Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Las Vegas Motor Speedway – March 10, 2017
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What would it mean to win here again this weekend?
“It would mean a lot. This is a place that I enjoy coming to and trying to run well, and we’ve run well here in the past a few times. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to go to Victory Lane here, since 2009, so we’d like to change that around here this weekend, but not looking so bright right now.”
Are you excited to hear that Las Vegas will host a second Cup race in 2018?
“I think it’s awesome. It’s a great opportunity for the city of Las Vegas to have another race here, and for NASCAR to be able to come to town now two times. I look forward to that, and having more chances to win here. But it’s certainly probably a long time coming. The racetrack has always done a great job of being able to fill the seats. I think it’s because obviously there’s a nightlife here and people have things to do that they can do more so than other places, and coming back here in a September month, it’s going to be hot. It’s going to make for a slick racetrack. That’s for sure. I was hoping that they would take into consideration a night race, but too much nightlife to run a night race. So obviously that’s not going to happen. All in all, it’s going to be a great opportunity for the city and for the fans that come out here and support this racetrack.”
How important are the points drivers can get from race stages?
“They will, definitely. Unfortunately for us we’ve only been able to score 10 points of those bonus points that have been available through all the rounds. We won the first round in Daytona and was the first‑ever round winner, segment winner, whatever, stage winner. Damn, there’s so many words for it, figure it out, you know, and then ever since then we haven’t gotten any. That doesn’t bode well for our chances for being able to go through the whole Chase riding on points. We’re not scoring them, so we need to be able to get back to where we need to in order to score those points and have that opportunity to excel in the Chase, and more importantly, get back to Victory Lane, too.”
After two races this season, are the Toyota teams looking for anything specific to perform better?
“No, I mean, I think there was a good run going for Erik Jones, actually, last week. He probably should have finished sixth to eighth, ninth maybe, somewhere in there. And you know, the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) car was running okay, as well, too. I don’t know where the rest of our cars were running. Obviously Matt (Kenseth) had a decent day. He was able to overcome a couple penalties and get back to where he needed to be. There’s some strength there. For me in the 18 car, though, we’re just lacking the ability to have the amount of front turn in the race car that I’m looking for because of this lack of downforce. They took a lot of front downforce away from the car, and apparently I rely heavily on that being able to cut through the corners. We’ve got to get a little bit better aero platform going, balance wise, aero balance, as well, through the corners and figuring out how to do all of that through our setups in the race car. We’re trying, and we’re trying some different things each week in order to try to get better to find something that I like that we can move forward with through the year. Sometimes you start slow and you’ve got to build up to it, and other times you’re right on it right from the start. We’re just not there yet.”
What were your expectations with the lower downforce package?
“I don’t think that this was a surprise to anyone that the lower downforce package was going to hinder anybody. We all knew it and expected it and we worked on it through the offseason as best we could to get ready and prepare. But there’s some other groups that maybe have done a better job of preparing for it than we have. You know, we’ve just got to go to work on some fundamentals and some things that will get our race cars feeling better, feeling better alone, feeling better in traffic, being able to pass cars, having the speed that we need to have. It seems like we can have the speed for one or two laps. You know, we qualified pretty decent last week. It seems like a couple of our teammates here this week have a couple of good qualifying efforts in practice there, so we just got to get better with the long haul.”
Do the new timing lines concern you and why has that become such a challenge for everybody?
“The biggest thing for all the timing lines and the more timing lines that we have now is you don’t have any time to give back, so you used to be able to have bigger segments, so if you got over on speeding and you saw it then you could try to give back a couple lights and then get back to normal speed a little bit, so you had a little bit of leeway to do the give back. But now the segments are so tight that when you look down and you see it, you’re like, oh, wow, okay, you try to slow down, it’s too late. You’re already through the next timing section, and so you’re busted. So that’s the biggest thing that all of us are kind of fighting week in, week out. So you kind of have to come back off of how hard you were pushing everything before a little bit and try to modulate just a little bit better and work up each week to your parameters that you’re comfortable with.”