"The spring was a dream weekend for me there"
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 29, 2013) – As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, Kyle Busch is hoping to be doing the Texas Two-Step yet again in the Lone Star State.
While the April Sprint Cup win was his first there, Busch is no stranger to victory lane at Texas. He reeled off an incredible string of five consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series wins there from April 2008 to April 2010. Add his two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins in November 2009 and 2010 and it’s no wonder Busch is eyeing three wins this weekend as he’s entered in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Truck Series races.
Busch sits fifth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings with three races remaining, 36 points behind JGR teammate and Chase leader Matt Kenseth, and feels he has an excellent chance of winning all three remaining Sprint Cup races at Texas, Phoenix International Raceway and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
That could all begin for Busch with his second Texas win of the year Sunday, when he and his SNICKERs team look to add yet another signature cowboy hat and six-shooters as race winner in the Lone Star State to Busch’s steadily growing trophy collection.
How special was it to get your first Texas win in April, which also happened to be your 300th Sprint Cup start? “It felt good to sit on the pole with a new track record and go to victory lane. Doesn’t get much better than that. It was a fast race and I expect more of that this weekend. Texas is fast. We’re able to carry a lot of speed throughout the turns and down the straightaways throughout the whole race. It was a tough day there for a bit, getting loose, trying to slide around, trying to find grip, being able to move to the middle or move to the top. As soon as that caution came at the end, my boys stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam and got us to victory lane. I was very proud of those guys and, hopefully, they can get us another good stop on Sunday.”
Looking back the April race, what do you think of the numbers that you’ve put up in your career with 28 wins by the age of 28? “There’s a guy named Jimmie Johnson out there who has absolutely shredded the stat book for the rest of us. It’s great for what I’ve been able to accomplish in this sport and I’m thankful for that. And I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and a lot of people to be thankful to, including Joe Gibbs (team owner) and Dave Rogers (crew chief), just to name a few. I’m a competitor so, of course, you always wish your stats were a little bit better. I’d love to say I’ve had 50 wins by now, or something near that. But you take everything in stride as best you can, and we’ll continue to work hard. Hopefully, we can continue to increase that number for many years to come.”
Are you getting more comfortable at Texas each time you go back? “It used to not be so much. I had some wild races there early on in my career and it wasn’t one of my favorite places, for whatever reason. Things have gone well, recently. The spring was a dream weekend for me there. Obviously, the Nationwide Series wins I had there all in a row and getting the win in the Truck Series the last couple of years have been real confidence-boosters. I’ve sort of learned how to drive it a little bit better and I know what I need in my racecar to make it easier. The cars JGR has given me since I joined the team have also been a confidence-booster there. Hopefully, we can get our SNICKERS Camry back to victory lane there on Sunday.”
Are you having more fun competing in this Chase than you ever have before? “Yeah, I would say I’ve had more fun this year than in years past. It’s certainly a lot nicer to be competitive each week, to run up front and to take away those points that you need to. But, it can be somewhat frustrating, as well, when you are finishing either one spot ahead or just a couple spots behind those guys you’re racing against. That’s certainly difficult and challenging. It’s challenging to make up points in those sorts of circumstances. So, to make up points, you definitely have to win (races) and get those bonus points that are out there. Last weekend was obviously really frustrating, but we have three really good tracks coming up to finish the season, so we’re going to fight hard to finish the season and get the best points finish that we can.”
How fast of a racetrack is Texas Motor Speedway? “It’s a fast racetrack. Texas was really hard for me at the beginning with the Cup cars, for some reason. I took to it right off the bat in the Nationwide stuff. We’ve kind of correlated some of that information back and forth and, having the cars from Jason Ratcliff (former Nationwide Series crew chief and current crew chief of the No. 20 Sprint Cup team for JGR) and from Dave Rogers (Busch’s Sprint Cup crew chief) being as good as they’ve been, we’ve been really fast there. And now that Jason is on the Cup side with Matt (Kenseth), I’m hoping they can bring back a little of that magic that helped us win five in a row there in the Nationwide car. It’s a fun place. It’s really challenging because of the flatness of the corners, getting into the corners, and then they’re so banked through the turns and then the exits of the corners, they kind of fall off really quickly. That was always really weird for me to try to figure out because the lateral grip seems to go away so fast on the exit of the turns. You kind of want to be straight by that point. It’s an interesting facility. Texas, Charlotte and Atlanta all might look exactly the same, but they drive nothing alike. It keeps you on your toes.”