BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 CARQUEST MONTE CARLO SS: Q. How would it feel to finish the year in the top 10 and go to New York for the banquet? I mean it'll be something special. I mean, we get to go to New York, and if...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 CARQUEST MONTE CARLO SS:
Q. How would it feel to finish the year in the top 10 and go to New York for the banquet?
I mean it'll be something special. I mean, we get to go to New York, and if you're not fighting for 11th place you get to go there, but if you finish 12th you're off for the month of December. Hopefully I don't have to have that and hopefully I don't have to rebook my life for December and I don't have to go any earlier, I can stay where I'm at.
Q. Have you talked to Kurt Busch about what it's like to go through those last ten races?
No, I haven't, really. I kind of hung around him a little bit a couple years ago when he was in the Top 10, and I got a little bit of a feel for what he was going through and stuff like that. There's definitely a lot of emotion, a lot of highs, lows, goods, bads. You try to make do with what it is and make sure you're in the right place at the right time.
Q. What did you see his team do that worked in '04?
They had good luck on their side when they had bad luck. You have a tire fall off in the middle of a race and still come back and finish 5th. You've got to have that. You've got to be able to come back from diversity and make sure that you're able to bounce back from that stuff.
Q. Is there any particular track you're looking at more than any other one?
Not really. I haven't even looked at the schedule. I don't even know what's coming up. Chicago has always been a particularly good place that I seem to run well at. I don't really know what else is in there.
Q. Pocono, Indy, Brickyard, Bristol?
I think Indy will be good for us, Bristol you never know what happens. Michigan comes up again, so I think those two places we can have a really good solid run at. There's definitely some areas where we can improve, but I think that we can be Top 10 contenders.
Q. Talk about your momentum coming into Chicago and how you feel about it.
Well, the biggest thing is just to have a good solid weekend. We haven't had that at all. It'll be good to come out here to Chicago and chase some points. It means a little bit more, but we've definitely got to keep everything going and make sure we can stay within the Top 10.
Q. What's your strategy?
You can't really change it up. It is what it is. Every week we try to win races. If you try to change too much you get yourself in more trouble than just trying to stay on the same project.
Q. Talk about Chicago.
Yeah, I like Chicago. It's a good place for me. I tend to run well here. I haven't had much success here on paper, but I've been able to run well.
Q. Talk a little bit like bouncing in and out of the Top 10. Is it nerve-wracking? Is it fun?
Well, it's not fun, but it's just something that we don't want to do. We want to make sure that we stay on the right page and stay in the Top 10. We need to make sure that we are there for when we get down to Richmond and we have a shot to stay in the Top 10 for the Chase. We just have to go about the races the way we have been all year long and try to keep ourselves up front.
Q. Is it more stressful than you thought, having to worry about it every week?
No, it is what it is. I'm not going to be fired if I miss a stage, so I don't have to worry about it. We want to get in it, of course, but it's not a life-or-death situation for us.
Q. You're in your second year and maybe you're not expected to be there yet?
It's like I said, I'm not fighting for contracts or anything like that. It's not something I need to worry about. But we do definitely want to be in the Top 10. We want to solidify ourselves week in and week out, and we definitely want to do that to put ourselves in the Chase.
Q. Talk about what it would mean to get a win.
Jeff Gordon I think won because he always wins the road courses. He hasn't been able to win a mile and a half or two-mile or Bristol or Martinsville or anything like that. For us, we didn't win until the second half, especially the later part of the season. But that doesn't give us any reason why we haven't won yet.
We've had a couple opportunities to do so. We had a good run at Bristol, we had a very good car at Martinsville. We were running good. We jad a very good car at Charlotte. There's definitely been some areas where we had a decent car we could have won with, but we didn't capitalize on it.
Q. On going for a win versus points racing
It really depends on circumstance. You know, if you're running 4th and you feel like you have a shot to go for the win, do it. But make sure you're doing it in a relatively easy fashion. You don't want to put yourself in a tight spot where you might get yourself in trouble or have an opportunity to spin out or do something like that.
The biggest thing is to, like I said, the points race a little bit, but still, you want to be able to go out there and try to win a race, as well.
Q. Do you pay attention to the points every week?
I haven't even looked at this week's points. I don't know where we're at. I know we're 8th but I don't know how far ahead or whatever we are. I know it's not much, but we just need to keep building on that and keep moving forward.
Q. You've been flying Jeff Dickerson back and forth with you. How important is it to have the same spotter at two different tracks for you?
It's important because I'm really used to Jeff Dickerson and he's been a great help of mine. There's a couple other spotters out there that I've been able to work with, and some of them I can't really get a feel for them. It makes it easier to just take my spotter with me. There's plenty of room on the helicopter, plenty of room on the plane. It's easier to make sure you're better off safe than sorry.
Q. What do you feel is the biggest challenge to get through the points to make sure you're in the Top 10, car ready, driving, emotion? What are the challenges that you have to deal with the next time?
The biggest challenge is just to try to make sure you stay out of trouble and you keep your nose clean and be there at the end of the race. You don't get paid very many points for trying to go after a win and finishing 43rd. The biggest thing is trying to make sure that you don't put yourself in a position that will take yourself out of the race. You just want to make sure that you have a car capable of doing what you need it to do, and if you struggle around a little bit, you're just going to have to struggle that day and go on to the next week and hopefully have a better one.
Q. Doesn't that go against the natural nature of a racer?
It's very much so against my natural nature.
You know, I want to go out there and win every race, but in reality you've got to step back and think about things and understand that there's 42 other guys out here, also, that want to win every race. It's tough to do that. There's guys out there that have won multiple, multiple races in their careers that haven't won a race this year or haven't won a race the past two, maybe three years. It's definitely difficult to try to go out there and do everything right every week, but I try to do as much as you can and keep as much as you have control of in control.
Q. If you're in the Top 10 and still hanging around at the last race, how do you guys attack that racetrack?
The biggest thing is to do what we did last year. We had a good car that we knew was capable of running well, and it didn't perform very well. We ran 2nd all day, it got a little loose at the end and we finished 4th.
The second race we didn't take that same car back that we ran the week before, so we kind of struggled a little bit. We didn't fare very well, and there's some areas of improvement there. That's why we built a second car that's exactly like it, so when we come to that situation we can take one of the cars for one race and have the other one ready to go and don't have to worry about taking a car that we don't feel is capable of running up front.
Q. Do you like Loudon?
I do. Loudon is a good place. It's fun for me. I don't tend to run there well for whatever reason, but I enjoy that place. It's a difficult place to pass at, and it's hard for some drivers to be able to make some moves. All in all, it's a pretty racing facility, and it's fun when you're up front.
Q. Will you go up to Richmond before the race?
I don't think so. I think there's plenty of good races that are coming up where I feel like we can run well. There's Bristol, a couple others, and I think we can do well at Sears Point. It's just a matter of trying to stay out of trouble. Bristol is one of those places where you just never know what might happen anywhere else. There's always things that are going around, and you don't know what's around the next corner.
Q. You're a points racer, though, right?
Well, you try to points race, but you also try to go out there and get a win. We don't have any yet this year, so we want to try to make sure we put ourselves in victory lane. But also we want to make sure we solidify ourselves in the chase for the last ten.
Q. We heard at the media center that there might be elimination through them
No, I haven't, but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea. I wouldn't know how they would do that, though. Now they're really talking about football and how all that works. They say they don't want it to be a playoff system like the NFL, but that sounds a whole lot like it, doesn't it?