Kyle Busch - Michigan Friday Media Visit

Michigan International Speedway

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

Have you talked with Dave Rogers about the part failure last week? “Yeah, we’ve talked a little bit this week and they found out what the problems were. It was in the front springs so we’ll see if we can’t get with the manufacturer and figure out how we can make heat not be an issue.”

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Did you feel the punishment fit the crime? “It doesn’t matter whether you feel like it does or doesn’t. It was something that we had wrong and we did not fit within the rules after the race. Certainly there needs to be something done to that. Like Joe Gibbs Racing issued a statement earlier this week that we accept the penalty and we’ll move forward.”

Did Michigan talk with you about repaving the race track? “I haven’t been one of the ones that they’ve talked to about it. I hope they talked to somebody at least and got some ideas on maybe how to make sure that they can repave this place. And, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but not ruin it -- you know what I mean. When you repave a place or when you pave one to begin with like a Kansas or a Chicago or a California a few years ago when they did that place. It was always one groove right around the bottom of the race track. Homestead, I feel like did the best at it when they repaved it. You could go right to the race track and you could run the bottom, you could move to the middle, you could go to the top. It was a race track that you could move all over the place instead of just being stuck to one lane. So, hopefully they can take a little bit of information from Homestead and do that here -- progressively bank it here -- in order to help drivers out.”

How much will being off probation change your driving style this weekend? “Zero.”

Do you feel better being off probation? “It didn’t matter being on it or being off of it. I try to race the best I can each and every week, as hard as I can and as clean as I can. Sure, sometimes there’s a time where you get into somebody or you get loose and you get into them and you spin them and they’re mad at you. It wasn’t intentional. There’s no malicious intent involved in it. It’s just a product of racing. Hopefully we can keep racing that way.”

Are you expecting Kevin Harvick to retaliate this weekend after the way he raced you at Pocono? “I’m not expecting anything at anytime, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. It’s fine with me. It’s not my problem. I race my race car and he drives his. You saw how I raced.”

Do you feel a sense of relief being off probation? “There’s no difference in being on probation or off probation for me because I race the same whether I’m on or whether I’m off. There’s no difference there. Like I said, there’s times in which you’re racing hard and you get loose and get into somebody or you get into somebody and there’s no intent in doing that. It just happens. It’s just a product of hard racing.”

Were you trying to stay away from Kevin Harvick last week at Pocono? “Yeah, when you’re getting pushed down the front straightaway all the way to the bottom of the race track you’re trying to get away from the situation. It wasn’t happening. He (Kevin Harvick) kept following me so I backed off and waited for my next opportunity to pass him and then when I did pass him, he then pushed me all the way down the frontstretch. At first, it brought back a memory of what he said after Homestead and how he was racing me like a clown all day and then he parked me. So, it seems like there was a different side there.”

How hard is it to stay patient in a situation like last week at Pocono? “It’s a lot easier to do earlier in the race than it is at the end of the race. If it was for a win, it would certainly be a heck of a lot harder to do than if it’s for a fifth or sixth or a something like that. I’ve learned a lot. I think it will be a lot different.”

Have you not talked to Kevin Harvick since the NASCAR meeting at Dover? “Correct.”

Are you looking forward to racing at Kentucky? “Kentucky will be good. I’m looking forward to getting there. It’s a great opportunity for the speedway to have the triple there that weekend -- the Trucks, the Nationwide cars and the Sprint Cup cars there all together. For their first Sprint Cup weekend, it’s not just a standalone event or it’s not just a Nationwide Series and Cup Series event, it’s all three. It’s big for the speedway and hopefully it will be good for myself and Kyle Busch Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing.”

We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him and his passion for motorsports ...

Kyle Busch

What type of racing do you expect at Kentucky Speedway? “I couldn’t expect anything but some good, hard racing. Kentucky is a fast race track. There’s a lot of sweeping corners there so you’ve really got to keep your momentum going and it’s a big momentum-type race track. There’s a lot of throttle on time there. You carry a lot of good speed, but yet the place is really wide so you’ve got room for maneuverability. You can run the bottom. It seemed like you can run the middle. I don’t know how great the top will be, but we’ll have to see once we get there and what kind of tire we’re on.”

What role has your father Tom had in your career? “I think we talk about it every year, there’s not much different to say besides what we’ve said in the past. My dad was a big inspiration in my career -- both my brothers and my career. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him and his passion for motorsports and racing and him doing everything he did possible for us to have the opportunity to have race cars to go to the race track with, and to buy tires and to buy fuel and to buy everything it took. And, then for him and mom to both make that sacrifice for us.”

Do you still call your dad for advice? “He calls me and he tells me things. He always asks me about different situations about race weekends like, ‘Hey, well why did you guys pit here?’ Or ‘Why didn’t you take just two tires there?’ So, he’s always giving me advice about how maybe we could’ve done things differently. I tell him, ‘Man, you’ve got to look at the whole picture.’ And when he hears my side he’s like, ‘Oh, okay.’”

How challenging is it to race against road course drivers who you might not race against on a regular basis? “It’s different already. There’s a lot of guys out there that have the road racing background that know a heck of a lot more about road racing and technique than we do anyways. The neat thing about road racing is just being able to have -- it’s like a throwaway weekend -- it’s not a throwaway weekend, but to me it’s like a vacation weekend. You just go out there and have fun and do the best you can and you’ll either do really well or you’ll do really bad and you just go on to the next one. We do have some testing for it and you try to pick up on it, but in respect to who you’re racing, yeah, you can expect to race a little bit different crowd. (Marcos) Ambrose has been really good this year so we’ve been racing him more and more on the ovals. Juan Pablo (Montoya) the same thing. Jimmie (Johnson) has been a lot better at the road courses so now you race against him, you race against Tony Stewart. A lot of the guys that race well at both you race against every week.”

Has Jeff Gordon’s style changed over his career? “I don’t know that I can really answer that question 100 percent. To me, all you can take is from what you see or what you hear and, yeah, you can say that Jeff’s (Gordon) style is pretty much tried to stay the same. And I think these cars are so much different that you have to adapt to the cars sometimes and maybe he’s been able to be a lot better at that. I think communication between the team members -- driver and crew chief -- makes it easier for you to change your style a little bit.”

How can driver/crew chief communication help change your style? “When the crew chief tells you, ‘Alright, well we’re going to have to put this in the car in order to make the tire last longer.’ When we went to this towed rear end housing that makes the cars go down the straightaway crooked, that changes your driving style. You can’t go off into the corner the same, you can’t drive it in the same, you can’t accelerate the same -- it’s all different. So, all of that changes with aerodynamics of the way the cars are where the -- I don’t know how to explain it -- I guess where the spin out coefficient is, you know, the more yaw you get. How much down force versus drag versus side force -- does it all apply? And, you know, that changes too. It’s so many different things you’ve got to equate into a driving style.”

Do you have to be a scientist to understand the communication and changes? “Your crew chiefs have to be and then they have to tell you how to figure it all out too. You tell them what you’re feeling and he goes, ‘Alright, well is this why you’re feeling it?’ And you’re like, ‘Yeah, that seems about right,’ you know, so then you start learning more about it.”

Have you spoken to Kimi Raikkonen about his future plans? “I have not, so I don’t know. Rick (Ren, Kyle Busch Motorsports general manager) talks to them a lot more than I do, so I have not talked. I don’t know.”

... I tend to leave it to him and let him make the decisions.

Kyle Busch

Is it important in your career to have a road course win? “I think it's pretty good. I think it’s great to be able to have wins at all types of facilities. I think in ’08 when I won the road course races, I also won the road course race in Mexico. That was a big road course year for me for some reason. I just clicked at all of them. We’ve run top-five and top-10 since, but haven’t quite been the car to beat at those road courses. I enjoy that type of racing and I’d like to get back to it and it’s cool the opportunity comes next week at Sonoma.”

What are your thoughts on the recent Joyce Julius report of advertising value? “I think it’s good. I think that’s what we’re all out here for, obviously, is advertising for our sponsors. We’re a moving billboard. In the short scheme of things, there’s a lot more beyond that. For me to have the opportunity to be the number one talked-about guy, whether good whether bad, it’s an opportunity. We’d like to make the most of that and be talked about for better reasons than others, but that’s what sponsors pay the big dollars for in this sport is to get recognized and get exposure dollars.”

Were you surprised by the overall value and do you think M&M’s is pleased with that? “That’s what we all look at every day when we go to try and sell sponsorship to Kyle Busch Motorsports for the truck teams, for the Nationwide teams, for the Cup teams. That’s why I run as many Nationwide races as I do, because the sponsors want me in the car. It’s nothing against the younger drivers, because they are what’s going to make this sport go forward, but they don’t really care -- they want the exposure value. It’s right here, right now and the same thing in the Truck Series. If I could put Brian Ickler for the whole year and sell the same sponsorship that I’ve sold, I would do it. But that opportunity doesn’t exist.”

Do you have a comfort level to veto your crew chief’s pit decisions? “I’m not sure that I’m ever really comfortable making the calls. I’ll ask him what the call’s going to be and I’ll ask him a couple questions to rethink it and he’ll either change it or keep it the same. He’s got a hell of a lot more information than I do sitting on the top of that pit box, so he sees a lot more. He sees lap times of other drivers. He sees where the race is going -- how many laps, what the pit windows are -- all that stuff. That’s why I tend to leave it to him and let him make the decisions.”

Do you think a crew chief can hear it in your voice that you want changes? “Sometimes there’s definitely, whether we need to stay out or whether we need to pit, I’ve made a couple of those decisions this year where he’s like, ‘Yeah, I think we ought to stay out,’ and I come in and I pit and it was like, ‘That was the right decision.’ Or vice versa. I can make those pretty good on the fly, but just because I can see what’s going on in front of me and in my mirror about who is coming to pit road and who’s not. Not necessarily about whether we need to take four tires or two tires or all that stuff.”

Who is the grumpiest person who needs a Snickers bar right now? “There’s probably a few that could use a Snickers bar, but names I won’t mention.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kimi Raikkonen , Kevin Harvick , Brian Ickler , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Kyle Busch Motorsports
Tags joe gibbs, sprint cup, toyota