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Busch eyes moving team up to Nationwide Series

Jay Hart
Yahoo Sports
Busch eyes moving team up to Nationwide Series
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Kimi Raikkonen will make his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series on May 20

It's Kyle Busch's goal to take Kyle Busch Motorsports up to the Nationwide level, possibly as early as next season.

"I've told everybody here that KBM would like to go to Nationwide," Busch said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway. "We'd like to have a full-time Nationwide team next year and work toward that."

Busch started KBM last season as a single-truck operation in the Camping World Truck Series. He's made no secret about the organization being a losing venture financially. On the track, however, it's been a different story, thanks mostly to Busch himself. In its first year of operation, KBM won eight races (all by Busch) and collected the series' owner's championship.

KBM already has won two of the four races in the CWTS this season and made headlines recently by signing former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen to drive a handful of races.

It wasn't until after Raikkonen signed on that he and Busch had their first conversation. According to Busch, Raikkonen looked at number of teams before settling on KBM.

"Agents – that's how it came about," Busch explained. "He's shopped it around to quite a few teams and apparently we won the war.

"Kimi, from what I understand, was real adamant about trying to work with me and our teams and being able to put a deal together to go out there and try to get him success in NASCAR. With our trucks, the way we've been running this year, he felt like that was a good place for him to come."

Raikkonen has already tested twice for KBM, and Busch says the Finnish-born driver, who will make his NASCAR debut on May 20 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, is a fast learner.

"I got in the truck myself and ran some laps to see how I compared to where he was at on tires and stuff, and we ran identical lap times, so he's right there," Busch said. "He knows what he's doing."

Raikkonen isn't coming to NASCAR to toil in its double-A division. Busch said Raikkonen is interested in the Nationwide and Cup series. If Busch were to field a Nationwide team next season, Raikkonen would be a logical choice as driver.

To do that, however, Busch must get to work on building race cars. He said he's trying to figure that out now, whether his team builds the cars or they purchase them from Joe Gibbs Racing.

"If it came to be the right situation and we can get cars built or get cars from JGR, it would all be a telltale thing," he said. "So, we just have to wait and see.

"Right now our focus is on Charlotte and the truck race there and making sure we get the right stuff under Kimi, that he can run well and be good and get some results and some success."