Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
ISM Raceway – November 9, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at ISM Raceway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How have you adapted to the new configuration of the race track?
“As far as the race track itself goes, it’s the same as it was so your marks haven’t changed anything from when we were here in the spring just making laps. Turn one, turn two, turn three, turn four – they’re the same corners, they’re just in a different order now relative to the start-finish line. I don’t think any of that is any different for us drivers.”
What challenges does the pit road reconfiguration present?
“Pit road is way different. You talk about the similarities or the things that are the same, just not the same and pit road is way different. It’s way wider than I expected it to be. They moved it about 20 feet or so wider than what it was and the radius of the corner from which we used to travel is now more sweeping and wider do your pit road speeds are going to be a bit different. We have to kind of re-do that and go through running pit road speeds and making sure our tachs are set, our lights are set or whatever people use. Those are some differences, but nothing that is much different than any other place you go to that reconfigures. Vegas used to be all straight and now it kind of bends so it’s not that much different.”
What are your thoughts on Joey Logano stating he is the championship favorite based on his recent performance?
“Sure, he’s the only one locked in to go to Homestead so he’s the only guy racing right now. He can be the favorite if he wants to.”
Do you expect the high line or the low line being preferred for restarts?
“I don’t know, I haven’t thought about that. There’s enough that you can overthink things and not really know what the answer is going to be until you get to see what the effect of it is. By watching the Truck Series race or by watching the Xfinity Series race, you’re going to learn a heck of a lot more so there’s no sense in even thinking about any of that stuff until you see some examples of it.”
Can you give an update on the IVF journey between yourself and Samantha?
“We went to the doctor last week and went through the implantation I guess you would call it – where the embryo comes from the freezer, they thaw it out and make sure everything is alright and it’s in a syringe basically. The doctor sets it in and hopefully everything goes good. When the doctor was done, I gave him a high-five, said ‘thanks doc,’ and we went on our way. Not quite the same as other people are able to have children so wanted to make sure I gave my condolences to the doctor. She just had to lay low this week and we won’t know anything for 12 days so we won’t know anything until after Homestead.”
Do you anticipate more cars spreading out through the dogleg than in previous years?
“I kind of look at that in two different ways, one of those being that the restart zone, where it is and you have to be bumper to bumper and door handle to door handle – supposed to be – so when you throttle up and go through the restart zone to the start-finish, you probably won’t have that big of a run on someone. How they fan out and stuff, I don’t know that you’ll see it as much as you did beforehand where the restart zone being on the front straightaway, through one and two and depending on how guys cars handled and how they did a good job or didn’t do a good job on restarts through one and two, that’s where you would start to see the discrepancy in someone getting off the corner good, somebody getting off the corner not so good and that’s why you would see the fan out down the back straightaway. I don’t know how that’s going to work. It’s either going to be really tame and not a whole lot going on until you come back around or it could be chaos once everybody gets past the start-finish line. I don’t know.”
Is there a chance where you could speed on pit road by trying to take a shorter line?
“Absolutely, definitely. You kind of have to do what you would do at Bristol, that’s definitely something to pay attention to and they tell you all the time not to cut the radius. Depending on where all the timing lines are exactly and when you start to turn off from the outer lane to the inside lane and how that roll speed looks, things like that – there can certainly be some guys that get themselves busted.”
Is the new configuration of corners confusing to your spotter?
“As long as everybody references their corners based off of how the race track has labeled them, then I think we’re all going to be on the same page. Turn one is turn one. Turn two is turn two. Turn three, four, dogleg – the race track did a good job of spelling that out for us all so hopefully we don’t get too confused.”
Did you give Noah Gragson any advice for tonight and how did you feel about how Todd Gilliland handled Texas?
“I haven’t seen Noah (Gragson) yet, but last year they ran really good here and they were fast. I didn’t feel like he had any questions for me or that I had any guidance for him on making sure that they were fast again. Obviously, you should learn from your mistakes and not being on the inside of a guy for three laps and pushing harder to try to clear him. Tonight is just a night where you have to minimize mistakes and if you’re going to lose one spot versus crashing out then just lose the one spot. That’s kind of what he should set into. Last week, with Todd (Gilliland), I don’t even know what last week was and I don’t even know why they ran out of fuel, that doesn’t make any sense to me. How Todd handled that after the race, I could tell that he was really, really mad and angry and frustrated and everything else – same as I would be, but it seemed as though having some familiar faces around him and someone to grab him and hug him before he got on television was a huge positive for him. His dad was right there so that was a good thing for him, I felt like he was able to rebound from that and talk well on television and do a good job.”
Do you feel that if a car is disqualified they should get to keep all their points?
“I’m not sure. I think it gets convoluted and complicated. If a guy doesn’t have any stage points at all and finishes 20th, but is a random and gets busted and has a 40-point penalty, he essentially gets a negative right? How do you give a negative, I don’t know how that works. I think that’s the deterrent as to how exactly they determine the number or it’s not, too complicated for me to figure out. People a lot smarter than me are trying to figure that out right now. It’s just a fact of the matter I guess. They were found outside of what the rules landscape is and got busted for it. Just kind of have to move on now.”
Should you lose all the points that you earned?
“I don’t know, there’s so many different things to think about. People are saying they should be parked for the next two races and you have sponsors and things like that and all this can’t miss a race thing. I don’t know, should you be thrown out after the race is over? Well, it was Bill France Sr. that always said that fans want to see who won the race, win the race even if they’re pegged afterwards. I don’t know what is the best way. I don’t like going to the Snowball Derby and having everything go your way and winning in a big race and every race is a Snowball Derby here in the Cup Series and you’re two tenths over on left-side weight. You didn’t mean to, but if you fill the car back full of fluids and start back over, we were legal before the race so you were fine in that regard so you shouldn’t be thrown out, but in our instance, we have been thrown out for left-side weight infractions and things like that, that weren’t malicious and weren’t to defeat the rule book.”
How confident are you heading into this weekend and Homestead?
“Confidence is pretty high. You better have good confidence these days right now in doing what we’re doing. We had a really, really fast race car last week and we just had nothing to show for it. We just got behind and every chance we thought we were going to get out of our hole, we just got back in our hole. We had our speeding penalty and I came back from that to seventh to score points in the first stage and then we had a loose wheel on pit road, came back to fix the loose wheel and we were two down and in the lucky dog position for 100 laps and finally the leader caught somebody else and passed him and 10 laps later the caution comes out and everything that could go wrong did go wrong for us. It just didn’t seem to be our day and those days can happen, those days can happen this week, those days can happen next week. You just have to stay focused and fight as hard as you can each and every lap and do your job the best you can and sometimes the racing gods work with you and sometimes they work against you. It’s just a matter of being able to do all that. Confidence is high, race team is doing a great job – JGR, Toyota, the guys are building some really fast cars, certainly looking forward to this week and would love to be able to score the win and complete being able to win at every track with Joe Gibbs Racing and Phoenix is the last one of that so hopefully we can do it.”