Busch Unable To Defend
April 23, 2008 | 8:32 A.M. EST
This is the first time since the beginning of the Truck Series season that the Nationwide and Truck Series haven't run in conjunction with one another at the same track.
After evaluating the NASCAR schedules, it was impossible for Busch to drive in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 race in Kansas and in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series' races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Georgia native Shane Sieg will take the wheel of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra in place of Busch this weekend for the fifth Truck Series race of the season.
"It's a great opportunity to get back behind the wheel," Sieg said. "I know I have big shoes to fill but I just want to bring a good finish home to keep Billy as the team owner point leader."
In 2007, Sieg had three starts for the Billy Ballew Motorsports team, posting a best 10th-place finish at Loudon (New Hampshire).
"With Kyle's schedule at JGR this weekend, there was no way he could make the race in Kansas," Billy Ballew said. "Shane (Sieg) has driven for us before and is familiar with the equipment, giving us a top-10 in Loudon last year. We hope to leave Kansas still leading the owner's points and know Kyle can make up some ground in the driver's points when we race at Lowe's."
Even if missing Kansas does take Busch out of the points lead, which is very likely to happen since four drivers are only within 69 points, it doesn't mean he isn't capable of coming back and winning the series championship.
Previous champions have done it in the past, some coming from nearly 200 points out of the lead at one point during the season. With it still early in the season, anything is possible, especially if Busch is involved.
In the first four races, Busch has already captured half of the wins. His first being at Auto Club Speedway in California and then his second at Atlanta the following week. Busch has been the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings leader since his February victory in the San Bernardino County 200.
Nonetheless, those who trail only a few points behind him, are optimistic about the Kansas race.
Ron Hornaday Jr., who's currently third in the points, hopes to successfully get through Turn 3 and run with a good set of tires.
"Kansas Speedway is a pretty new track for the NASCAR Truck Series. I have only been in three truck races there, so we're still learning different things about the track. Turn three at Kansas can be slippery if the sun is out and the track temperature is hot. One of the main things you have do if you want a good run there is get through turn three without any trouble."
Most recent Truck Series winner this season at Martinsville, Dennis Setzer, who's currently fourth in the series points, looks to good fuel strategy as being his key for a win at Kansas.
"Kansas is another track we visit that is really at its prime right now," Setzer said. "It has been around for several years now, and the racing only gets better every time we return.
"I think heading to Kansas, you automatically think about fuel mileage strategy. It is not really a track you think about having a ton of cautions at, therefore you have to be prepared for green flag pit stops and the chance of having to save fuel. I have a lot of experience when it comes to saving fuel, so I kind of hope it comes down to that on Saturday afternoon."
Todd Bodine, who is currently second in the standings, is the only Tundra driver to win at Kansas in the five years the manufacturer has raced there. Also, the past three consecutive poles have been won from Toyota drivers - Skinner (2006 and 2007) and Bill Lester (2005).
Busch will return to truck action again on May 16 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 is set to run Saturday, April 26 at 6 p.m. (ET). Catch the 167-lap race live on SPEED, MRN, and SIRIUS Radio.