Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin have to “watch their backs”

LOUDON, NH - JULY 14: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. – Kyle Busch has always had an eye for talent. He just hopes his acumen in identifying and nurturing future stars doesn’t come back to bite him.

Busch “discovered” current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Erik Jones at the 2012 Snowball in Pensacola, Fla., where Jones found the perfect way to make Busch notice—by beating him.

After a year at Furniture Row Racing, Jones will move to Joe Gibbs Racing next season as Busch’s teammate, supplanting Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota. Kenseth has not announced his plans for 2018, saying last week at Kentucky last weekend that he does not yet have a deal for next year.

Daniel Suarez is a rookie with JGR this season, having jumped into the No. 19 Toyota after Carl Edwards abruptly announced his departure during the offseason. That leaves Busch and Denny Hamlin as the two drivers with the most seniority.

Busch hired both Jones and Suarez as drivers for his Kyle Busch Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team, and as of next year, both will be his teammates at JGR.

That circumstance is enough to make Busch wary, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way.

“If you look at it now, that’s me, Denny, Daniel and Erik, so either myself or Denny are the next two out, if I continue to feed them through KBM as quickly as I have been, so we’re watching our backs,” Busch quipped. “That’s for sure.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.