Kyle Busch Motorsports is moving up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series on a full-time basis in 2012, team owner Kyle Busch announced Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.
Busch said he was unable to provide details on a sponsor, driver or crew chief for the team, but said he was announcing the move before it could be leaked online.
The announcement comes as rumors about Monster Energy Drink and Ricky Carmichael coming to KBM have picked up steam in recent weeks. NOS Energy would depart Kyle Busch Motorsports as a sponsor if Monster joined the team.
"Obviously, it takes funding to do these deals and we wouldn't be able to do it without the partner that we have acquired," Busch said. "Working with them and going through all the due diligence and getting everything put down on paper, certainly it's been an exciting time."
Busch said the Nationwide effort would be full-time, but indicated the car would have at least two different drivers.
"It's safe to assume that I will be running in some Nationwide races at Kyle Busch Motorsports," he said. "I will also still commit to my current obligations that I have at (Joe Gibbs Racing) and run over there, too. I'll be split between two Nationwide teams, essentially, driving some races."
KBM will continue to run a full-time Truck Series team, Busch said. If the mystery driver is indeed Carmichael, perhaps it would allow the motorcycle legend to keep running some Truck races on the weekends when Busch is in the KBM Nationwide car.
Busch said he was confident that his role as a Nationwide team owner wouldn't change his focus on winning a Sprint Cup Series title.
"Going forward into the ownership role, my idea is to have a foundation of a company that will run off itself," he said. "Rick Hendrick isn't there every single day making sure the inner workings of Hendrick Motorsports work correctly. He's got the people in the right places to do that for him.
"...That's my idea with KBM just as well. To have (general manager) Rick Ren, to have our PR department, our marketing department and all that stuff just doing its own deal where it can survive without me there on a daily basis."
UPDATE: We caught up with Carmichael after qualifying and asked him the possibility of him moving to KBM along with Monster. This is what he said:
"You know more than I know, because that's funny. I was out in California this week and was at Monster headquarters, and they didn't tell me anything. They take pretty good care of me, so if that was the truth, you know, I'd have something to tell you.
"Unfortunately, it's news to me. I got a pretty good deal where I'm at (Turner Motorsports), and with Chevrolet. Like I said, I haven't heard anything about it. So you guys know more than me."