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

How is your car in practice? “The M&M’s Camry is pretty decent so far. Unloaded off the truck and was pretty close -- felt good about it. Speed in race trim was there. Not sure how exactly the track changed with the heat and everything and how much we were supposed to slow down or not supposed to slow down. Seems like we’re relatively close to the competition.”

Has anything changed with the addition of shifting? “Nothing’s changed since we were here last time, for me anyways. Everything is the same. We were real comfortable with it the last time we were here and things went real well for us with it. We seemed like we could gain a little bit of time in the areas we were shifting. On restarts you do a couple things different than you did here in the past.”

How was your truck in practice? “Truck practice was okay. We were third, but we don’t feel that great. Seems like the 2 (Elliott Sadler) truck is really, really good. We’re a little bit off of him so we’ll see if we can’t work on it a little bit and get a little bit better and see if we can’t make it a race at least for the win rather than a race for second.”

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

How do you think the wild card has impacted the season? “I think it’s great. I’m certainly glad we’re not in that position. I would hate to be in that spot. I’m thankful that where we’re at is with three wins right now on the year. It’s very tough though. You can have one week -- we got to the points lead after Phoenix, blew up in Vegas and went back to 14th in points. Worked our way all the way back up to the point lead I think Charlotte time or maybe second in points and fell back to eighth in points. Worked our way back up to the points lead for Loudon, had a problem and fell back to fifth in points. It’s so easy to suffer and fall back in points that you definitely have to be consistent and for those guys that are on the bubble looking for their way in without a win -- certainly they’re going to have to be conscious of that.”

What would be your strategy if you were on the bubble? “I think our biggest strategy is to get a solid finish. I don’t think you can go for the win. If you can go for the win and get it, obviously you kind of lock yourself in, but if you go for the win and miss it and give yourself a 30th-place finish then you’re going to be way too far out. I think being conservative is a lot better choice than going too far over the edge.”

Can you afford to gamble on fuel mileage at Watkins Glen? “We certainly can. We’re in the predicament that we can take some pretty good gambles like we did at Indy last week. We were going to finish about 30th if we didn’t do what we did there and come in and get fuel and try to stretch it the three laps we were short. In doing that, it gave us a good finish and it gave us a top-10 finish so that was good. Watkins Glen we can probably do the same thing.”

What does it take to be successful at Watkins Glen? “Watkins Glen -- it’s just the biggest thing is pit strategy. Obviously, you’ve got to pick and choose when you’re going to pit and stick to your plan. Whether or not we can still do it on two stops I’m unsure because Sonoma turned into a threestop race for us all because the new fuel mileage is a little bit off than what we were here last year with the old fuel. Watkins Glen though, you definitely have got to be good at being able to carry speed obviously through the esses and down the long backstretch. That seems to be the key part to the race track.”

What is the difference for drivers at Watkins Glen compared to Sonoma? “Sonoma is kind of like Martinsville and Watkins Glen is kind of like Talladega. That’s how different they are. Watkins Glen seems like it’s an easier road course for these cars and for us to be on. They’re not as agile as other sports cars are. We’re 3,400 pound race car where other sports cars are maybe 2,500 or 2,800 pounds. You can throw them around a lot easier. Their brakes are a lot better and they stop a lot better. With as big and heavy of tanks as these are we seem to have a problem already not running into each other let alone being on a tight road course like Sonoma certainly adds a challenge.”

Will we see a lot of drivers getting into each other at Watkins Glen like we did at Sonoma? “I think you will. Yeah, you’ll see a little bit of it especially on restarts and stuff like that. Watkins Glen is a place where we get a little bit more spread out throughout the run. Certainly there’s some areas where some guys can make some moves. Like getting into turn one you can out-brake somebody really good. Getting into the bus stop you can out-brake somebody pretty good too there. It’s like Marcos (Ambrose) did to me in 2009 I think it was in the Nationwide Series. If you out-brake somebody getting in there and you both are already on so much edge one of you is going to have to give. If you’re that guy on the inside you’re going to run into the guy on your left and you’re going to put him off into the island there in the grass. You’ve got to be conscious of that. That’s why I got out of the way and stopped when I had my problem there.”

Can a battle with another driver lead you to push it to the limit harder than normal? “I don’t think so. I think you’re already to the limit of your race cars giving every lap that you can give it out there on the race track. For instance, when we’re running out there and we’re running for 15th those guys are pushing a lot harder actually than the guys that are running in the top-five just to try to get up to the top-five. You’re always running hard and sometimes you’ve got to be conscious of that. I wasn’t a couple weeks ago at Loudon where we were coming up through the field and I overheated the brakes and blew a tire. Certainly there’s aspects where you can get yourself in trouble.”

What do you think Carl Edwards might have brought to Joe Gibbs Racing? “I don’t think there’s any sense of disappointment. Certainly it would’ve been great to have him and certainly it’s great that Roush Racing gets to keep him. I don’t think there’s any hard feelings there. I think that’s a part of the negotiation process and how Carl (Edwards) felt like he wanted to handle things and where he ended up is where he ended up.”

By; toyota motorsports