Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries/ABC Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What would it mean to you to get a win at Charlotte Motor Speedway?
“It would certainly mean a lot. We’ve been trying here for a long, long time and we’ve been close a few times and it just hasn’t all quite worked out the way we would have wanted it to I guess at the end of some of the races, so certainly we feel as though there’s no better opportunity to win a Charlotte race than in the Chase. It means a lot. It gets you to transfer through to the next round, especially with Talladega looming. Certainly, this weekend would really be enjoyable for that and to get Interstate Batteries and the All Battery Centers car to victory lane.”
How important is to win before Talladega Superspeedway and how many Toyotas will make the ‘Round of 8’?
“I think that it is important to win here or Kansas if you can obviously to get your way into or through Talladega without having to worry. You can go to Talladega, run hard and have fun and do a good job of just trying to focus on winning the race. If you don’t win here obviously it’s not the end of the world or Kansas if you don’t win there it’s not the end of the world. We’ve proven that you can get through, but it makes your day a heck of lot easier. Two years ago we got wrecked out at Talladega trying to mind our own business and still haven’t gotten an apology for that one and of course last year we were able to do the things that we were able to do and get our way through without winning. We finished pretty well all things considered. As far as Toyotas go and being able to have five of them in ‘Round of 8,’ I think there’s a great opportunity for that. I think two years ago obviously us getting eliminated, that was a Toyota being eliminated from the ‘Round of 8.’ Last year, Denny Hamlin had a hatch issue I believe and he was eliminated, so there’s anything that can happen and that’s why we run these races and you’ve got to run these things all the way to the end.”
Does it feel easier this year trying to duplicate what worked last year?
“Yeah, I think so. I mean there’s obviously times where you feel like you want to push hard and go get a win or go get a better finish there where you’re currently running, but you know you’ve just got to do what you can in order to let these races kind of fall into place and sometimes it’s just worth taking the finish that’s coming to you and moving on and going to the next one. It doesn’t always help to push too hard and try to advance yourself. It can also help to just sit back, relax and finish where you can.”
What’s your mindset for the ‘Round of 8’?
“I think it’s the same as what we did last year – just let these races come to us and take the finishes we can get, you know? We got caught up in a pit road deal here last year and kind of tore up our car a little bit and didn’t quite get the finish that we were hoping for in this race, but we went to Kansas and we had a solid outing there. We came out of there with a top-five I believe and then we were able to do the same thing at Talladega finishing in the top-five, so we’d like to think that we can finish better here at Charlotte and finish in the same realm of spots for Kansas and have a good shot of being able to transfer through at Talladega.”
Is harder to make up pit road penalties than ever before and can you minimize mistakes?
“Yeah, I think now it’s certainly harder to be able to make up from those mistakes on pit road. There’s risk versus reward in everything we do, but pit road especially with the extra segments and timing zones. We all take advantage of the extra mile an hour that NASCAR gives us and we use that as what our pit road speed is rather than kind of a buffer – we actually use that up – so you’ve just got to come off of that a little bit. You can’t push it that hard to the threshold and try and become the guy who’s got the fastest rolling time each weekend, so Jimmie’s (Johnson) been really good at that. He’s probably been one of the best – one of the top-two or three for sure all year long on rolling times, but they also have the most pit road speeding penalties to go along with it throughout the year, so there’s a fine line there and there’s a balance that you’ve got to be able to withhold in being able to be successful, so as far as – what was the second part? Okay, good talk. Good talk. Rolling time is distance from when you come in at the yellow line to when you stop in your box and when you leave your box to when you get to the yellow line on the exit. That’s – it’s a new thing that all the teams are kind of looking at is rolling time.”
How do you expect this Kansas Speedway race to be different after your spring win at the track?
“Yeah, I think we were pushing hard in the spring time there, but we were certainly doing our homework as well too, so do the same amount of homework and do the same thing s in order to make sure that we’re just as successful this time around. The car drove really good. It was a night race – this time around it will be a day race, so there’s some differences there. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys just being able to work on our car, the track really widened out and gave us opportunities to kind of move around the last time we were there, so I’d expect some of those same tendencies.”
Have you talked to the Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers about the NCWTS Chase?
“Yeah, we’ve talked in all of our meetings. We have meetings every week after the races at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). We talk in those meetings about what to do, what to expect, how to operate as a team and a company with teammates and stuff like that and what I expect of those guys, so all those things have been versed with all of them. As far as going into Talladega what to expect, we haven’t quite gone over those sorts of things yet, but obviously with Christopher (Bell) having the most amount of cushion of anyone besides William (Byron) there, you’ve just got to be smooth and smart and finish. That’s what it’s about. You may have a couple cars here or there – trucks – that crash out and they’ll obviously push that spot where we would fall if we had a problem higher and higher, so I’d expect that you get four, five, six trucks that DNF then obviously that would be where we would be safe in order to follow through to the next round, so certainly the first big one at least.”
How are you preparing for the weather forecast?
“Well, so far we did most of our race runs here this morning. We unloaded in race trim instead of qualifying trim in order to work on some race stuff and kind of get some of that out of the way. Through this practice, we at least used a set of tires in order to concentrate on that, swapped over to qualifying trim because we do feel like we’re going to qualifying tonight – there’s no weather looming for that – so we needed to make sure that we were going to have a good car for qualifying and that’s pretty much it. If it’s a wash out tomorrow, we got what we got. We’ll just have to go off notes and what we did here in the spring, obviously what the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) did here in the spring – they were really, really good – so we feel like we’ve got a good baseline to base ourselves off of.”
What do you look for in drivers for Kyle Busch Motorsports?
“We look for a few things, but we’ve got Christopher Bell next year already lined up. We’ve got another driver kind of in the works and then we’ll keep our 51 team as driver of the week program let’s call it with a few of them in there. It’s coming along. I think we’re close to being able to finish some things up and being able to put all that out there. We’ve talked to a few guys about the opportunity to drive full-time in the – we’ll call it the 9. It’ll probably change for next year, but William’s (Byron) done a fantastic job and so it’s going to be tough for anyone to come into that role and fill that void. Obviously Erik (Jones) did a really good job the year before. I think William’s actually exceeded those expectations quite well, so maybe the next guy will be able to do the same thing. We’ll see.”