Kyle Busch makes his return to Super Late Model racing Tuesday night at Wisconsin International Raceway, competing in the Gandrud Auto Group 250. Busch is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of his Late Model at the tricky Kaukauna, Wisconsin facility.
Busch spoke about Tuesday’s race on Speed51’s “The Bullring,” as he looks forward to the opportunity to compete in a midweek race.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Busch said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get behind the wheel of the Late Models at Las Vegas when we first ran the Rowdy [Energy] scheme. I ran my first race of the year out there, and then all the COVID stuff shut everything down.
“I was looking at the schedules, trying to find somewhere to go, somewhere to run. It’s obviously easier to run during the week. Gregg and the Midwest Tour guys always put on the Tuesday show around August 4. I know that date because it’s my brother’s birthday, so I’m looking forward to going up there and not having to go to a dinner.”
Wisconsin International Raceway is undoubtedly a unique facility. The half-mile oval features a dogleg on the frontstretch, with turns one and two featuring very different characteristics than turns three and four.
“I think what makes race tracks unique is their character. Kaukauna isn’t a traditional oval. I wouldn’t even call it a D-oval, I have no idea what kind of oval it is.”
Busch described a lap around the track and the challenges drivers will face 250 times on Tuesday.
“You get off into turn one and have a smooth transition going in there, but it’s pretty rough and bumpy and it’s uphill going into the center of the corner. Then you get to the middle and start heading downhill for the exit. You have to have good lateral grip both in and off the corner there.
“Then you go off into turn three and it picks up a little bit of banking at that end, but there’s a bump down there similar to turn three at Pensacola. You try to wrap the bottom as well as you can, but the lower you get off turn four, the bumpier it gets so it really launches your car. It makes it bounce on the exit of turn four and then this wall comes at you really fast off turn four. It’s even leaning in a little bit towards the race track and coming at you.”
The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is also looking forward to competing with some of the top racers from the Midwest. The Gandrud Auto Group 250 always draws a star-studded field, with $10,000 on the line.
“I enjoy going up there, those guys are great. You’re always racing against the likes of [Dan] Fredrickson and [Ty] Majeski. You’ve got [Casey] Johnson up there who is fast lately. Of course, Jonathan Eilen and a few of the guys who have been in the series for a long, long time. I remember their names from when our Super Late Model program started in 2007.”
He’ll also be racing against one of the best to ever race a Super Late Model, Bubba Pollard. Fresh off his second Blizzard Series win of the year at Five Flags Speedway (FL), Pollard will be looking for another big win on Tuesday.
Busch admitted he is blown away by how quickly drivers such as Pollard can adapt to short tracks around the country.
“I am baffled by how Bubba Pollard can show up to as many tracks as they go to. Maybe they have a 50-minute practice or an hour and a half or whatever, he’ll go out there and run five laps. He’ll come in, sit for 30 minutes, go back out there and run five or six laps, maybe, and that’s it. He’s ready to go.
“It’s like ‘Hold on a second, say what?’ We’re busting our butts for the entire hour and a half trying to find ways to make our car better, go faster, give me a feel where I can compete. He already knows what he wants, he already has that feel and knows how to make these cars go fast.”
While some on social media may decry Busch competing with the short track heroes, he doesn’t put much stock into their concerns. Instead, he hopes to enjoy a night in his Super Late Model and compete for a win.
“I’ve been around it ever since I got to NASCAR. It doesn’t bother me as much. It’s just an opportunity for people to voice the pain in their own life.
“If they don’t want to be there or don’t want to watch, then don’t. I have a good feeling we’ll go up there, put on a great race in front of a full crowd, and have a lot of fun. Hopefully, we’re good enough that we can run up front and put on a race for the win.”
Race fans can watch Busch compete in the Gandrud Auto Group 250 live on Speed51 Tuesday night. Click here to order your pay-per-view of Tuesday’s broadcast.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo