TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Kyle Busch – Notes & Quotes
Pocono Raceway – July 29, 2016
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media at Pocono Raceway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s 75th Anniversary Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How much momentum do you have coming off your win at Indianapolis last week?
“It certainly is the best way to come to Pocono being able to race the way we did last week at a flat two and a half mile race track really similar to Pocono but yet still way different. The challenges that we faced last week are entirely different than the challenges we’ll face this week. All in all just really excited about being able to score our second Brickyard 400 victory two years in a row – that was pretty special as well — and being able to back up our performance from last year. So, some great things the rest of the year hopefully and being able to knock Pocono off the list is the next thing that’s holding us back here this weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”
Do you think restarts are a big part of winning here at Pocono?
“Yeah, restarts are huge here for sure. Just having the restarts with the long straightaway here getting down into Turn 1 you can fan out pretty wide and having the opportunity to stay single file obviously allows you to go down the straightaway faster but when everybody fans out it definitely manipulates the runs of the different grooves and the different lines. It’s a bigger challenge here than maybe some other race tracks but you file down into about two lanes if you’re lucky through Turn 1, but more times than not you’d like to be single file through there. It’s tricky here for sure with the restarts and they play a big role to what this race ends up being.”
What has kept you from winning the Cup race here at Pocono?
“There’s been a lot of things I guess over the years that have kept us from winning here. Restarts I would say is probably one of those. Fuel mileage last year – we were leading coming to the white – or took the white flag leading and ran out so there’s just variables that have eliminated our opportunity from winning here. We’ve just got to put it all together. It’s no different than any other week, you’ve got to have everything fall into place and the stars align and it just hasn’t quite happened here yet.”
What are your thoughts on the changes to the floorboard and foot box areas of cars for superspeedway races next year?
“I’m about 90 percent sure of all the changes that are coming and I’m for it of course. Anything that’s safety driven and going to help the driver’s cockpit area stay intact in a crash. Obviously there’s some debate as to whether or not stiffening up the cars make them too stiff when we crash and you don’t have the opportunity to absorb the crash itself through the car like Indy Cars. We would all say those cars absorb the crash obviously. I feel like with our advancements in the SAFER Barriers that we’re trying to make sure that the walls absorb our crashes and the cars stay intact for the drivers so we don’t have injuries like we saw with myself or potentially have seen with Austin Dillon’s crash. I think it’s a positive thing. I think it’s good for our cars and for our drivers to keep us safe. I feel as though that these changes I doubt you’ll see teams implementing them into their cars too early before they’re mandatory. It just doesn’t make sense to us. Obviously we’re all competitors and we’re going to build cars to the capabilities that we know how to to make them as fast and as light and everything as possible. If they would implement a rule where you make all of these changes and you’re able to run your car 25 pounds light than we would all do it right away. But, adding weight to the cars and then being able to take that weight back out is going to be a challenge for some of these teams so it’s going to be a bit tricky.”
How do you think the rules package from an aero standpoint is starting to shape up?
“I guess the quote unquote 2017 package is what we’ve run at Michigan, Charlotte All-Star race, Kentucky so you know I’m for it. I think it’s a positive. I feel as though the last couple years we’ve moved in a direction where we were adding downforce to the cars and I would say that it wasn’t necessarily putting on a better show. The cars were for a lack of a better term call it too easy to drive and it was too hard to pass. So, now you’re taking downforce away and I feel like you’re giving more opportunity to the drivers – the good drivers – to showcase their talent and put themselves farther towards the front of the field and not get trapped in or stuck behind other cars or drivers that aren’t quite as good or capable of being able to run towards the front. It does create passing given the opportunities and does levy itself more towards what the drivers have been asking for.”
What do you feel like your legacy is at this point in your career?
“I’m not worried about that yet. It’s not over yet. I’ve got a long ways to go so hopefully it’s one that would be hard to beat and it’s one that will be remembered so we’ll just keep fighting for more wins. We’re not done yet.”
Have you noticed a difference in the atmosphere having Jeff Gordon back here at Pocono?
“I would say within the media and maybe some fans having more opportunity to see Jeff Gordon again. That’s kind of the difference. But, as far as drivers or on the race track or people in the garage area – the team members, the guys that work each and every weekend – I haven’t seen much difference. Obviously it’s pretty cool that he has the opportunity to come out of retirement. I know he never used the R word that he was retiring, that’s why I kind of find it a little funny that he’s back again racing. It’s neat to have him here of course and hoping that they have a good solid run. Last week I felt like, I never saw him on the race track so obviously he did a pretty good job. I never had an opportunity to – I led the most laps so I never have an opportunity to get back in traffic to race with him at all, so we’ll see what happens here this weekend.”
What are the biggest obstacles when your normal crew chief isn’t at the track?
“I think the biggest obstacles is just communication with the crew chief you know when we’re either at the car or we go to the hauler and we talk and have our discussions about how the car is handling he can read it in my face, he can see it in my eyes and he can understand my tone in being able to figure out exactly how loose I am or how tight I am or what I’m talking about within the car. He has the opportunity to see it visually go around the race track and also to be within the team and be there within the guys and having the opportunity to work with them with the computer simulations and stuff like that right off first hand. I feel like that’s all the biggest things that you kind of miss out on when you don’t have your crew chief here on the weekend.”
Can you compare having digital dashboards in the Cup Series compared to not having them in the Truck Series?
“I think that the digital dash is good. I feel as though I get all of the same information just in a cleaner way through the digital dash. The other way of all of the different gauges obviously you’ve got to read a needle and stuff like that so with the digital dash it just – other guys have it formulated where they still have the needle but I just have it where it’s written out boom done. Tell me a number. I don’t want to find where it’s at. It’s just driver preference, just different things. I’ve seen a lot of different gauges or dash layouts, the digital dash layouts and how people want it and what they see on it. I’ve heard other drivers use multiple pages of the dash – some for pit road and some for more information about bolts and fuel pressures and stuff like that. Mine is pretty neat and tidy and clean. I don’t need too much information.”
Can you talk about what you learned at the Watkins Glen test in your car and the TRD car?
“Yeah, the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) car was just the wheel force car. It’s already at a disadvantage with all of the weight on that thing. It’s overweight from what our race cars are. And, the guys over there at TRD and their test team do a really good job of having the resources that we do to go out there and run some runs that we get to run. You’re only able to make one, maybe two laps at most because everything just gets so hot in those cars because you’re producing too much heat through the wheel force and transducers and whatnot. That might be a big word, I’m not sure. They’re setup the same. They’ve got all of the same components and everything. You’re just out there just trying to simulate a lap as best as you can. Even in that car too, you’re not allowed to hit the curb. So, like through the bus stop you’ve really got to be ginger through the bus stop and not bounce off all of the curbs like you would normally with your race car just because it will just send all of the sensors crazy. It’s a neat piece to get to drive and have an opportunity to learn from but it’s not for me to stare at a computer screen and figure it all out. Those guys do a good job at that.”
What did you learn with your 18 car at the Watkins Glen test session?
“Yeah, I mean for sure. We learned a lot of things I feel like last week at the Watkins Glen test. That the track isn’t quite as fast as we had expected it to be. It’s probably tire limited. You get a chance to slide around a little bit still. It seems like the slip of the cars is still the same as what it was last year, but speeds we’ll see if they increase more when we get back there with getting more rubber down on the race track having more cars, more series there and seeing what all of that lays out for all of us for the weekend.”