turner (24th) and Junior Johnson (26th).