Kyle Busch - Friday media visit

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Event: Las Vegas

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How does it feel to lead the point standings after two races this season? “I certainly wish it was two to go rather than two in. It’s a long season so being in the points lead now is a good opportunity for us at the whole Joe Gibbs Racing team. Showing that we’ve had a good start, but it’s only two weeks in so we’re not putting too much in that yet. Looking forward to coming out here to Las Vegas -- my hometown and having a good, solid run out here. We had a good car out here last year. I think we were running about fourth and down towards the end of the race I think I got caught speeding on pit road or something like that so it ended up being not a great day, but still a good day for us and we’re looking forward to doing that again this year -- being able to run well and run strong and run competitively where we can come out of here with a decent finish. Nationwide car seems really, really good. The guys have done a really nice job over there -- the cars fast -- the Z-Line Designs Camry. Feels good. Today, unfortunately we were a little bit farther down on the speed charts than we wanted to be with our Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Camry, but Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and the guys, we’ve been talking a lot already and we’re working on some things for qualifying here and see if we can’t get a little better starting spot than 17th. If we do, if we don’t then we’ll go after them on Sunday.”

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Eric Gilbert

How important was your family in the development of your racing career? “I was a little young, but I had a little bit of a consensus. It was definitely a lot that they worked on in order to get us to where we are today, obviously. With Mom working in a school district -- that’s never very big paycheck and my Dad being a tool man and being self-sufficient and running his own business there. It took a lot of help from both Kurt (Busch) and myself as well as Mom that we all help Dad in doing what he needed to do. Whether we kept the tool truck stocked with tools or whether we kept it clean and kept it washed, kept it vacuumed and all that kind of stuff. It was always -- there was always stuff to do. It was pretty much a schedule. He would come home -- if it rained, you were going to wash it. If it was still raining outside -- doesn’t matter, you’re going to be washing the tool truck. If it’s Tuesday or if it’s Thursday you’re vacuuming. You’re cleaning the tool box drawers, you’re cleaning all the shelves and everything. With all of that -- my Dad always called it the Golden Goose. That’s where everything kind of came from. That was where you would like to say we made our bread and butter and got to put food on the table. It was never easy, but we made it work and there wasn’t times where we were out buying new motors every week. We could only race on what we had and if we blew up it wasn’t hard to go get another engine done, but we didn’t have very many sitting for spares. More times than not -- when we raced Legends cars or whatever, we would go find spare engines in the junk yard. Motorcycles that would get turned over on their side and people would crash and stuff like that. We would cut them up and just use the motor or just use the pieces that we needed instead of going out and buying a fresh one from 600 Racing. I think they’re like $15,000 or something like that. We would always scrap it together.”

What would a strong finish at Las Vegas mean to you after the finishes you had in the first two races of the season? “That’s a good point and it would set us a little bit better and make you feel a little bit better because it is a mile and a half. This is a lot of the race tracks that we do run on. What’s most important is to have a good run here and try to do everything right and try to make sure that we fulfill our opportunities of coming out of here with a good, strong finish. Then head to Bristol where we feel like we know how to run well there so that will be good. Then go back to California and try to do it again at California. You want to do it everywhere. If you had a perfect world you would like to finish top-five every single week. That would be perfect -- you could win a championship on doing that. We’ll see how it plays out -- how it lies come Sunday. Coming out of Vegas with a good, strong run would mean a lot.”

What was it like to race against your brother Kurt on the Las Vegas Bullring when you were younger? “Fortunately, it wasn’t every week -- we didn’t race against each other for a championship ever. When we first did start racing against each other was ’99 and I remember my first win was March 27 of 1999. I think I qualified first and I won the race that night. Kurt (Busch) was actually in Denver, Colorado -- he was racing at Colorado National Speedway and I think he sat on the pole up there and ran well. It was pretty cool and then he came back a couple weeks later and we ran our first race against each other in which I could actually keep up with him. Then I think that was Friday night and he was supposed to let me win -- I lost by like that much and then the next night I said, ‘Forget it, I’m going out.’ I went straight to the front and there were no cautions throughout the race and I walked the dog on that one. He recalls it a little differently.”

How stable is your Kyle Busch Motorsports team and is there anything you’d do differently to get it off the ground? “Stability. We do have great partners right now with the people that we’ve been fortunate enough to round up and work with like Traxxas RC cars, Dollar General, Flexico, M&M’s has been a great family to work with for me on my side too. For any others that I’m forgetting at the moment -- I’m stuck in Nationwide and Cup mode. It’s been good. The stability comes a little bit more from having guys around the shop that work hard -- that work day in and day out that do their job. We’re a little short-staffed because we’re a single truck operation. We have our own chassis shop and we have our own body shop and all that stuff. There’s a lot of overhead, but we still don’t get as much done as we would like to be able to get done. There’s definitely room for growth and next year whether we can add a second Truck Series team later on down the road this year or even into next year carry two Truck teams or maybe even a Nationwide operation. The door is open and we’ve got the room, we’ve got the capabilities and we’ve got the people and the resources to do all that. That’s where we’d like to head to and would I do anything different? I think for where we are now from where we were last year, things are good. Rick (Ren, general manager) and Eric (Phillips, crew chief) do a really, really nice job at making the vehicles go fast and the guys at the shop make them look good every week. There’s not much you can really improve on that I see competition wise. The only thing we can work on is what we’ve done more of this year is get a little more office help with a couple guys trying to sell and see if we can’t find some more partners to work with and get some better opportunities for business-to-business relations with some of our partners that we already do carry.”

What do you think about Kevin Harvick’s NCWTS and NNS team? “It’s good. For those guys to be around this long and be as successful as they are. It started small, they only ran a few Truck races here and there when they had funding to do it. Then, they grew into what they are now, which is two Nationwide teams, sometimes three Nationwide team, three Truck teams or something like that. It’s a full house over there. I know those guys are pretty slammed. I know Josh Jones is probably (Kevin) Harvick’s golden child over there that is doing all the selling and doing a good job at what he knows how to do. He talks an awful lot and I don’t know if he talks an awful lot and talks so quick that people don’t understand him and don’t know what they’re getting into, he does a good enough job that he makes it happen. You couldn’t be prouder of those guys and what they’ve been able to accomplish and how they’ve been able to put names on the side of the race cars and make it to the race track.”

What do you think of sharing the points lead this week with your brother Kurt Busch? “Coming to Vegas and leading the points, it’s only two weeks in rather than two to go. It’s cool, it’s a great opportunity for both of us to be leading coming to the hometown. I don’t know that there’s any added pressure, but there’s definitely some resilience there where we’re feeling blessed to be in the position we’re in and of course try to come out of here with a good finish and try to keep that going beyond just here in Vegas.”

Did you do anything fun this week with your family before heading to Las Vegas? “We went to the sand dunes this week. Kurt (Busch, brother) and his group, they kind of were up on the hill where everyone could see them so they had a lot more people bothering them than we did. We hid off in the back. I was more the family group I guess you’d say. These guys took care of the party zone. It was fun. My dad was out there, he was hanging out and playing around a little bit with us. He kind of liked the camping aspect but he didn’t get anything about the sand dunes and running our four wheelers and our cars through the desert because he goes, ‘All you guys do is tear up your stuff.’ That’s not how we were raised and how we were born to race. He said, ‘All you guys do is tear up your stuff and run it until the tongue is hanging out.’ I don’t understand that part, but the camping is fun.”

What is it about Bristol that you’ve figured out? “It’s just kind of really worked well together. It’s a fun place that you go to that you like going to. You enjoy the race around there. We grew up at the Bullring and stuff like that. Maybe not as banked as Bristol was, but I love going and racing at Winchester and at Slinger, Salem I’ve raced before -- those are all really high banked race tracks that are half-mile in distance, or a quarter. They’re really fun to race around and you kind of get a great feel for racing in a bowl. You go down the straightaway and you slam it into the corners and you mash the gas and you kind of sling right back out of the corners. It’s a lot of fun to do that. It’s kind of an art. Some guys are really good at it, and some find a knack that make them really good at it and make it seem easy. I remember last spring we were horrible there. You can definitely snap that string pretty quick.”

Was there ever a time you weren’t fascinated by race cars? “I’ve always grown up working on the race cars, that was dad’s deal, that we had to work on them in order to race them. I remember working on them when my dad had his limited Late Model a little bit. When he sold that and bought a dwarf car and we got another dwarf car for Kurt (Busch, brother) and built it from the ground up and kind of copied a lot of things from his car. We made his car a lot better. Anytime we ever drove his car, one of us would either win or finish up front and any time we drove dad’s car we would suck -- we were horrible. Yet, dad would win in it. I don’t know how that really worked out. I’ve always loved the car aspect of it and working on the cars and understanding the dynamics of them, kind of feeling what now it’s a lot more engineering involved and a lot more complicated than racing around your local short track in the dirt and taking a pound out of the right rear to get some more grip. It’s pretty wild as to where times have changed. Knowing the knowledge you know now, if you could start over back at the short track, you’d wear everybody out and look really good and come up through the ranks pretty quick. Doesn’t quite work that way, it’s all relative.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags jgr, toyota