The new Kyle Busch Motorsports team likely will be a force to be reckoned with in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from the time the green flag falls at Daytona International Speedway next February.
Although Busch will be getting his first taste of ownership in one of NASCAR's top three divisions next year, already he has assembled a first-rate cast of talent around him, as well as equally good equipment. And that should put he and his squad in a position to win races and possibly contend for an owner's championship in 2010.
Busch himself has won 41 races in NASCAR's top-three divisions in the last two seasons. In the Truck Series alone, he has 16 victories in 69 starts, including seven in just 15 starts in 2009. At one point during the '09 season, Busch won five consecutive starts driving for Billy Ballew.
Heading Busch's new squad will be the steady veteran Rick Ren, who was the championship crew chief in two of the past three seasons with Ron Hornaday Jr. at Kevin Harvick Inc. Ren has more crew chief victories than anyone else in the NCWTS, and in his role as competition director will guide the team's at-track efforts.
In terms of equipment, Busch has purchased Xpress Motorsports, which won back-to-back Truck Series championships in 2002-03. And because Toyota has an open-book policy among all of its truck teams, Busch squadron will be armed with Tundras that should be every bit the equal of those fielded by his competitors.
On top of that, Busch has two promising young talents in his stable: Brian Ickler, who will pilot the No. 18 in the races that Busch himself doesn't compete in, and Tayler Malsam, who will go full time in the No. 56 KBM Toyota.
As a rookie in the Truck Series in 2009, Malsam finished 11th in points, with one top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in the No. 81 Randy Moss Motorsports entry. Ickler, meanwhile, had two top fives and three top 10s in just 15 starts, impressive numbers for the youngster.
And Busch is clearly high on the talented tandem. Asked last summer about the possibility of forming his own team, Busch said, "I'd love to own a team if the right situation came about. "Then I feel like it would be a great thing to do and I feel like my first choice for a driver would probably be with Brian Ickler."
Additionally, if sponsorship can be found, a third truck for the team is a possibility, but that hinges on funding. But regardless of whether the team ultimately fields two or three trucks, Busch's outfit should be strong from the start.
If the team is able to find a sponsor, Johnny Benson will drive the third KBM truck. But contrary to prior media reports, Exide is not under consideration as a sponsor because of Busch's relationship with Interstate Batteries through Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.