Michigan II: Kyle Busch - GM Top-10 interview

GFS Marketplace 400 - Weekly Top 10 Behind the Hauler Chat with Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/Delphi Monte Carlo SS HOW'S IT GOING OUT THERE? "Not too good right now. We're a little bit off but these guys will work hard as usual, I know, so...

GFS Marketplace 400 - Weekly Top 10

Behind the Hauler Chat with Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/Delphi Monte Carlo SS

HOW'S IT GOING OUT THERE? "Not too good right now. We're a little bit off but these guys will work hard as usual, I know, so we'll try to make it better."

JUST GET THE SETUP RIGHT? "Of course. We've got the car that we've got; that's what we're going to have. So we just need to work on it and try to make it better."

WHAT DO YOU FIND CHALLENGING AT MICHIGAN? "The biggest thing is just trying to get grip here. Some guys are able to get it, other guys can't. You can get it for maybe five laps and then you're just out to lunch. The biggest thing is just trying to make your car comfortable and make it last the whole time throughout a whole tire run, and of course make it fast, too."

DO YOU LIKE THE WIDE RACE TRACK? "Yeah, the wide race track is good. That's what makes Michigan so exciting and so fun. That's the biggest deal about it. For me, coming to Michigan, I tend to run well here for whatever reason and the biggest deal is trying to finish and finishing up front."

HOW MUCH HAS YOUR CALIFORNIA SUCCESS HELPED YOU HERE? "I think my success here actually helped me in California. For some reason, I'm able to run better here than I am in California sometimes but the finishes don't show for it. Last time we were here we came through the field quite a few different times and we just got shortened by rain. We weren't able to be up front when it mattered."

YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO USE THE LUCKY DOG TO GET BACK ON THE LEAD LAP. I SUPPOSE YOU ARE A BIG PROPONENT OF THAT? "It's definitely neat to be able to use it to our advantage like that the way we did last week - that helped out a lot. Obviously it took us from probably a 42nd-place finish to a ninth-place finish. We're trying to dig along there and I were running third when it broke so it was just the fact of trying to get back out there as soon as we could."

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT'S GOOD FOR OUR SPORT? "I think so. Especially last week, they don't have double-foul restarts so the guys that are a lap down - we had a very fast race car. We were running third and catching the leaders when it broke and it was bad circumstances or whatever. But looking at a double file restart I believe we could have probably challenged to get our own laps back anyway."

YOU MAY BENEFIT TOO MUCH FROM IT ONE TIME AND THEN OTHERS YOU WON'T: "The same thing happened the day before in the Busch race. We spun the splines on the sway bar arm, on the sway bar, so in effect, there was no sway bar in the car. We had to come down and fix that, we went four or five laps down doing that. And we came back out of the pits and there were guys who were a lap down so we weren't able to benefit from it at all because there were about eight or 10 guys that were a lap down in front of us so we weren't able to use it to our advantage that day."

ARE YOU A UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN FAN? "Well, my brother moved up here years ago to run in the Craftsman Truck series and he went to a Michigan game, bought me a sweatshirt and sent it home for me. I never really paid attention to college football until then but I became a Michigan fan."

ARE YOU STILL A FAN? "Last year was a bad year but hopefully Chad Henne and Mike Hart and everybody can put it together this year."

HOW ABOUT BRISTOL NEXT WEEK? "Pretty wild as always. There's no room for error, really. Bristol is a big race. It's probably the biggest here coming down to the final four before the Chase. The biggest thing about that race is just trying to keep yourself out of somebody else's trouble. There could be a wreck in Turn Four and you're going into Turn Three and you could be a part of it. It's just everything happens so fast you've got to keep your eye out. The best place to be is out front."

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE NEW DRIVER DAVID GILLILAND? "He's a pretty good friend of mine. I've known him for a few years now, especially from the Southwest Tour. I've known his dad longer than that. To have him up here now. we talk to each other quite a bit. We exchanged phone numbers and stuff like that years ago when I ran in the Southwest Tour. When he came out here, he asked me where to live and he came by my house and we were talking and stuff and I told him if he needed a place to stay he could stay at my house. He found himself a pretty good home and brought his family out and stuff like that, and they're all settled in now so that's nice. I think he's going to be good. He's a very good shoe. He's got a great head on his shoulders. I know he's not quite the age that people are looking for nowadays but you look at David Reutimann and he's the same way. He's a very good shoe and people should take a look at him too."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN THE CHASE? "There's still work to do. You're not in, nobody's in. Jimmie Johnson could finish 43rd in the next four races and fall out. There's definitely some area of improvement for everybody, for us, we're definitely not safe."

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ENSURE YOU MAKE IT IN? "You go out there and do what you can week in and week out and try to plan in order to do the best you can to try and win races of course, that's first and foremost. If you can't do that, you go for the top five, top tens and you just have to salvage along the day, if at all possible. Kind of like last week, we just kind of salvaged the day and we were able to turn it in to a good one."

HOW AMAZED ARE YOU ABOUT DAVID GILLILAND AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIM GETTING A CUP RIDE? "I think it's very odd. You look at practice speeds already today and the 19th was second and the 38th was sixth or fifth or whatever it was. That's a little weird. Overall, it is what it is. For Gilliland, though, he'll be fine. He'll be able to go out there and do pretty well."

ISN'T IT AMAZING THAT THE GUY WINS A BUSCH RACE AND GETS CALLED UP TO A TOP TEAM? "Well yeah it's tough. I mean there are local short track racers right now that are either in Busch North or whatever Winston West is or Southwest Tour, Northwest Tour, wherever, there's guys that are plenty capable of going out there and being able to be competitive in these kinds of race cars. It's just agility and talent and things like that that make you what you are. There's definitely plenty of those that are out there. You just have to be noticed."

ON COMPARING HIS ROOKIE YEAR WITH THIS YEAR: "You know last year was a learning year. You know we tore up a lot of stuff, I did. We had some mistakes as a team and some of the wrecks we weren't able to repair as quickly as we should of. It's just a deal with that. For this year we've kind of gone out there and had very fast race cars. I've become a smarter racer I feel like and been able to put my car in the right positions at the right time in order to make some pretty good finishes out of them."

HOW DO YOU NOT PANIC ABOUT THE CHASE? "It would be very easy to be stressing out about it right now and then once you knock yourself out or something like that then you're devastated. You might as well just stay on level ground and make sure you do what you can in order to get yourself in. That's all you can really do. There's going to be circumstances that may take us out that you know is going to be devastating for us as a team and as a driver for myself but there's always next year. We just have to live on and go on."

DID YOU TALK TO YOUR BROTHER ABOUT THE PENALTY LAST WEEKEND? IN YOUR OPINION WAS THAT THE RIGHT OR WRONG CALL BY NASCAR? "I have not talked to him about it. I briefly saw just on a highlight deal the light turning on just before he got there. For me I don't know what you could have done different besides stop, put it in reverse, backed up and gone on and lost however much track position that was or you could of just came down pit road, hit the stop and let NASCAR keep you in the position wherever you came out. They could of done nothing. It's just a tough scenario. That's why I'm racing the cars and not in that position that NASCAR has to make that call."

ON HAVING FIVE RACES IN THE CHASE ON MILE AND A HALF TRACKS. DOES THAT CONCERN YOU? "It doesn't concern me at all, no. We run good at 'em, we just don't finish at 'em and I don't know what that is and I don't know what our problem is with it. I guess our best mile and half finish is third if not second in Vegas. For me going out there if we can just keep the pieces on the car and keep it heading in the right direction, we tend to be able to run in the top five or top 10. We just struggle along on trying to finish there."

ON COMPETING IN THE CHASE: "If we get in the Chase, we're not going to be flounders and we're not going to run 10th, no. We're going to go out there and contend for this championship."

DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU WERE CALLED IN THE NASCAR HAULER? "No."

WHAT'S IT LIKE IN THE NASCAR HAULER? I HEARD THEY MAKE YOU WAIT IN THERE FOR MIKE HELTON TO COME IN. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NASCAR HAULER? "It's not really a wait that they make you have to have. It's just that they're up there and they have to get down here so you're sitting there waiting for them to come back down. It's like going to the principal's office. You know you're in trouble. You try to keep your mouth shut and let them talk and you do the listening. Then if they want you to speak you do the short sentences, you're done, you go on and go your own way."

DO THEY MAKE TWO DRIVERS GO IN THERE TOGETHER OR DO THEY HANLDE EACH PERSON SEPARATELY? "If there's a conflict, they'll bring you in there together definitely, yeah. That was (Kevin) Harvick and myself in Dover last year. They brought us in together."

DID THEY MAKE YOU GUYS SHAKE HANDS BEFORE YOU LEFT? "Oh no. No, they don't care how you leave. They just want to make sure when you leave they're in the right opinion of you."

ON HOW HARD IS IT BEING A YOUNG GUY IN THIS SPORT. IS THERE A DIFFERENT KIND OF PRESSURE TO PERFORM RIGHT AWAY? "Yeah, you definitely have to perform. The biggest thing is to go out there and run the best you can but for a young guy coming in the sport it's probably even more pressure because if you come in and you don't make it then where do you go. Look at Casey Atwood. Where's he been? He's gone. That's probably the toughest scenario to be put in."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE IN THAT SITUATION YOU HAVE ONE SHOT TO PROVE YOURSELF AND THAT A SECOND SHOT MIGHT NOT BE THERE? "Yeah kind of. That's probably why I was so erratic last year with everything I did. I had fast race cars but I'd tear 'em up too much. You can always pull on a rope but you can't push the rope. For me it was pretty easy to tone everything back and just step back and look at the whole perspective and try to put it all together."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PAST CHAMPION'S PROVISIONAL? DO YOU THINK THAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED? "I don't think so. I think it's fine. If you're a past champion of this sport then you deserve to be in the race in a rightful way. Instead of having the most recent past champion, I think they just look at the fastest past champion from practice, whoever the fastest one was. Say Tony Stewart for instance was 50th in practice and Jeff Gordon was 38th and they've got to put Tony Stewart in the show instead of Jeff Gordon. Well Tony Stewart was (put in the race) because he was last year's (champion) and Jeff was 2001."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Casey Atwood , Jimmie Johnson , David Reutimann , Kyle Busch