Kyle Busch - Friday media visit

Talladega

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Pretzel Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

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

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Are you looking forward to this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway? “It’s always interesting coming back to Talladega, whether it’s the weather or the racing on the race track. We’ll see how all that plays out here this weekend, but I’m really looking forward to having the M&M’s Pretzel back on the car -- my favorite M&M’s product anyway. That’s why I let that out there. It’s challenging coming in here sometimes because you think you can have a fast race car or you think you can have a good race car and unfortunately something out of your own circumstances can take you right out of the running for a good finish. We’ll see how the weekend plays out, but overall I wouldn’t expect much from practice or qualifying, obviously it’s pretty dull in those times, but once you get down to the race and see how the two-car draft will work out, that tends to make things a bit interesting.”

What is it going to take for you to beat the Earnhardt Ganassi cars which have been dominant at Talladega? “Get in front of them and let them push you -- use that horsepower to your advantage. That would be the most important thing to do. Overall, those guys have been really good here the past few times and been pretty decent at Daytona, too. It’s an interesting aspect the way this race plays out -- it’s anyone’s game, really. It’s just been circumstances where they’ve been able to be that good here and to win here. We kind of saw it back in the early 2000s I think it was, the RAD program came about and those guys were always good. So, they seem to have really good engines now and their cars have been a lot better, too. Our stuff is really good, as well, we just feel like we haven’t quite been in the position we need to be in. We try to hang back a little bit and stay out of trouble -- sometimes that helps us, sometimes that hurts us. It’s just a matter of where you’re at on the race track coming down towards the final restart, whether it’s inside five (laps) to go or the last lap.”

Are superspeedways more mentally draining than other race tracks? “Here, the physical demand isn’t that big of deal. You can run around here all day long and not break a sweat, really. Once you get down into the nitty gritty of the race and try to play the chess game that goes on all day you’ve got to really pick and choose your spots, and thinking all the time if you go here and team up with this guy, it really wears on you a little bit mentally -- kind of makes you tired. The other thing too, is when you’re in the two-car draft and you’re pushing each other, you’re more worried about not spinning that guy out than anything else. You just don’t want to do that. So, you’re up on edge most of the time just making sure you don’t get to that guy’s left side of center of his rear bumper and cause him to turn sideways. I don’t know if you call it racing, or what to call it really, but it’s definitely a different dynamic here at Talladega and Daytona now than what we’ve had in the past.”

How many people can talk on the radio during a race? “Yeah, I’ve worked with my guys and my radio guys, being able to put the radios together where you can do everything you want to be able to do. I did that on the Nationwide side in Daytona and it was able to help me so I got it done for my Cup car and I have the same thing here. If I could, I’d have all 43 on my radio, but that radio isn’t legal to go into the race car. You have to have a channel radio, which I think it only allows you 15. So if (Kevin) Harvick has 20, I want to know what radio he has. I have my teammates on my primary radio and then on my secondary radio I have my teammates again so I can hear them and then I have about 13 -- I think I have their backup channels -- so maybe 12.”

Do you find having the other drivers on your radio distracting? “No, it’s not really distracting, if you were at a 1.5-mile track or a short track or something like that, it would be distracting because you’d be hearing way too much stuff going on. With Talladega being the way Talladega and Daytona are, you definitely want to hear all that stuff. There’s some guys I can flip over and talk to. He’s (points to Clint Bowyer) one of them, in case you didn’t know.”

If you’re side-by-side coming to the line four-wide -- you’re really not going to pull out and win the race.

Kyle Busch

How do you decide where your final move would be on the last lap? “It kind of depends on what the two cars are doing, it also kind of depends on what else is going on around you. If you’re side-by-side coming to the line four-wide -- you’re really not going to pull out and win the race -- you’re better off trying to push that guy and hopefully it’s your teammate. It’s like (Kevin) Harvick and (Jamie) McMurray -- Harvick had the opportunity to make a move and go for the win. I felt like (Brad) Keselowski, when he made his deal with (Carl) Edwards, he probably would have gotten beat to the line still with the other guys that were coming on the outside -- who was that the 39 (Ryan Newman) and somebody else. He probably would have gotten beat, he just doesn’t know it yet. It all kind of depends on what’s going on around you. If it’s just you two and you’ve broken away and it’s just a race between two of you, then you pretty much know where to do it. It’s kind of already been documented -- it’s right through the center of the tri-oval you try to make a move.”

Do you feel like finding someone to team up with during superspeedway races is like trying to find a date for the prom? “I never had to do that, because I never went (to prom). I don’t know. I’d imagine that is probably what it’s like. It’s probably the best analogy anybody else can come up with. As far as trying to pick somebody to go with, or draft with or anything, in a perfect world you’d come off pit road with either a teammate or somebody you’ve worked with already throughout the day. Otherwise, it’s like you said, I’d been working pretty well that day with Denny (Hamlin), so he was about two rows back of me and Trevor (Bayne) wanted to work with me and then Carl (Edwards) wanted to work with me. I was just going to try to keep it to my teammate at that point in the race. Looking back on that now, I probably should have went with Trevor.”

What is it like to have drivers ask you to work with them? “I think this week I’ll just leave it to first come, first served -- so whoever gets on my radio first and asks me, then they’ll be the guy I’ll work with. Other than that, you hate to say no to somebody because you might have made them mad. But, you have to realize and understand that there’s 43 guys out there that all want to work with somebody, so you’re not going to be the first guy all the time.”

What is it like visually being the second car in a two-car draft? “You can’t see a whole lot. You can’t really see through the rear glass of a guy’s car because the way the sun hits it, even if it’s a cloudy day, you might not be able to see all the way through it. The spoilers are so high that your limited vision is so small that you’re really not going to make out a whole lot if you even could see through it with the spoiler. You tend to try to look over the roof of a guy’s car through the corner and try to see what’s going to happen down the next straightaway. That’s when you rely on either the guy in front of you to talk to you through going around guys or passing guys or you rely on your spotter. If you have that guy in your radio and you’re pushing that guy, he should be the one on the radio, ‘Okay, low, low, middle, middle, high, high,’ -- he kind of talks you to where you’re going so you can stay on him and not take a chance of spinning a guy out.”

-source: toyota motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags jgr, sprint cup, talladega, toyota