Twice As Nice For Busch
March 2, 2004 | 10:35 A.M. EST
"It's definitely a big deal to make my Nextel Cup debut in my hometown," said Busch. Especially with an organization like Hendrick Motorsports, but you have to treat this weekend like any other race. I can't let what I'm trying to do with the Cup car negatively affect what we're trying to accomplish in the Lowe's Chevrolet on the Busch Series side. We want to win the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award, and we're trying to get into the top-10 in points. Saturday is just as important a day for me as Sunday will be.
"I hope I can qualify the Cup car in the top-20 and put it solidly in the show. I want to go out and gain some experience racing against the veterans and keep the fenders on the car. I think a top-15 finish would be great, but I just want to stay out of trouble and do my best for Mr. Hendrick and the team."
Busch may not have much experience on the 1.5-mile tri-oval at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), but he's logged a lot of laps at several of the other tracks that make up the LVMS complex. From 1999-2003, Busch captured more than 65 career victories in a Legends car at LVMS. Those wins came on almost every track at the complex, including the 1.1-mile and 1.7-mile road courses, the .5-mile dirt oval, and the paved oval known as "The Bullring."
In 1999, Busch won the track championship and the Nevada State Championship in the Legends Semi-Pro Division, and missed winning the national championship by just two points. The following season, he claimed the track and state championships in the Legends Pro Division, but fell shy of the national title by 12 points. In 2001, Busch, shortly after turning 16 years of age, won the first Late Model race he ever entered at LVMS. He went on to win 10 of the 15 races he competed in that season.
Busch has a full calendar when he arrives in Las Vegas, and will be kept hopping the entire weekend. Beginning at 6 a.m. PT on Thursday, March 4, Busch will participate in a local media tour on behalf of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, then is scheduled to shoot a video Public Service Announcement for the National Weather Service. Next up is an interview with the FX Television Network, followed by a press conference in downtown Las Vegas early that afternoon.
Busch will sign autographs for fans at the NASCAR Café Restaurant from 4-5 p.m. PT, then head over to Sam’s Town Casino to participate in the Speedway Children’s Charities Driver Auction at 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Before he can call it a night, Busch will make one last stop at The Orleans Casino, where he'll be a guest on a special edition of "Fast Talk Live," a radio show airing live on the Performance Racing Network (PRN) from 8-9 p.m. PT.