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Phoenix Notes: Busch Open To Open Wheeler

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, November 12 2010

Kyle Busch is interested in hiring IndyCar's Tony Kanaan to drive in the Camping World Truck Series for him. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Kyle Busch and Tony Kanaan have a sweet relationship. Busch drives a Sprint Cup car sponsored by the company which makes M&Ms candies and Kanaan used to drive an Indycar sponsored by the same company and was sponsored by Snickers candy bars.

Could they become even better friends in the future?

Could be, Busch said when asked Friday if he has talked to the Brazilian about driving for Kyle Busch Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

“I’ve had a conversation with Tony about it, and whether he’s interested or not,” Busch said at Phoenix International Raceway, where he will race in all three NASCAR events this weekend. “He’s yet to kind of come back to me with anything.  I told him that with Toyota’s support and with the support of the truck series, I think it would be kind of fun to see him.  We’ve seen it with Danica (Patrick), we’ve seen it with Dario (Franchitti) and some of those guys that have come over and given it a try.”

Kanaan, a former IndyCar champion who lost his sponsorship and had to be let go by Andretti Autosport during the off season, has zero experience in a race car with fenders. That makes zero difference, Busch said.

“I feel like it’s no different than a young driver. Tony Kanaan having all the experience he has with going 230 MPH or whatever it is in IRL can come to NASCAR, but yet start small.  Start in the Truck Series, start with a good team where you can do some testing,” Busch said.

“Well you can’t test at race tracks we race at but we can go other places like Gateway is now off the schedule and a couple other places we go to.  Anyways, test him a little bit, get his feet wet.  Get him in some good equipment, go out there and run some races and get some experience maybe next year and maybe 2012 go on in a full year.  That’s kind of what I explained to him, so whether or not he wants to do that or venture down this pathway I respect his decision to stay in the IRL, that’s where he’s made his bread and butter and that’s where he’s really good.  If that’s where he decides to stay, that’s good for him.”

The plan: Jimmie Jonson was asked Friday if need needs to win Sunday in order to extend his championship streak to five.

Depends, he said.

“We have to beat him (Denny Hamlin),” Johnson, who is 33 points behind Hamlin, said. “I’m not sure where they’re going to finish, but again, we need to expect the best out of them and that’s going to be those guys running up front.  We need to lead a lap, hopefully lead the most laps and win the race.  Again, at the end of the day, it’s relative to where he’s running or where he finishes and we just don’t know until we get on the track and get out there and see what goes on in the race.”

Fueled by emotions: Kyle Busch was a great sidebar last week in Texas. He gave a NASCAR official the finger as the official stood in front of his car to hold him in the pits to serve a speeding penalty.

Busch was fined for the bird this week. Friday he was asked if he thought he needed to control his emotions better.

“Certainly to a point you agree,” he said. “But, I think for myself there is a fire that has helped me win the races that I’ve been able to win, but it’s also cost me in some other times – which was the instance last weekend which was inappropriate and childish, what have you.  I made a mistake.  I regret the mistake that I made last week.  In going forward now – it’s not where I’m in the beginning of growing up.  I’m definitely not to the end.  I’m somewhere in between.

“So, there’s a balance there.  And, obviously I haven’t learned exactly everything that I’ve wanted to learn yet about being able to control my emotions, or what have you.  So, there’s a better way to do things.  And I haven’t quite conquered that.  Where I’m at, I couldn’t tell you.  But, whether or not that is the cause for me not being able to contend for a championship I’d have to disagree 100 percent.  I won a Nationwide Series championship last year as the same person I am.  This year, I feel like we were in contention up until we had a couple bad races.”

Hornaday coming back: Kevin Harvick Inc. announced that four-time truck series champion Ron Hornaday has signed a multi-year agreement to compete for the team’s truck series program in 2011. Hornaday will return to pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado and compete for his fifth-career Truck Series championship.

“We are very excited and proud to have Ron Hornaday back behind the wheel of the No. 33 truck,” said KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick. “Ron has been an integral part of our Truck Series program since he joined KHI in 2005. He has driven our organization to two Truck Series championships, and I firmly believe that we will continue to compete for Truck Series championships with Hornaday as our driver.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, November 12 2010
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