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Busch Ready for California ‘Homecoming’

  • Aug 31, 2004

FONTANA, Calif. (Aug. 31, 2004) – Kyle Busch doesn’t hail from the Golden State, but the 19-year-old Las Vegas native still enjoys a homecoming of sorts when the NASCAR tour makes its bi-annual Southern California pit stop.

“California Speedway is a fun track, very much like Michigan,” Busch said.  “I always look forward to going there because, being so close to Las Vegas, I’ve got plenty of family and friends that can make the trip.

“It’s kind of like a homecoming.”

Busch, currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series championship standings, is looking to build upon May’s seventh-place effort in the first of two California stops.  With a series-leading five victories—two of which coming in the last three races—the rookie is hoping to keep August’s momentum rolling into his Labor Day weekend schedule at Fontana.

In this case, though, Busch is banking his momentum will also carry into NEXTEL Cup time trials Friday, when the youngster will attempt to qualify for his third career race at NASCAR’s most elite level.

“You certainly can take the momentum and put yourself in the mindset that you can go to California and have a good shot at running well,” said Busch, driver of the No. 84 CARQUEST Chevrolets.  “We’re probably going to have similar setups in both cars, so they should mirror each other somewhat.

“The goals are a little bit different.  On the Busch side, we’re second in points and pushing toward that top spot.  In the Cup Series, it’s more about getting some laps and gaining experience at a different level.”

The most recent effort by CARQUEST Racing was cut short by uncooperative weather at Michigan International Speedway two weeks ago.  Rain canceled Friday’s qualifying session, effectively dousing the team’s chances of making the Aug. 22 event.

While Team CARQUEST was disappointed with the hand dealt by Mother Nature, they’re now looking ahead to a chance at redemption this weekend.  The No. 84 Hendrick Motorsports squad, led by veteran crew chief Gary DeHart, will field the same car they planned to run at Michigan, a “sister” track to California with a similar two-mile layout.

“We’re taking the same car that we had at Michigan two weeks ago,” Busch said.  “It’s blown some awesome wind tunnel numbers and tested really well at Kentucky, so it’s great on paper.

“Hopefully the California weather holds up so we can put the CARQUEST Chevrolet in the show.”

Scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET green flag, Sunday’s Pop Secret 500 will be broadcast live from California Speedway by NBC and MRN Radio.

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