Kyle Busch - Bristol II Friday media visit

Joe Gibbs Racing press release

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

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Have you watched the film from Wednesday night’s race? “I didn’t watch any film. Just talked to Elliott (Sadler) -- it’s all good. Everything’s fine. It’s over, it’s done with, it’s in the past. We agreed on some things. It was a delightful conversation.”

Do you think you are in a good place heading into the Chase? “We’re certainly in a really good spot right now going into the Chase. We just have to be in a really good spot throughout the Chase. We’ve got the most wins right now and we’re leading the points. All that changes when we get to Chicago. We’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks. We’d like to get a couple more wins if we can. There are a couple really good tracks coming up for us with Bristol, Richmond, Atlanta has been decent for us so we’ll see.”

What is your strategy for the Chase? “There hasn’t really been much discussions. We know not to change a whole lot and keep doing what we’ve been doing all year long. Just make sure that we run the best that we know how to run and try to solidify ourselves through the final 10.”

Are you excited to be involved in the Sprint Summer Showdown? “When Sprint announced the bonus plan for the Sprint Summer Showdown, all of us got excited and we’re pretty pumped up about it. It’s a neat opportunity for us to have something to really shoot for and to go out there and try to win the race for it. Ultimately, we still have to be smart and play it out as we would any other week. For us, it’s great to be in position, that’s why we’ve been trying to win so bad the last couple weeks is to get the opportunity to go for it. Now that we won at Michigan and we have the opportunity, certainly we want to put all of our eggs in that basket to try to win that night.”

What does it take to be successful at Atlanta? “It takes a lot of things. You have to have a lot of grip, you have to have a lot of downforce, you have to have tire management, a great engine and fuel mileage too. There’s a lot of circumstances that it can come down to at the end and what it will boil down to.”

Do you think it’s good for Danica Patrick to race full time in Nationwide next year? “Sure. I think anytime that you’re able to concentrate on something full time and give it your full undivided attention, it will help you a lot more. I wish her (Danica Patrick) all the best and that she has a lot of success. That she’s able to learn from what she’s been able to do here the last couple years and put that to use for next year. Being in the car every single week and getting the repetition of it and everything and not jumping back and forth between two different cars -- I feel like that will be more beneficial to her than the time she’s already spent here.”

How do you feel everything went with your court case? “It’s over and it’s done with. Certainly, it’s something that I’ve talked about numerous times over the past few months. We’re glad that it finally came to an end there the other day and certainly there’s consequences to live through here. We’ll deal with it and go on and I’m most excited about working with Doug Herbert and the B.R.A.K.E.S. program and helping those guys a little bit. Being able to go to some of their classes and help a few kids graduate.”

Does adversity bring out the best in you? “It can bring out the best and it can bring out the worst certainly. It’s about every day I’ve got something. I’m getting pretty used to it.”

What challenges does the day-to-night format present at Atlanta? “Certainly, we practice all during the day so the daytime practice is easy for the beginning of the race, but how the race track picks up speed and certainly gets faster throughout the night and of course the balance can change a little bit. With the speed getting faster, certainly the loads change a little bit for you so you have to be conscious of that. The crew chiefs are good at what they do and that’s why they get paid the big bucks is to try to figure out what best suits the cars for night time because that’s when the race is going to end. Certainly, you want to be good at night.”

What did you think of the speed at Atlanta the first time you raced there? “My first there was 2003 in a Nationwide car and it was definitely fast. It’s all relative. You run the same speed around everybody and it really doesn’t feel that fast so it feels like you’re at anywhere else whether you’re at Las Vegas or Chicago or Kansas or any of those places.”

What is your approach the next three weeks? “It’s just about playing it smart. You don’t want to change too much and get the guys thrown off base and have to recalculate for Chicago. For us, we just want to go out there and keep doing what we’ve been doing all year and strategize to try to win the race possibly. Certainly, it there’s a time where it will come down to a pit stop or something like that, think about the best opportunity for us to win the race and to beat our competitors.”

Do you have a different mindset when you race at Bristol? “It’s not really a different mindset. When you race at certain places so many times, you eventually figure it out. I feel like this is a place that I’ve done a pretty good job at being able to figure out. There’s still some aspects here that can be thrown at you and you can screw up or get taken out. Two years ago, I was leading the race and there was a car that was slow up on the top of the race track and then decided that he wanted to go to the bottom and wrecked us. It’s definitely a race track where things can happen out of nowhere.”

Why are you so good at Bristol? “I don’t know. It’s just kind of come to me. I think a lot of it stems from running well at some other short tracks that I raced Super Late Models and stuff like that -- Winchester, Slinger and Salem -- those places. It’s kind of where we all get our start and I still go back and run those places so I get a good feel for what it takes to be fast at those tracks and some of that transfers here.”

What is Jake Seninara, your rear tire changer like to work with? “Jake’s (Seninara) a great individual. I think all my crew guys are, but Jake’s a lot of fun to be around. He’s a high-spirited guy and loves it when things are easy and go right. Sometimes he’s had some difficult situations and certainly gets down on himself, a lot like myself. We relate a lot with each other and him and Kenny Barber (rear tire carrier) obviously have really worked well together and have put their chemistry together. Like a driver and crew chief, a changer and a carrier have to do the same thing. Jake’s a great guy that has fun with what he does. One of the fastest guys with his hands in the series that I’ve ever seen. It’s like I said about a driver or a quarterback -- when they’re good at what they do then the game slows down. He’s hitting lugs at five lugs in one second. He knows exactly how fast he hit them or how fast he didn’t hit them.”

Were you aware that you and your brother have the same number of wins at Bristol? “No, I’m not aware of that at all actually. I come here knowing that it’s another chance to try to win a race for our race team with the Doublemint Camry this weekend. It would be fun to go up against each other and try to win one here racing each other for the win. Certainly there’s going to be a lot of other guys that have different opinions of that as well.”

Do you consider yourself a favorite at Bristol? “Certainly, probably a lot of people pinpoint us as the guys to beat, but we come in here knowing that it’s a good track for us, it’s a place that we tend to run well at and given the right circumstances or certain circumstances, we can run well here and try to win. There was that time I think last spring that we didn’t run very good at all and everybody was wondering what happened and it’s all because Dave Rogers (crew chief) -- it’s his first race here and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Then we come out and win three in a row. Certainly, it’s just a matter of being able to get your car setup right and hitting everything that you need to hit.”

Will you try to help Denny Hamlin this weekend? “Certainly, we try to do the best we can every week with helping him and giving him my best feedback and our teams best feedback and the right setups. If we’re fast and they can bolt it in, they can certainly have the opportunity to do that. Whether Denny (Hamlin) is comfortable driving that, I’m not sure. That’s where the struggle lies in, but helping him as far as dropping back a position or something like that, I’m not sure that’s going to be enough. One point isn’t that big of a deal.”

Do you think the fans think of your wins in the great Bristol moments? “I couldn’t tell you -- ask the fans.”

How do you feel about qualifying at Bristol? “We’ve never really qualified well here before. Our best qualifying effort has been like a 12th or something like that. Certainly, it makes things a lot easier when you can start further up front and get a better pit selection and all that. I started 38th here before and I’ve won so it’s certainly a good race track for us. Like I said, we just have to mind what we know and what we know about how to run well here and do that.”

Are you comfortable being considered the driver that can win the Chase over Jimmie Johnson? “It doesn’t matter to me. You have to be smart and try to do what you’ve done all year long and contend for the races and try to win the races and when you don’t, if it’s a third, finish third. That’s certainly what we’ve got to do when it boils down to Chase time. We’ve been good at being able to do that thus far this year so hopefully it doesn’t change throughout the final 10.”

Will you approach the Chase races differently? “Our approach is still the same. We know that there’s basically a reset button that happens and everybody gets bottled back up together in points. We’re all separated by maybe two or maybe three points. Certainly, it’s going to be a matter of just being consistent and kind of like starting at the beginning of the year again. You know that if you have a bad day, it’s really going to hurt you. To be able to bounce back the following week or the following few weeks is going to be more crucial than ever.”

What is your confidence level like with the equipment at Joe Gibbs Racing? “I think that all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing have done a really nice job. There’s a lot of hands that work on our cars and a lot of guys back at the shop that are dedicated to doing what they love to do and that’s to build these race cars. We changed structure a little bit over at the shop over the past year. I think the crew chiefs have done a really nice job at being able to lay into some better structure and some better ideas and it certainly has helped the 18 team. At the beginning of the year it seemed like it bit the 20 (Joey Logano) a little bit, the 11 (Denny Hamlin) has had some here or there. You have to be smart -- the driver has to be smart, the crew chief has to be smart, guys at the shop have to know that they have to be smart. It’s certainly a pressure situation and the guys that deal with it the best can come out on top.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Drivers Doug Herbert , Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Danica Patrick , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Tags bristol, busch, gibbs, sprint cup, toyota