Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Watkins Glen International – August 4, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at Watkins Glen International:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Flavor Vote Winner Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you care when NASCAR techs cars – after qualifying or before the race?
“Not really. It doesn’t much matter. You just adjust your game plan accordingly if something does happen to go array and change your course of action overnight, but you don’t get to pick pits in the morning until after inspection and stuff like that, so it’s going to be a quick turnaround for people to figure out their game plans.”
How do you feel about the proposed 2019 rule changes and can there be any type of middle ground with a reduction in horsepower?
“I’m a 100 percent proponent of the current package or something there close to. I’m 100 percent against any sort of higher drag, reducing horsepower-type package. That’s it.”
Daniel Suárez says you’ve helped him over the past few weeks. What kind of changes have you seen in him as he’s evolved this season?
“I don’t think you’ve seen any change in Daniel (Suárez). I just think that there’s been more opportune times for things to happen, things to come together for him to get it all put together. It’s very very hard in this day and age to excel or be good at what you do if you’re not able to put everything together. Daniel’s a – his work ethic and the things that he tries to do and his questions are all right questions and he’s really really really trying more than just being a race car driver behind the scenes, which I applaud him for. He’s trying to get more in-depth with his crew chief and his engineers and the team meetings and things like that to understand why and to get down to the nitty gritty of what’s happening, what’s going on, where’s his lack of performance. He certainly has been able to turn some of those tables and he’s made it better for himself the last month or so I’d say – especially Pocono. Obviously Pocono was a really really really really good race for those guys and they executed and did a good job and they have to continue to do that. It’s not all on Daniel. The pit crew isn’t quite there all the way. They’re not a hundred percent. If you look at the relationship of the 18 guys, they’re arguably number one. The 11 (Denny Hamlin) guys are arguably number three or four and the 19 (Daniel Suárez ) guys are like 15th, so they’ve got work to do. They’ve got to help out Daniel. He can’t make up for that when it comes down to being on the race track and racing around other cars.”
If you were a team owner, would you move Christopher Bell to the Cup Series next year?
“No. It’s not that he’s not ready or that he doesn’t feel like he’s ready. I think that’s very good of him to have those aspirations or to be that ambitious, but you also got to be patient in this game. We’ve seen it too many times from drivers that try to out accelerate the natural given path of what they’re supposed to do or what is kind of projected for them and they may not be here much longer or they’re at a team that then they don’t excel with and they have to move on from that team and they excel in a different situation because they moved in too fast. Most notably, I guess (Joey) Logano with us (Joe Gibbs Racing), right? And then some other drivers – I can’t recall at the current moment – that moved up too fast. William Byron has been – every year he’s been in a vehicle. He hasn’t stayed long enough really, I feel like, which is fine, but you know he’s – none of the Hendrick guys are lighting the world on fire, but obviously he’s not either and you put him out there on two tires in certain situations and he’s crashed, so there’s more time for more experiences to be gained in sharing another year or two in previous divisions.”
What makes Watkins Glen unique and what type of challenges the track presents?
“I think what makes this road course unique is just how fast it is. It’s a very fast road course. There’s a lot of speed here. There’s a lot of technical areas. There’s a lot of time to be gained through those technical areas, but also with the amount of speed that you carry here, any dip in that speed is a big time loss. There’s a lot of that that’ll happen around this race track. It’s a fun place though. I enjoy it. Like I said, the very technical parts of the track – just getting into turn one, through the bus stop, through turn five, six and seven kind of being unique because they’re more traditional-type road course corners – they’re a little bit slower – but overall, it’s a fun place.”
How do you feel going into Michigan and what does that track mean for you guys on the schedule?
“It’s a throw away, basically for us. Ever since the repave, we suck there. We just try to figure out what we can continue to do to evolve and get better there. The setup there equates nothing to anything that we race throughout the Chase, so really it’s just a track that we have to go to, so alright, we’ll be there for a weekend. But past that, it’s certainly – you never want to give away any opportunities to go out there and win a race or to excel or to take momentum away from what you’re doing. We’ve put a focus on that track for the last two years and we’ve gained. We’ve certainly made improvements. I think we run well there. Our finishes may not show for it, but we just need to be able to not have to race at a hundred percent at Michigan all the time to finish third. We need to be able to run 90 percent to win and that would allow us to then make up time if certain situations happen to us if we have a loose wheel, a bad pit stop, whatever, you can make time and pass people, things like that.”
Last year you had a fast car at Watkins Glen, but got tangled up with Brad Keselowski. Are you looking for redemption this weekend?
“Is that any different than any other year? It was self-inflicted first. We obviously had just bad luck on pit road. There was a lug nut that got caught in the caliper and rotor and we had a vibration – we had to come back down and take the tire off and fix that, put the tire back on, had to restart in the back and come back through and on the way back through the 2 (Brad Keselowski) car was – apparently I was in his way while I was passing him. There’s just those situations that tend to happen sometimes, especially at road courses. You try to make time anywhere you can and pass people at any chance you can. You try not to give up momentum and that was an opportune time I saw to make a pass and so I did and whether or not it was Monday morning quarterback meeting, you can look at it and say you could’ve waited, but not in the moment. I don’t think there’s any redemption that needs to be made. I think we know that we’re fast here every time that we come here. Certainly we’ve got good speed again today and we’ve just got to keep it going. Figure out what executions that we can do to keep ourselves in the right spot all day long.”