Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Kentucky Speedway – July 13, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at Kentucky Speedway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Intense Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How difficult is Turn 3 following the repave?
“Yeah, I mean, it’s just so much different here – Turn 3 – than any other mile-and-a-half we go to. Normally other places you get to and you start picking up a little bit of the banking before you get into the corner and here it’s so flat all the way down in there before you pick up the banking that, you know, it’s just has its own characteristics and it’s own challenges that are tough to deal with, you know? Especially in traffic. Restarts are hectic trying to figure all that out, so it certainly is – they’re not wrong and how you interpret that corner or how you try to decipher is corner is what makes people good here and I think how you can withstand some of the characteristics it gives you within your race car and you kind of either focus in on it and making your car better there will kind of you hurt you in other places where you kind of have to take the good with the bad all the way around this place.”
Did Ricky Stenhouse Jr. reach out to you this week?
“He did not reach out.”
Are you disappointed he didn’t reach out?
“I am disappointed that he did not.”
“You wipe out half the field and pretty sure there would be a pretty busy Monday for him, but there wasn’t, so apparently he just doesn’t care.”
Does that change how you race him?
“I can’t – I can’t worry about people that far back in the field.”
How do you prepare for side drafting when it isn’t happening in practice?
“Yeah, I mean, Trucks are way more about the side draft and stuff like that, but, you know, cars – whenever you do – whenever you’re the guy on the outside, you’re trying to hold the guy on the inside tight and you’re just asking for a crash basically, so you try to race considerately until the end when it comes down to crunch time and then it’s own. So as far as side drafting guys and whatever and whatnot, I mean, I try not to really worry about those things until you’re past your final pit stop, you know? It just – you waste too much time with each other and you let the guys that you’re trying to chase back down and get to get away you know? So that’s my philosophy.”
How do you adapt to this track after the Tire Dragon is used?
“The Tire Dragon is just to help have grip for when we all get on the race track, so we’re not just skating on ice – that the conditions are relative or at-least closer to what we’ll race in. If they didn’t do that, we’d be wasting two 50 minute practices trying to practice and being out of the race track and then getting into the race after an Xfinity Series race and the track being entirely different, so at least we’re practicing on what we’re going to race in and in somewhat better conditions and so, you know, it’s definitely beneficial to have that. A lot of guys would argue, ‘Why are we Tire Dragon-ing the groove and not outside the groove?’ Well, you’ve got to start somewhere. You can’t just go out there and crash, but, you know, different places ask for different things with the Tire Dragon or with PJ1 or whatever it might be like Michigan for instance. There’s absolutely no reason they need to spend any time in lane two. You’ve got to work on Lane 1 and you’ve got to work on Lane 3 at Michigan Don’t worry about Lane 2 – that’s where we’re going to run. We’ll get it and so, you know, we try to communicate that through our driver council to track executives and NASCAR executives to get it done properly and here I think it was communicated right. They keep trying to widen it out. I’m not sure widening it out’s going to do a whole lot except just give you a little bit more fudge room for if you have an issue running side-by-side.”
Do you feel like drivers should call others after causing an incident?
“If you don’t care, don’t reach out, you know? If you did purposefully, don’t reach out, you know? But if you actually have some remorse and you’re apologetic or you need to be, then I tend to reach out, you know, when I make mistakes or when I do things I feel like hinder other drivers then I always reach out and just say something like, ‘Hey, man. Man, I hated I go into you. I’m sorry,’ you know? Whatever. It’s not going to change the fact, but at least you, you know, took that step, so that’s just my mindset. Other drivers have different mindsets.”
What has made you so strong in Kentucky?
“I don’t know. I think it’s a lot of different things, you know? I think that being good here, you’ve got to understand the track and the challenges and things like that. I came here for my first time back in 2003 and won an ARCA race here and won a few Xfintiy Series races – probably should have won a few more Xfintiy Series races, but just had crashes or radiator pans fall out or stupid things happen that, you know, then took us out of the running, but we’ve won our fair share of Cup races here as well too and JGR’s (Joe Gibbs Racing) always kind of had this place as a strong suit. You look at (Joey) Logano and the success that he had here when he was with JGR, so, you know, I think that all those things just kind of go together and hopefully we can keep that run going for us and our team with Toyota and Snickers and the 18 this week.”
Will the racing be different at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since its no longer in the Playoffs?
“I’m not sure. Ask (Kyle) Larson – he did a good job the first time. We’ll see if he can do it again. If he does, he may be the genie. I don’t know. I don’t foresee it being much different. I didn’t foresee Chicago being much different, you know? I think that, you know, Loudon sometimes is a more challenging race track to pass people on. There is more time or opportunity for slipping and sliding and contact being made being a short track being a flat track, so maybe guys won’t care as much I guess because it’s not in the Playoffs and they don’t really need notes for say to run better there when it comes to Playoff time, so we’ll see.”
Could you see someone gamble on taking no tires at the end of the Cup race?
“Absolutely. We’re running on hockey pucks, so, you know, they’re harder than hard and you can stay out on tires and whoever is out front, air matters more than the rubber that meets the road, so, you know, it’s challenging racing when you have that especially in a Truck race. The guy that had two tires wasn’t able to come through and even our cars, our trucks when we were trying to pass people towards the end of the race, we got boxed in as well too, so I think you’ll see the same thing Xfinity and Cup.”
Is there such a thing as momentum in racing?
“I think there is. I think that momentum obviously helps any race team. I think we’re kind of seeing it from the 14 (Clint Bowyer) – they’re picking up momentum more and more and more and getting more and more comfortable and running farther up towards the front each and every week, you know? So those guys that already sort of have momentum, they can obviously loose it, you know? We have an opportunity to prove that we didn’t lose anything from last week from Daytona, you know? We obviously got the wind taken out of our sails there with the way we’ve been running, but typically we always go to restrictor plate tracks knowing we’re going to crash, so that really doesn’t bother us much. We just come back out here for this week for a mile-and-a-half and concentrate on what we can control and we can do and try to run well here.”
Do you see other teams having potential to get in the mix at this track besides you Brad Keselowski?
“Absolutely. Martin (Truex Jr.) was super fast here. He was really stellar, so we tested here early last year. He was here for a test. I think I was here for a test and, you know, we were kind of toe-to-toe in that and we were kind of toe-to-toe with lap times in practice and stuff and it just seemed like in the race, they had longevity. They were just able to keep going where we would kind of fall off a little bit and start loosing ground after say 20 laps or so, but right now through practice so far again Martin’s good. I’d say the 12 (Ryan Blaney) is actually the best right now, so maybe Blaney’s got a shot to break through and be pretty fast here too.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Intense Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued)
What is it like to have this track mature a bit more?
“I mean, every week you go to a race track, something is different. The tire is different, the track’s different, you know? Just different conditions weather wise, changing – all that sort of stuff, so as far as it just not being a new repave, yeah. I mean, certainly, there’s a little bit of a notebook from what you had last year here that can help you for this time rather than just throwing it away for a complete new repave, but, you know, it seems like the – our car was decent for right now and we certainly have some room to gain on it and make it better and need to do so.”
What are you expectations for lapped traffic at Kentucky?
“Depends on what you’re doing, you know? Depends on how the race plays out towards the end. If it’s a green-white-checkered, I don’t think lapped traffic is going to mean much, right? You know, if it’s a long green flag run to the end, then lapped traffic’s going to be important and we saw at Chicago how everybody’s fighting for every position for every point that matters for them do to different circumstances with guys needing to make the Playoffs or whatever it might be, so, you know, normally the guys that are four, five laps down running in the 20s or 30s, they lay over pretty well and they give you plenty of room, but the guys that are running in the teens that you’re coming up to that are still on the tail end of the lead lap or those that are still having someone within their vicinity that they’re racing, they race you a little bit harder, so it’s harder to get by those guys. So you have got to expect those things and just work through it the best you can and as best you can.”