54 Monster Energy Camry Third at Michigan International Speedway

Date: June 16, 2012
Event: Alliance Auto Parts 250 (Race 13 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Nationwide Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile tri-oval)
Start/Finish: 15th/ 3rd (Running, completed 125 of 125 laps)
Winner: Joey Logano of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Momentum is high as the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team continues to prove they are competitive in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In only 13 weeks of racing for the young program, built by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, and with a third-place finish by Kurt Busch in yesterday’s event, KBM now records eight top-ten and six top-five finishes.

Busch started the Alliance Auto Parts 250 from the 15th qualifying position and jumped six positions within the first lap of the race. In that same lap however, the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry sustained damage to the lower nose and hood of the car when the No. 7 car spun suddenly in front of Busch, leaving no room for him to maneuver away from hitting the No. 22 machine. While the yellow flag was out for track clean up, the KBM team repaired the car by taping down the damaged areas.

The team restarted in the 36th position and in Busch fashion, was back in the top 15 by lap 15. Initial feedback from the driver was that the car was, “a little snug into three with a tailwind pushing us down the back.” Despite windy conditions, race speeds were high on the newly paved two-mile speedway, reaching the 190 mph mark in some cases.

A race caution on lap 25 allowed the No. 54 Toyota team to visit pit road for adjustments to the car. With air pressure and spring changes, crew chief Mike Beam was hopeful the car’s handling would loosen up for the veteran driver. While in the 12th position going into pit road, a slow pit stop to check tape and front-end damage from earlier in the race, caused the team to restart in the 25th position.

“The race car was just coming around to us, but still a little loose,” explained Busch as the next race caution-flag waved on lap 48. Reversing adjustments made on the previous stop, Beam and crew set the car back to how it was at race start. By lap 58 of the 125-lap event, the Monster Energy Athlete was in the third position and began to run his fastest lap times, telling the crew he was able to run the car “wide open” across half the racetrack. “We are good in turn four, that’s where we are beating them,” relayed Busch. Radio communications from the spotter and crew chief encouraged the No. 54 driver with lap times recorded faster than race frontrunners Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler, timed 3.8 seconds ahead.

The only green-flag pit stop of the day came at lap 88 with further car changes to the Monster Energy Camry and after the field cycled through pit road, the KBM No. 54 returned to the track and regained third position. Three more race cautions would occur through the final laps of the event including one red-flag session where cars were parked on the backstretch for cleanup efforts from a two-car incident.

Knowing the race was winding down, competitors became anxious on the final two restarts. Busch himself was caught in traffic and dropped back as far as eighth, but made an aggressive recovery with an outside pass around the field. The No. 54 Monster Energy team would complete their first Michigan NNS event in third place.

Explained Busch post race, “I felt like we did the best we could with the damage from that first spin by Danica (Patrick) — I didn’t see where she was in the top groove and a bunch of us were on the bottom side racing hard. I hit the back of the 22 (Brad Keselowski). Keselowski had some damage and we had to work our way back up from all that repair work and worked our way back up a couple times from starting in the back and brought the Monster Energy car home in third today. A little too much damage I thought when I got out of the car and looked at it I was like, ‘Woo, that was definitely slowing us up on the straightaway a little bit.’ The hood wasn’t sealed to the nose so it was a great finish all in all with all the teamwork that went into it — good, solid pit stops. It was great to bring Kyle’s (Busch, team owner) car home with a top-three finish and just kind of keep building on what KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) is doing.”

Joey Logano recorded the first win for Toyota at a Nationwide Series race at Michigan, which was his fifth victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year and 14th of his career. James Buesher followed .208 seconds behind in the second-finishing spot while Busch, Cole Whitt and pole-sitter Austin Dillon completed the top-five finishers. There were seven caution periods for 26 laps of the race along with fourteen lead changes across 10 drivers.

The No. 54 Monster Energy team remains ninth in the Owner’s Point standings, 95 points from the leader.

The Nationwide Series continues action June 23 at the Sargento 200 from Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The television broadcast will start at 3:00pm EST on ESPN and at 3:30pm EST on the MRN radio broadcast. Kurt Busch will make his seventh start of the season behind the wheel of the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.

About Monster Beverage Company:
Based in Corona, California, Monster Energy refuses to acknowledge the traditional and the disingenuous. Monster always supports the scene and the sport. Whether it be motocross, off-road, NASCAR, MotoGP, BMX, surf, snowboard, ski, skateboard, or the rock and roll lifestyle, Monster is a brand that believes in authenticity and the core of what its sports, athletes and musicians symbolize. Much more than a drink, it’s a way of life lived by our athletes, sports, bands, believers and fans. See more about Monster Beverage Company – including all of its drinks – at www.monsterenergy.com and Facebook.com/MonsterEnergy.

About Mad Media:
Mad Media (www.madmedia.com) is a San Diego based marketing and creative agency offering professional print, web, and film production. They specialize in producing culturally relevant brand messaging using professional athletes, musicians, and artists. Mad Media focuses on sports and cultures that they are passionate about, including skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, motocross, FMX, BMX, off-road racing, rally racing, Hip-Hop, Punk Rock and Mixed Martial Arts. Mad Media has produced over twenty major commercial and viral film projects this year for clients such as Subaru of America, DC Shoes, Monster Energy Drink, and Harley-Davidson. Mad Media has been executing immersive marketing campaigns since 1996.

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Matt Martelli
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