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.”

COTA Cup starting lineup


Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, who has won two of the first five races of the season, will lead the Cup field to the green flag Sunday at Circuit of the Americas.

Byron will be joined on the front row of the starting lineup by Tyler Reddick, the only driver to win multiple races at road courses last year.

MORE: COTA Cup starting lineup

Austin Cindric starts third and is joined in the second row by Jordan Taylor, who is filling in for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick car.

Taylor’s performance is the best qualifying effort by a driver making their Cup debut since Boris Said started second in his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.

William Byron wins Cup pole at COTA


William Byron will start on the pole for Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas.

Byron won the pole with a lap of 93.882 mph around the 3.41-mile road course Saturday. He becomes the first Cup driver to win a pole at four different road courses: Charlotte Roval (2019), Road America (2021), Indianapolis road course (2021) and COTA (2023).

MORE: COTA Cup starting lineup

Byron will be joined on the front row by Tyler Reddick, who had posted the fastest lap in Friday’s practice and fastest lap in the opening round of qualifying Saturday. Reddick qualified at 93.783 mph.

Austin Cindric (93.459 mph) qualified third. Former IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, substituting for an injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, qualified fourth with a lap of 93.174 mph. AJ Allmendinger (93.067) will start fifth.

Taylor’s performance is the best qualifying effort by a driver making their Cup debut since Boris Said started second in his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.

Ross Chastain, who won this event a year ago, qualified 12th. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen qualified 22nd, former world champion Jenson Button qualified 24th, seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson qualified 31st and IndyCar driver Conor Daly qualified 35th.

Sunday Cup race at Circuit of the Americas: Start time, TV info, weather


Is this Toyota’s weekend?

Chevrolet won the first four races of the season. Ford won last weekend with Joey Logano at Atlanta. Is it Toyota’s turn to win its first Cup race of the season? Or does Chevrolet return to dominance?

Chevrolet drivers have won 11 of the past 12 Cup races on road courses. The exception was Christopher Bell‘s win for Toyota at the Charlotte Roval in last year’s playoffs. Chevrolets have won the two previous Cup races at COTA: Chase Elliott in 2021 and Ross Chastain in 2022.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: Brendan Hunt, who plays Coach Beard in “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV+, will give the command to start engines at 3:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting at 2:45 p.m. … Driver introductions at 3:05 p.m. … Invocation will be given by Sage Steele, ESPN broadcaster, at 3:30 p.m. … Jaime Camil, actor from “Schmigadoon” on Apple TV+, will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 68 laps (231.88 miles) on the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 15. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Pre-race coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and moves to Fox at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and will also stream at; SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground – Mostly cloudy with a high of 80 degrees and a 2% chance of rain at the start of the race.

STARTING LINEUP: COTA Cup starting lineup

LAST YEAR: Ross Chastain scored his first career Cup win in a physical battle with AJ Allmendinger on the final lap. Alex Bowman finished second. Christopher Bell placed third.


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NASCAR Saturday schedule at Circuit of the Americas


Saturday will be a busy day at Circuit of the Americas, as all three national series are on the track.

Cup will qualify ahead of the Craftsman Truck and Xfinity Series races.

The forecast Saturday calls for sunny conditions and no chance of rain all day. The high is expected to be 69 degrees during Cup qualifying, 76 degrees at the start of the Truck race and 81 degrees for the start of the Xfinity race.

Zane Smith looks to win his second consecutive Truck race at the road course in Austin, Texas. AJ Allmendinger seeks his second consecutive Xfinity win at COTA.

Saturday, March 25

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m.  — Truck Series
  • 2 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (42 laps, 143 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 5 p.m. — Xfinity race (46 laps, 156 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)