Kyle Busch Motorsports - Brian Ickler, Kyle Busch, Tayler Malsam
Rumors flew over the latter part of the 2009 season concerning Kyle Busch and his desire to field a Camping World Truck Series team in the near future. Some said it would never happen while others just waited for the official announcement. That announcement came last Friday (December 11) when the 24 year old Las Vegas native made the annoucement that Kyle Busch Motorsports would field two full time teams in 2010 with the possibility of a third once sponsorship had been secured.
Busch, who began Kyle Busch Motorsports back in 2007 as a late model venture is stepping into the big leagues with major sponsors, recognizable drivers, and a desire to win. Kyle Busch doesn't do anything half way and that's evident by the men he has hired to lead and drive his stable of Toyota Tundras.
Heading up the effort for Kyle Busch Motorsports will be Rick Ren. Ren is best known for leading the Kevin Harvick Incorporated team driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. to two NCWTS titles over the past three years. Ren who left KHI at the end of the season will serve as the director of competition for Kyle Busch Motorsports and said," I like the mix of experience and youth. Kyle is one of the most natural-ability guys who has ever come along in the racing world. There have been great racecar drivers, but Kyle has the opportunity to be one of the all-time greats. Getting the chance to help a guy like that who has a dream of building his own race team is an honor."
Behind the wheel of the #56 will be up and coming driver Tayler Malsam. The 20 year old Washington native is a relative newcomer to the series with just one season behind the wheel. Joining Ren and Malsam will be Brian Ickler. Ickler is another newcomer to the sport having driven a second Billy Ballew Motorsports team in 2009 alongside his mentor and now team owner. Ickler is set to drive the #18 which will be sponsored by Miccosukee Resorts and Gaming. Ickler will share the ride with Busch competing in events that do fit with Busch's Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series Schedule. A third team is in the works with Johnny Benson set to drive once sponsorship is found. Benson, the 2008 Series Champion, will provide experience and gudiance to this relatively young group of drivers.
What You Had to Say
Of course this annoucement has only fueled more questions concerning Busch. These questions were asked of our writers as well as those following us on Twitter.
1. Are you happy about the announcement for KBM in the truck series?
Overall the response to this question was positive. Most of our writers agree that the addition of KBM to the Camping World Truck Series lineup is a boost for the sport. Especially in filling the void left with the departure of Roush- Fenway Racing from the Truck Series. Our writer Rebecca said, "KMB's announcement has sparked anticipation of the series return for many fans." Also weighing in on this side was Kiara who said "This racing team is going to be good for him (Kyle). I think because it will give him something to look forward to if he is having a bad day on the Cup side.
On the other side of the debate comes this comment from Melissa who said, "I think that it's too bad. I applaud his drive and his desire to own racing teams.. but you know, I think that he's this *holds up two fingers verrrry close* to being able to compete with Johnson. If he worked on his racing and his consistency I bet he could do it. " That's a great point. Focus is often the reason given for why Busch hasn't been able to capitalize on his talent in the Sprint Cup Series over the past two seasons. It will be interesting to see how much of his focus goes into the Truck Series team and whether or not it hurts his efforts to dethrone Johnson and the Hendrick organization he once drove for.
2. Is 3 teams too many?
While KBM is set to field two full time teams in 2010 a third team is in the works.. Some people think that Busch would be better suited for success if he were to field only one team for his first season. Some believe he is biting of more than he can handle this early in the game, but others say the more the merrier. Gina said, "As much as I want JB to find sponsorship, I think starting out with 2 teams is better than jumping to 3 right away. Next season though, if everything goes good, I say go to 3."
3. Will becoming a team owner calm Busch down?
That firey personality is what Kyle's fans love about him. They love cheering for a guy who isn't afraid to say what he's thinking and they see his "tantrums" as passion. We've seen it before though. A driver who is known as a hot head becomes a team owner and suddenly some of that fire we love so much is gone. Just look at Kevin Harvick. Since the creation of KHI he's been less confrontational and the number of heated words between himself and his competitors has decreased tremendously, though on occasion the Happy of old rears his head. Let's not forget Tony Stewart who has been known to throw a helmet or two. He seems to be more relaxed as an owner and his success in 2009 proved that a new team can contend.
Our responsents were split down the middle as to whether owning team would be good for Busch and his attitude. Gina said, "I think it will calm him down. He'll see that he has a lot more responsibilities and I think it'll make him a better driver too." and Melissa chimed in again saying, " I sure hope not, I like his fire."
4. What about the choice in drivers? Like them? Hate them? Indifferent?
Most people don't care one way or another. To be honest most of the answers we got to this question were more happiness over the prospect of Johnny Benson getting a ride in 2010. Ickler and Malsam are relatively unknown names in NASCAR. While most agree that it's great that Busch is looking into young drivers for his team they are just waiting to see what Busch himself does in the weekends where he will be behind the wheel of the #18.
5. How long will it take the team to win a race?
@ronfrankl petty much summed up the responses we got to this question when he said, "KBM will be successful, particularly when the boss is behind wheel. Hiring Rick Ren from KHI put them on fast track to success." You can't argure with that. Ren was an asset to the Hornaday team at KHI and his experience will help Busch get his dream up and running. Most people aren't expecting Kyle Busch Motorsports to bring home a victory with Malsum or Ickler, but when you put Busch himself behind the wheel anything can happen.
For myself there are two sides to this story. There's the writer trying to be impartial and look at it from all angles. Then there is the the fan who knows what she wants to see happen. The skeptic writer Katy wonders if Busch is letting his dreams take over his life at such an early age. Is he more concerned with building a dynasty of his own as an owner than he is with earning a Sprint Cup Series title? Is he setting this up now in case things fall through on the cup side in the next few years? Is this his backup plan? Or is he getting in on the truck series at a point when it's actually growing in popularity? Is he taking a page out of the Tony Stewart Business Plan and taking advantage of everything he has been given in his short career? Will he see the same success Kevin Harvick has seen with his truck series teams? Will Kyle Busch Motorsports become the end all be all team of the future? That's the question on all of our minds.
The fan in me is jumping up and down having a field day with this. She's already been to the Kyle Busch Motorsport website and looked into ticket prices for the 2010 Truck Series races. She's waiting for that first piece of KBM merchandise to show up online and is pinching her pennies in order to pay for it. Fan Katy is exicted about the prospect and can't wait to see what KMB has in store for us in 2010.
Which Katy will be left standing at the end? Will it be skeptic writer Katy or will it be fan Katy? One things for sure with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the mix for 2010 it's going to be an awesome season!
A huge thanks to those who provided input for this piece!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of Skirts and Scuffs or its contributors.
Photo credit from KBM via NASCARMedia