Busch to pilot the D'Hondt Motorsports No. 92 Toyota at the Glen

Updated: August 5, 2008

AP Photo/Tim Stewart

Will Kyle Busch smoke the Goodyears for the seventh time in 2008? Eddie D'Hondt hopes so.

Eddie D'Hondt wants to establish himself as an owner at the top levels of NASCAR, but things haven't exactly worked out so far. A former executive with Robert Yates Racing, he initially tried to start a team in conjunction with an established motorsports operation.

The formation of Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports was announced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August 2006, bringing together D'Hondt with Bill Riley, Bob Riley and Jim Matthews, partners in Riley Technologies, a builder of entries for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series among other racing-related endeavors.

The team ran several Nationwide Series events and one Sprint Cup Series race in 2007 but dissolved following the '07 season due to a lack of sponsorship. At that time, D'Hondt announced he planned to remain involved as an owner with the renamed D'Hondt Motorsports.

D'Hondt envisions running the full Nationwide Series schedule with driver Jack Bailey in 2009, but he's looking to jump-start things this season. And that's why none other than Kyle Busch will be in D'Hondt Motorsports' No. 92 Toyota at Watkins Glen.

Busch has six wins thus far, five with Joe Gibbs Racing and one with Braun Racing, but wasn't scheduled to race with either team this weekend. That was fortuitous for D'Hondt.

"I'm just good friends with Jeff Dickerson," D'Hondt said of Busch's business manager and race-day spotter. D'Hondt is Bobby Labonte's spotter, and the plan came together at the track. "An investor in our company came to the Las Vegas race with me and came up to the spotter's stand.

"We just started brainstorming about who we could get to drive, and I introduced him to Jeff, and [the investor] arbitrarily just said, 'What do we have to do to put Kyle in our car?' Montreal and Watkins Glen were open, so we said, 'OK, let's do those.'"

Things didn't work out for Montreal, but with sponsorship from Zippo (the race sponsor) and an associate sponsorship from Dietz & Watson, things fell in place for Watkins Glen. Busch has won his only two road-course starts this season, taking the Nationwide Series race in Mexico and the Sprint Cup race at Sonoma.

For now, the team plans to run the ARCA race at Talladega with Bailey and maybe a few Nationwide races later in the season. Any Nationwide events likely will feature one of Toyota's Cup drivers behind the wheel, but nothing is certain.

Earnhardt -- not Fellows -- entered at the Glen

Ron Fellows might have won in Montreal, but the driver with five wins at Watkins Glen won't be behind the wheel of the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the 1999 Nationwide Series race, will be doing the honors, courtesy of a schedule set long before Fellows' rain-shorted win.

Fellows has three Nationwide Series and two Craftsman Truck Series wins at Watkins Glen but isn't part of the 47-car field. Earnhardt is one of 15 Cup drivers entered, a list that includes Jimmie Johnson in a third JR Motorsports entry and semi-regulars Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick, who won this race in 2007.

Even though Fellows isn't in the field, Patrick Carpentier (who finished second at Montreal), Robby Gordon and Max Papis are road-course stalwarts who could make some noise Saturday.

Mark Ashenfelter is an editor at ESPN. He can be reached at mark.ashenfelter@espn.com.


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