Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
ISM Raceway – March 8, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at ISM Raceway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Which of the three NASCAR vehicles does the new package race like?
“To me, my comparison has always been closer to trucks than the Xfinity cars. The older Xfinity cars, back before the COT Xfinity car so whatever the COY cars were, I don’t remember what years those were – certainly 2009, but I don’t remember when it switched. Those cars resemble a little bit closer to what the Cup cars are right now just with the big spoilers and the reduced power and things like that. The feel you get and how you drive those and how hard you drive those through the corners and how you try to keep it as close to wide open as possible, that’s kind of the similarities that I’m seeing.”
What did you think about Russell Westbrook wearing a M&M’s Racing jacket?
“I don’t know whether he’s a fan or that’s just a fashion statement, but either way he looked really good wearing it so I appreciate that.”
How was your trip to the Dunes?
“It was fun, super fun. We went on hour long rides and hours long rides and he (Brexton) enjoyed every minute of it. I left him home for a couple of them because the boys wanted to do some 10 out of 10 rides where it’s a bit harsh and rough so he’s a little too small for those, but the rides that he was able to go on and Mom went on as well too were pretty fun. It was a good experience and he’s loving it each time we go out there and getting more and more accustomed to it.”
How much longer will you be able to throw Brexton in the air when you win a race?
“That’s why I workout, you have to keep going to keep going for him. Throwing him up as a teenager, that would be pretty funny. He’ll be throwing me up by then. He is certainly growing up a lot over the course of the last year and a half, especially and it’s been super fun to get him out and he doesn’t quit and neither does his Mom, it’s always off doing something or off to the next thing. When we’re at home, he’s got other play groups he goes to and karate and things like that. He’s got something to do about every day so he’s pretty versatile in about everything right now.”
Is the increase in speed due to the increase in downforce?
“I think increased downforce, just the speeds, anytime you put downforce in cars you’re going to go faster. I’m not sure what the tire differences are from last year to this year. I’ve heard that the compound on the rights is actually harder. I feel as though the speed comes from the on-throttle time and the grip and the amount of speed that you’re carrying through the mid-corner that just keeps the speeds higher all the way around.”
What is the dynamic like working with Christopher Bell in the Xfinity Series?
“He’s good, super attentive and certainly looking for anything he can do to get better and move on and things like that. After practices, he’s coming over in my hauler or whatever and picking my brain and things like that. Last week certainly he ran really good last week and he was on me there at the end and had some good racing and some good battle going on. This week as well too, he’s certainly wanting to get better. I know that he knows where his next step is to try to get to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and to do that, he’s going to be competing against me six more times this year and I’m sure he’s going to want to beat me and to have the opportunity to have him do that won’t be fun on my behalf, but certainly will be for him.”
Can the tire be better on wear and be cooler?
“I don’t know how you can have a harder tire that wears more to run cooler. Again, like I said, I don’t know, that’s just what I heard that the compound was harder on the right. As far as the tires go and what they brought here, certainly I feel like we’re – if I had to be picky and choosy, which typically I am then I would say we run too hard of a tire, but that’s every single week we would probably all agree to that as a collective group of the drivers. That’s no fault of theirs, they’re trying to obviously be on the safe side and make sure that the race is not their problem and that it’s our problem.”
Is Kevin Harvick the driver you want to beat the most, but also hold in high respect?
“Yeah absolutely. There was certainly a time where (Kevin) Harvick and I both would agree that if neither of us showed up at the race track anymore that we would totally be okay with that. Now it’s kind of resurfaced a little bit differently where I feel as though we feel like when we get to the race track we know we would much rather be able to beat each other and we’ve done it way more respectfully over the course of the last – I don’t know 2014, since then. I don’t know if that was just his move to SHR and the relationship that I had with Tony (Stewart) and Tony kind of telling Kevin, ‘Hey, give him some slack,’ or whatever, but it’s definitely come more from his side than my side as far as the friendliness I guess you could say. It’s nice to be able to have that relationship with guys in the garage area. You don’t have to be friends with them, but you do have to know that you have to respect them and you do have to know that you have to have an opportunity to go out there and race door handle to door handle or bumper to bumper and know that you’re not going to get wrecked. Kevin and I have that going right now and hopefully we can keep that going that way and there are some others out there that could certainly learn a few things.”
Did Kevin Harvick really offer to give you a hug after last week’s race?
“I didn’t hear him, but I heard somebody afterwards tell me about that. I didn’t hear him and I didn’t see him. My blinders were on and I was seeing red.”