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HomeNewsKyle Busch Adelaide 500 wildcard in the works

Kyle Busch Adelaide 500 wildcard in the works

RICHARD Childress Racing and Erebus Motorsport are working towards fielding NASCAR superstar Kyle Busch as a wildcard in the 2024 Adelaide 500.

Childress, the 78-year-old NASCAR Hall of Famer, attended last weekend’s Supercars season finale as a guest of Erebus as part of a growing tie-up between the two teams.

Much public attention has focused on Childress’ interest in running Erebus’ newly crowned Supercars champion Brodie Kostecki in more NASCAR races following a maiden foray in August.

NEWS: NASCAR boss reveals big plans for Kostecki

However, talks are underway that could see two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Busch head in the other direction and tackle a Supercars event next year.

Adelaide is the only 2024 Supercars event that falls outside the gruelling NASCAR Cup schedule, the Aussie race to take place a week after the American series’ finale at Phoenix, Arizona.  

Richard Childress with Daniel Klimenko in Adelaide. Pic: Ross Gibb

“We’ve talked to him some about coming,” Childress told V8 Sleuth of Busch in Adelaide. “I think he might one of these days. He’d enjoy this.

“The track’s good, tight, the kind of racing that he’d like. I think he’d do good over here.”

Central to Childress’ interest in Erebus has been the Australian team’s ability to help with its NASCAR road course program amid a recent increase in the number of non-oval races on the schedule.

Those efforts continue this week, where Kostecki will co-drive in an endurance race at the Circuit of the Americas with Busch and NASCAR teammate Austin Dillon.

The Holden at RCR in North Carolina. Pic: Twitter

While they’ll use a purpose-built car for the race, all three will share a VF model Holden Commodore Supercar at the venue during practice on Friday.

RCR took delivery of the ex-Image Racing Commodore earlier this year and has been using it to help its drivers improve their road course skills without breaking NASCAR’s strict testing rules.

MORE: NASCAR champion details Holden Supercar test

That program is being run by Australian expat Andrew Dickeson, who once worked for Image Racing and is now entrenched as an engineer for Busch at RCR.

The key to the relationship between RCR and Erebus, Dickeson attended the Adelaide 500 alongside Childress and elaborated to V8 Sleuth on the potential Busch Supercars wildcard.

“It’s been discussed, roughly with Kyle,” he said. “Barry (Ryan, Erebus CEO) asked me about that, it works in with our schedule and the event organisers would love it.

“It’s not a wildcard event but I believe they (Supercars) would make an exception.

“We were at the State dinner the other night and the (South Australian) Premier came up and said he wanted him (Childress) to bring Kyle back next year, so I think we could make it happen.”

Dickeson stressed that Busch would unlikely have the sort of first-up success that Shane van Gisbergen enjoyed when he shocked the NASCAR world with victory on debut at Chicago in July.

Improving 38-year-old Busch’s road course skills is the bigger picture.

A Busch wildcard would be a major boost for the Adelaide 500. Pic: Supplied

“I think it’d be hard. He’d learn a lot, but it wouldn’t be easy,” he said.

“I’m not sure where he would run, but he wouldn’t come in and do what Shane did at Chicago. If he could run mid-pack, I think that’s a win.

“But the main thing for that from our point of view would be to make him better for when we come back (to the US). That’s what it’s all about, winning Cup races, winning a Cup championship for RCR.

“So if we can use this to help us get better, that’s how we get the gain.

Busch (#8) leads the pack at the Charlotte ‘Roval’ earlier this year. Pic: James Gilbert / Getty Images

“There’s no financial gain for us for him to come down here and win a race, because if he does, it’s still not on the scale of what the money is over there.

“It’s all about him getting better. I think it’d be a great experience for him, we’re going to work towards it.”

Busch has 63 Cup Series race wins to his credit, the highest of any current driver and ninth all-time, and sits atop the winners lists for the Xfinity Series (102 wins) and Truck Series (64 wins).

He joined RCR this season following a 15-year stint at Joe Gibbs Racing and took three Cup Series race victories for the Chevrolet team.

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