Weekly Top 10 with Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS Kyle Busch in the No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS answered questions from the media today at Martinsville Speedway during the weekly "Behind the Hauler" Q&A session. Busch is currently...
Weekly Top 10 with Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS
Kyle Busch in the No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS answered questions from the media today at Martinsville Speedway during the weekly "Behind the Hauler" Q&A session. Busch is currently fifth in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings, 105 points outside of first place.
After Bristol, who are you mad at? Who is mad at you?
"I'm not mad at anybody. I didn't get into any skirmishes with anybody out there. I don't think anybody is mad at me hopefully. We didn't spin anybody out. I didn't get spun out. So all is good. Hopefully everything is well and I'm looking forward to Martinsville."
How concerned are you that there will be some sort of payback at Martinsville?
"You just hope you're not around it I guess. It's almost inevitable sometimes on any weekend especially with two short tracks in a row. It's easier to do that at a short track than it is at a speedway just because if you're going do it, it's a lot safer. You don't have as much speed here. There's still plenty of times where you're going to be able to hit the wall with plenty of speed."
On the high level of feuding lately. Why can't you guys just all get along?
"I love that. I wish we would all get along. That'd be perfect. We'd all be good and happy with each other. We've got a neighborhood of coaches over there. We'd all be able to have a good ol' get together and party and what not. It seems like everybody always has a feud with somebody so you may not be able to invite one guy because the other guy might show up but then if that other guy is not going to show, you'll invite the other one. It's one of those deals where you just try to hope everybody can get along and you just try and go out there and race your race car."
Were you surprised about the incident that happened last weekend with Jeff Gordon after his reputation for being a nice guy?
"No, I wouldn't say that. I don't know why NASCAR parked them that close together after the race anyway. That might have been something they wanted to see. They got it. They got a show out of it. Jeff lost $10,000 out of it so it's probably something you won't see him do again. All in all it's Bristol racing. It's always hard, emotions are running high, you're in the car for so long. I'm sure that wasn't the only time Jeff got run over all day. Maybe he got moved out of the way sooner. It's the same thing for (Matt) Kenseth. Kenseth had been racing for two days in a row so I'm sure he got plenty of it."
On the pressures with having sponsors while also being human:
"You've got to make sure you keep your emotions in check as much as you can because you don't want to put any risks out there for your sponsors to be mad at you or any kind of thing like that. You want to make sure that you go out there and you run a good enough race where you try to put it in victory lane and not have to worry about all that stuff. Sometimes you get into it with some other people. For me, I've kind of started to learn that it's best to take the high road a little bit."
What did the incident last weekend do to Jeff Gordon's image?
"I don't think it did anything. Jeff Gordon is a four-time champion. He is what he is. He's been around for a while. He's won the most races out of any driver that is still running I believe. He's got enough on his side where he could probably screw up a couple of times and be all right."
On his previous issues with Tony Stewart and what constitutes something developing into a rivalry:
"That's a tough question. You can have a rivalry brew out of just something from Bristol. You can have a rivalry brew out of something from Daytona or Las Vegas or California or wherever it may be. It's whether or not you let is escalate that far. If you go up and talk to a driver and try to get it settled and out of the way, then you can have a good time racing around the guy and it's all fine and dandy. But if you let it brew into something that it shouldn't, that's when you have problems."
On Hendrick Motorsports' success here:
"It's been a real good 24-48 place for sure. We're trying to turn the 5-25 around here. I did OK here last fall. I was running 12th in the spring and knocked the radiator out of it on a re-start and finished ninth last fall so that's a good solid effort. If we could just do that again this time around I think we'll be all right."
What makes Jeff Gordon so good here?
"I'm not sure what it is. He just has a knack for this place. He's always run pretty well here. I can't ever remember a time where he hasn't been at least fast here. He's got a lot of respect for this place. He's got a lot of knowledge about it. He knows how to race around here. Hopefully I can learn something from him. I talked to him a little last week at Bristol to try to figure out what I can do to help myself here. Hopefully that will play dividends today and this weekend." Is Jeff Gordon the guy to beat this weekend?
"Not necessarily. There's quite a bit of guys out here that are fast. Jeff Gordon of course is probably one of the most notable favorites. Tony Stewart is very good. Jimmie (Johnson) is pretty good. Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. is all right. There's some more down the line if I keep looking. It's always a tough race to really plan out. There's no specific strategy to it. You can pit here, you can pit there. You can have a guy on 100-lap tires that holds off a guy on 50-lap tires so it just all depends."
On Jeff Gordon and his relationship with his crew chief Steve Letarte:
"As far as what I've seen, everything has gone pretty well. The way that Steve and Jeff have been working together has been pretty good. Steve works very well with Allen (Gustafson) my crew chief as well as Lance (McGrew) and Chad (Knaus). All is pretty good over there. Jeff seems to like him so that's all that really matters if they're getting the job done."
"He knows quite a bit about race cars. He started out sweeping the floors and worked his way up. He knows where everything is in the shop. He knows all the guys in the shop. There's some new guys that came on this year but now that he's the crew chief he gains respect that way but he has the respect of all the guys that have been there a while because he's made that transition and made that way up."
On the Nashville track:
"I've been pretty successful there over the years. The year before last year we were leading coming out of turn two on the last lap and got dumped. Then the fall race there we were leading again, led the most laps I believe, and had the most dominant car and it ran out of gas with three laps to go. It's a place that I tend to be able to run well at but I need to try to finish there pretty good as well too."
On the cool trophy for the Nashville Busch race:
"Nashville has a great trophy. I heard they're doing something a little different for the pre-race show. I'm not quite sure what it is but I heard it's different. We'll have to see exactly what that is. All in all it's a neat place to race at. I enjoy that race track. The trophy is probably the most prestigious there is out there. It's been around Nashville for a long time. I have one already from the ARCA race, my first ever ARCA win, but I'd love to get a Busch Series win."
Do you play guitar?
"I don't play it but I love it when it's up on my shelf looking pretty."
On the Busch Series going international and possibly going to Canada:
"It's all good. It's hard on the truck drivers sometimes especially when there's not a lot of off weekends already. I feel for those guys and their families. Once you travel and you get through all the passport stuff and customs and you get down to race track, it's not too bad getting down to business, it's just some of the headaches you have to go through to get there."
On your relationship with your spotter and how you developed it:
"When you get a new sponsor you can't just let him jump up there and spot the race. You've got to sit down and talk to him for a little bit and give him an understanding of what you want, what you like, things you don't want to hear about. There's differences to every race track because a place like Talladega, you want him to talk all the time. A place like Bristol or Martinsville, you don't want him to tell you somebody is coming because then you're going to look in the mirror and you're going to screw yourself up for the entry to the corner. You want to be able to have a good enough relationship where he understands what to say and what not to say. When you get it squared away in the beginning of the relationship, that will make it work for a while."
What do you like to hear and not hear?
"I don't like to hear about guys that are faster than me as they're coming up. I like to hear when they get there. If they get to me, yeah they've got a faster car but do they have a strong enough one to get by me. If they get to a point where they're up to my quarter-panel, they're good, they can have it. There's some places and some instances if they're way faster than you, you want to lay over and let them go and have the spot clean and easy. In some instances like what happened earlier this year, you've got a guy that's faster than you coming up behind you, you're trying to preserve for your final pit stop, he's got to work to get by you because you've got to be able get in and get out of your pit space."
How hard is it to be patient here?
"It's very hard because you have people behind you that don't know patience. Sometimes you're running around there, you're in the 10th spot and think OK I'm fine, I'm good just running here and you have somebody on your back door beating on it trying to get by you. It's like where are you going? We're 50 laps into this thing, what are you doing to do? Are you going to go lead the race? OK, that's great. Why don't you wait until the end and try to work on it then. It's difficult because you have that and you're always trying to run your own race, not waste your brakes and that kind stuff. Then you're overdriving it because you're trying to keep the guy behind you, behind you."
How far is too far to bump someone out of the way?
"That's a difficult topic. We've had it for such a long time. Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt are probably the most notables for doing it. Casey Atwood got his first Busch Series win doing it at Milwaukee years ago. It was controversial then. It's just the nature of our sport. Anything goes in the last lap. That's what I've heard. I've been hearing that for a long time but a lot people don't like that. They like to be raced clean. They like to be passed clean. If there's going to be an instance where you've done it to somebody and they got the opportunity to do it back to you, you better expect it."