LONG POND, Pa. — Kyle Busch’s dominance in the Gander Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series is well documented.
He’s won every series race he’s entered this season (five) and since 2013, his win percentage in the third-tier series is a whopping 57 percent (26-for-46).
The up-and-comers he’s tabbed to fill his lineup, however, aren’t quite pulling their weight. Through eight races, Todd Gilliland, a second-year racer in the Truck Series, is eighth in the standings, while Harrison Burton, in his first full-time Truck ride, is ninth.
The two have as many DNFS (did not finish) as top fives (three) and have combined to lead just 10 laps compared to Busch’s 575 in five races.
Asked to assess his Truck Series program, Kyle Busch Motorsports, to date, Busch said, “How do you want to assess it? … A one to 10? [Then] a two.”
“They ain’t doing s***, man,” he added. “They ain’t running good. I can go out there and win every single race by 10 seconds and they’re out there struggling along to finish seventh and 10th. That ain’t going to fly.”
When asked if he delivers his frustrations in that same, blunt, unfiltered tone, Busch sharply answered, “Yup.”
Outside of Busch, Noah Gragson accounts for the only two KBM victories the past two seasons. Up to that point, KBM had produced two of the previous Truck Series champions in Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
In 2016, William Byron drove the KBM entry to a series-high seven wins and fifth in the standings.
Over the the past two years, Gilliland (27 races), Burton (16 races), Brandon Jones (seven races), Christian Eckes (five races), Spencer Davis (five races), Riley Herbst (three races), Raphael Lessard (two races), David Gilliland (two races), Erik Jones (one race), and Logan Seavey (one race) have gone winless in their KBM starts.
While Busch didn’t specify, his words likely reflect Todd Gilliland’s performance the most, as the 19-year-old is winless in 33 career Truck Series starts. To Gilliland’s defense, he would be a race-winner if it wasn’t for Gragson’s aggressive move on the final turn at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park last summer.
Gilliland was leading until Gragson drove it hard into the right-hand turn, inadvertently wrecking them both as Justin Haley skirted on by to win.
But this year is different for Gilliland. He’s led just eight laps and has just one top five. Burton, meanwhile, might have a little more slack, given he hasn’t race majority of a season, but Busch is expecting results sooner than later. After averaging a seventh-place finish in eight total races last year, Burton’s average finish has inflated five positions this year to 12th.
Asked if he’s going to make a lineup change, Busch answered, “I don’t know. Maybe.”