Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Texas Motor Speedway – November 2, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at Texas Motor Speedway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How aggressive do you expect this race to be?
“I think there’s opportunity to be aggressive here if you want to be aggressive, but there’s a lot of risk for reward at this place, especially on restarts with as slick as we’ve seen it be, as narrow as we’ve seen it be the last few years since the repave. Depending on how the rubber application gets going here this weekend and how wide of a groove you kind of see between the Truck race and the Xfinity race leading into the Cup race, that kind of determines what all you should expect or how hard you feel like you can go on restarts. Past that, into last week’s race, obviously I didn’t go back and rewatch it, but just remembering what I remember about it, the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) worked hard for quite a few laps to make a move at Martinsville and at a short track as clean as he possibly could and just cleared a guy too soon and got run over through three and four. With sometimes who you’re racing around, I guess you have to know what’s going to happen and expect that and try to plan for it I guess. When you try to do too much planning, last time I checked, that’s not racing.”
What was Toyota Motorsports Day like for you and what does that mean for you as a driver?
“We’ve had Motorsports Day at Toyota since I’ve been there. Normally it’s been out there in California at headquarters in Torrance, but they shut that place down and two other places I think that were big office spaces and they’ve converged all of that and put it together here in Plano, Texas. Toyota headquarters has got thousands of employees at it and it’s in celebration of all the associates and just being able to go out there with guys like Antron Brown and myself and J.R. Todd, all the other NASCAR guys, drag race guys and all the forms of motorsports including drifting and everything that Toyota’s involved in and all the drivers converge and get together on a single day and go celebrate with the other associates out there.”
What are your odds to advance through this round and get to Homestead?
“I’d like to think our odds are pretty good. Obviously anything can happen. We won Martinsville last year and came here and had two flat tires in the race and we didn’t fair very well. You still have to have some luck on your side and have everything kind of go your way. It’s tough to rebound sometimes after a difficult start to a day or even if you have trouble later in the day it’s really difficult to rebound and get a good finish like you need. We’d love to be able to win and automatically lock ourselves through, but if that’s not the case then you just have to be smart and mindful of a good points day and try not to hurt yourself and minimize mistakes if some are made.”
How do you think moving the start-finish line will impact next week’s race at Phoenix?
“I don’t know that it will change a whole lot really. Have to kind of wait and see I guess, but overall the race and the restarts are going to be the biggest difference I see and to me, it’s kind of going to remind me of Richmond I’d say. A lot of us are restarting in the turn at Richmond and they thought that was going to kind of be a problem when they first asked me, as far as start-finish line placement, where do you think it can go or should be or where would be weird for it. I’m grateful they asked me, but I told them exactly that. Where Richmond’s is, it’s in the corner almost anyways so it doesn’t matter where it is and kind of what’s going to happen with guys coming up through the gears and where guys are going to go once you clear the start-finish line on the restart and fanning out and getting out to turn one. There’s not a lot of room out there and with the speed that you need to carry through one and two, it’s going to be pretty crazy I think.”
How much fun is it to have M&M’s get so involved with some engagements like the Halloween giveaways?
“Obviously it was a pretty cool concept and idea. I’m going to take 100 percent credit on that, it was my idea and I came up with it on Thursday and we did it on Tuesday so I don’t know, sometimes you think those are brand people that come up with those ideas and say, ‘Go do this.’ Honestly, it was me asking them if I could go do it. We had to go through the whole approval process of being able to go do it and having releases and everything else for it all. It’s crazy the amount of hurdles you have to go through sometimes to be able to go do something kind of fun that’s just off the cuff. Honestly, it’s cool. At first, it was a little rough. We hit a few houses that nothing was happening and it’s like, man, this is going to be a dud and then finally we hit a neighborhood where a bunch of kids got home or were home and saw me moseying around and one of the funny stories about that whole deal was that we were going through a few houses and it’s like, if the doors are open and the screen doors are closed then somebody has to be home, right? So you roll up to those houses and who’s in those houses, it’s the old people because old people leave their front doors open and their screens closed. There’s not content there and one lady was the nanny and she’s holding a six-month old and she wouldn’t open the door. She thought I was going to rob her so I was like, I’ll just leave the bag here and I’m going to go next door and keep moving. It was fun. The kids is what it’s all for and the opportunity to see them. The circle of children that grew from two to five to eight to 12 to 20 to 25 kids of whatever the heck it was, started following us. We literally had to start watching around and make sure we weren’t going to run over a kid on a bike. We had to leave that neighborhood and go to another one because it became too much of a swarm riding around us.”
How has the ‘bump-and-run’ evolved and are you seeing this become a new normal for younger drivers?
“I don’t know, sometimes you just see that out of younger drivers. There’s a few from the K&N Series that I remember would crash their way to a win. Go back and watch the Truck Series race from Martinsville, there wasn’t a guy that go to a guy and tried to pass him, they just flat out ran into them. As soon as they go there, they would just run into the back of a guy and try to move him out of the way to make a pass. It’s like, come on guys. I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be. When you’re limiting power and making it harder for guys to slip the tires and out-accelerate people to do a better job out-driving them, then the cars become more equal and equal and you have to drive through them. I guess that’s going to be the new norm eventually of some sort. Overall, it’s just there’s certain guys and individuals that you can race that wouldn’t do those sorts of things. Names that come to mind would be Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr. that you can race with and battle with and do it cleanly and there’s guys that you have names that you know are going to just flat out run into you on lap 128 when they get to your rear bumper and move you out of the way in a 500-lap race. Okay, whatever dude. It’s all about who it is. It’s their norm and if it’s their norm then you have to treat them back because it’s their norm, but when you do it back because you’re doing it to somebody that you know will do it then you’re now associated as being that kind of guy. How do you balance that? I don’t know. For instance, if it was me and Joey (Logano) and Joey flat out ran over me when he got to me at Martinsville then when I go back on him the next time, am I just doing it because it’s Joey or am I doing it because it’s me. I would say I’m doing it because of who it is not that’s the way I want to do it.”