Kyle Busch - Indianapolis Friday Media Visit

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

What do you think of being at the Brickyard and starting the Sprint Summer Showdown? “Certainly it’s exciting to get back to Indy. It’s always the summer months -- July, August time that you get back here and you look forward to the opportunities of racing at the Brickyard and what a prestigious place this is and the history that’s been here. Whether it’s been Indy cars, whether it’s been NASCAR -- certainly one of the oldest facilities still in existence in the United States. Fun to run here and we’ll see how it plays out. Hopefully, we’ll have a fast M&M’s Camry. The Sprint Summer Showdown is a neat program. Certainly we’re all pretty excited about it. I think the fans can get excited about it, the drivers certainly are and respective charities are as well too. It’s a neat initiative that Sprint’s put in that we can go after and win three million dollars respectively for the parties involved. To me, through the next six, seven races before we get to Atlanta and where it all comes to a close -- it’s going to be important to try to win a race. For one, to get involved in the program. For two, for guys that aren’t in the Chase, to get into the Chase and guys that are 11th through 12th maybe that don’t have wins, to get a win. It gets them eligible and a lot of guys are going to be looking for all of that when it comes down to Atlanta time.”

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

What is your involvement with the B.R.A.K.E.S. program? “Just talking with Doug Herbert the past few weeks and our relationship and what I’ve been able to learn from him about the B.R.A.K.E.S. program and stuff has been really, really good. Those guys have a great program and do a lot of great work for kids that may not know exactly what driving a car entails. It’s certainly a lot more than just being able to make it from point A to point B sometimes. For me to be able to do a little bit more around that program and help the kids be able to get through the program -- we’re working towards the 3,000th graduate -- Doug is and I’ll be working towards about 300 of those new kids getting through the program and taking some initiative there to help them through it and give them some advice and give them my story. I want to help Doug deliver his story and then of course help him out through some of the courses as well too that they do.” {{

Do you need to win at Daytona, Indianapolis or Charlotte to be considered good in NASCAR? “I don’t know that you need them, but certainly it helps the prestige of your career a little bit more. I feel like Daytona is number one, Indy is number two, Charlotte I would go with number three. I haven’t won at any of the big three yet. I’m certainly looking forward to the day that I can. Obviously, I would like it to be sooner rather than later, but it’s something that I’ve really looked towards trying to win those races since I was a young guy and even before I started here. You watch guys like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace and those guys work so hard to win these races. It only comes around once a year so it takes you 365 more days before you get your next opportunity.”

Does a win at Daytona, Indianapolis or a NASCAR championship define a career? “I don’t know that it really does. Certainly there’s drivers that have won the Daytona 500 that characterize themselves as a Daytona 500 champion. Guys that have won a Brickyard 400 title clarify themselves the same way or a NASCAR championship and in this case -- a Sprint Cup champion. They call themselves a champion. I’ve got a Nationwide Series championship and obviously, that’s about all I’ve got to my credit right now. One day I would like to have all of those.”

What do you need to do to win at Indianapolis? “The biggest important thing here at Indy is being able to have a fast car. You need to have a fast car in practice -- you have to have a way of making your car fast around this race track. It seems like getting through turns two and turn four are the easiest way to do that because of the long straightaways that you get onto after. In practice we’ll be working on that -- trying to get speed and trying to get comfort. Then when you get into qualifying, you can’t screw up qualifying. It helps you a lot throughout your race if you can just start up front and then you’re not chasing from behind so bad. Qualifying is big and then just keeping that track position and being able to hold yourself up front.”

What do you think of the Nationwide Series leaving Lucas Oil Raceway? “That’s a little bit of a disappointment for sure. I would like to have seen that continue on. They’re bringing them over here to the Brickyard and people have asked me whether I think that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I say it’s both. Certainly I say it’s a good thing because you’re bringing them to the Brickyard and I feel like there’s bigger people here, there’s a chance to put more butts in the stands. What’s the negative -- the negative is you’re getting rid of another short track race that’s been great for the sport for many years, since 1982 I think it was on the schedule or maybe even longer. Maybe even shorter -- whatever it’s been. Do you feel like you’re going to be able to fit or get as many people here at the Brickyard to watch a Nationwide race as you do at the short track? I don’t know about that.”

What do you remember from your first NASCAR start at Lucas Oil Raceway? “I remember practicing and being okay in practice and then thinking that I really need to step it up for qualifying. I was over-driving the thing way too much and ended up wrecking the truck and had to go to a backup and started dead last. Just worked my way through the field. Didn’t run into anybody, didn’t tear up anything and finished ninth. Certainly that was my entry into NASCAR and into the Truck Series at that time. I was 16 so it was pretty fun, but all in all it was certainly a big learning experience and something that I hate to see the history of that track go away. You remember the days of Jack Sprague and Ron Hornaday banging against each other and Mike Skinner being involved and Mike Bliss -- all the heroes of the Truck Series.”

How did you feel when you wrecked that truck at age 16? “I remember I was worried about it and then Jack (Roush) came over later in the afternoon and sat me down and talked to me for a little while and basically reprimanded me for wrecked a truck. I’m like, ‘Dude, you know I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want me to do besides that. Give me another one, I’ll show you what I can do.”

Are you working on fielding a Nationwide team at Kyle Busch Motorsports next year? “We’re trying. We’ve got two people right now that are interested in talking about Nationwide stuff so it’s just a matter of them choosing us over other teams to sponsor and to help out. We’ll move forward from there.”

Would the Nationwide piece at Kyle Busch Motorsports be tied to Joe Gibbs Racing? “No, it will be KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) itself -- it won’t be rolling anything from JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) over.”

Do you think Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have Indianapolis figured out? “I’m not sure what exactly it is that makes those guys so good here, but I would certainly like to figure it out and get a knowledge for what it is that makes them so fast here. It doesn’t surprise me -- Tony (Stewart) knew what it was or Juan (Pablo Montoya) knows what it is, but it surprises me about Jimmie (Johnson) just being from the NASCAR background, those guys have an Indy car background here where they know how to make speed and be fast. They’ve got so many laps around here and Jimmie’s been fast ever since he’s come here the first time. For me, it’s been a struggle for me a little bit. Sometimes I’ve been good here and other times I haven’t been so good here. Certainly I would like to turn it around and have a better opportunity to run up front each time we get here.”

Does it level the field to have qualifying later in the day on Saturday? “It certainly does -- it definitely levels out the playing field a little bit and evens everybody out when qualifying draw comes around, which now it’s not a draw anymore, it’s actually off of first practice speeds. You always tend to want to go later just so you know what kind of lap time you’re going to have to run to sit on the pole, but it’s always easiest to just kind of get out there and lay down a lap, but ultimately screw it up. It seems real easy to screw up one corner here and it can hurt you so bad.”

How would you feel about one of your drivers participating in extracurricular racing activities? “I can certainly understand what Joe’s (Gibbs, team owner) and J.D.’s (Gibbs, team president) concerns are definitely. I feel like I’m in a safer environment than maybe Kasey (Kahne) is running late models and stuff like that. I still have the same surroundings around me and I’ve got a bigger role cage, I’ve got a seat and everything that really feels like you’re in the car tight. Certainly, there’s still the aspect that you can get hurt. Whether you get hurt here at the big level racing around here or whether you get hurt at the small level, it can happen at any moment.”

What do you think about Travis Pastrana not being able to make his Nationwide debut? “If you’re coming up so close to your NASCAR debut and that’s something that you’re going to focus on and that’s what is going to be your main concentration level -- when you’re doing tricks and flips and everything else on motorcycles and back flips and stuff -- it’s probably not a good idea. I don’t see any other NASCAR drivers doing back flips on motorcycles. Not even (Carl) Edwards. I would recommend that we stay away from that.”

Why are you so good at Watkins Glen? “I don’t know. Nationwide -- we’ve been pretty good there. We’ve been fast, but we haven’t won yet. I’ve won a Cup race there. Watkins Glen is fun. It’s a great race track. It’s really cool and fits our cars well. There’s some big straightaways, you can get some big speed going and then there’s some tight turns where you still have to work as hard as you can to get your cars through the switch-backs, the esses and the bus stop and everything like that. Fun place and I would like to get back there here and try to win another one.”

Do you think the points are keeping the drivers too close this season? “It seems like it’s a lot easier for someone to have a bad day. A bad day used to not knock you back as far as what it does now. I’ve had three bad days this year. The first bad day I had, I went from leading the points to 14th. The second bad day I had, I went from fourth in points to 10th. Then the last bad day I just had, I went from leading the points back to fifth. It’s so hard to get yourself back up the ladder and it takes you so much more time than it used to so it’s just really hard. Through the Chase it’s going to be important to not have a bad day.”

What makes a good crew chief? “You’ve got to have a crew chief or a guy that you can communicate with. One that you can trust and one that you can talk to and one that makes changes that are for the better. You come down pit road, you ask for a change or you’re telling them the car is not doing something and they make a change and you make it worse -- that’s not something that gives you confidence in a guy. Certainly, you’ve got to be able to build that report with someone.”

What was your situation at Hendrick Motorsports after it was announced you were going to Joe Gibbs Racing? “It wasn’t that bad. At first I was still included in all the meetings and everything like that, but then it kind of came down towards the last eight or maybe 10 races, I wasn’t in the meetings anymore. Certainly, still was able to have everything given to me in regards to equipment and everything like that. Certainly, the communication between Alan (Gustafson) and myself was still there and we had some good results down the final stretch. We should have been a little bit better in points than where we ended up, but there was nothing that they didn’t do that I would have liked to have done better.”

What kind of teammate do you think Carl Edwards would be at Joe Gibbs Racing? “You’re putting a big if out there -- I would presume. If Carl (Edwards) came over to (Joe) Gibbs (Racing), certainly it would be beneficial I think to the company because he’s really good at what he does, he’s got great communication, he’s got good feedback and he’s been one of the top three or four guys in the sport every year that he’s been around or every year that Roush has had good stuff and they’ve run competitively. I feel like Carl would certainly mesh well and fit in and we could certainly have better results if we could make it a four-car team. I wouldn’t want to see Joey (Logano) go anywhere. I would hope that we could work it to where Carl is our fourth guy.”

By: toyota motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags brickyard 400, indianapolis, joe gibbs, kyle busch, nascar, nscs, sprint cup, toyota