Kyle Busch - Richmond II Friday media visit

Toyota Motorsports press release

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

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

How was your paint scheme designed for this weekend? “When we looked at the schedule and saw that the Richmond race was going to be right on the weekend of 9-11 we pinpointed it as an opportunity to go after a special scheme again. Myself and the M&M’s folks -- most of the M&M’s guys -- they designed and put together the scheme which is awesome. It’s an honor to be able to run it. Hopefully it will end up in a good race for us and hopefully we can put it in victory lane. But, certainly it means a lot to all of us and the team and everybody to honor our lost and fallen that were there on that day, and, of course to the many men and women that are still honoring our country.”

Was it a big decision to take your sponsors logos off the car this weekend? “It takes a lot of people to just kind of give up the real estate obviously. Advertising is the main reason as to why we can race these cars around the race track. M&M’s, NOS Energy Drink, Interstate Batteries -- all of the folks that we’re partners with took their logos off the car so that’s pretty cool. I did my part. I took my name off it. It’s cool and good.”

Will it be hard for your competitors to find Kyle Busch on the race track with the special paint scheme? “Oh no. It’s not that hard to ever find the 18 on the race track. Trust me, just because it always just gets some sort of attention.”

What helps Kyle Busch Motorsports to keep going forward? “The biggest thing that helps us going forward is obviously the funding. We wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for that. We’ve had a lot of great partners and we’d like to keep those partners and be able to get them signed up again for next year, and we’re going through that process. Everyday it changes. Certainly, it’s very challenging and difficult just with the times that we have and the recognition that the Truck Series gets and being on Speed Channel and things like that. We still want to keep going though.”

Why do you want to keep Kyle Busch Motorsports going? “For me, it’s the joy of being able to get out there on the race track and race. I love racing in anything I can get in and I pretty much show that every year that I’ve been able to have a ride in trucks and Nationwide and Cup. I do it and I do it because I love it. Certainly there’s an abundance of headaches, I’ll tell you that man. It’s challenging. It feels like you’re in high school again sometimes with some of the people that you have, but you work through it and do it diligently and as best you can to make it successful.”

What is the secret to being successful at Richmond? “I don’t know. We just really work closely together and Denny (Hamlin) and I have had a good relationship where we’ve been able to talk a lot about this place and where we can really help each other. Different lines, how our cars are driving and obviously being on the same team helps all of that. So, we run a lot of the same stuff here and this is a place that we always look forward to coming to. We kind of know the tricks of the trade, if you’d say, at what it takes to be good here.”

Will you do anything special to help Denny Hamlin get into the Chase? “I’m going to win, because if I win it locks him in.”

Are you looking forward to opening the Chase at Chicagoland? “At Chicago, we ran really well there in ’08 and unfortunately ’09 and ’10 were kind of a struggle. I like going to Chicago. It’s been a really good track for us in the trucks and Nationwide and we’ve got to get our Cup stuff a little bit better there. We had a decent car at Kansas this year and Vegas and Charlotte. Some of those places that are kind of the same as Chicago. With the Chase starting, we know that’s where it all begins. We know that building a good foundation certainly helps your chances in being able to go through the final 10 races. To me, it’s kind of like the beginning of the year. We always try to set out and start out really good and build that foundation to where we know we can run through the middle of the year and not have to worry about catching back up.”

Would you still have gotten into team ownership knowing what you know now? “I probably would’ve done it at a later time. Certainly, that’s something that I look towards for the long term. It’s not necessarily what’s good for Kyle Busch right now, it’s going to be what’s good for Kyle Busch when he’s 40 and done racing. What am I going to do? I’m not the normal NASCAR driver, I guess, that’s kind of like the old country boys that go back to farming or something like that. I don’t know the first thing of what it takes to run a tractor -- although my dad has learned. Besides that, for me, it’s like what is it going to be for me after racing? And to me racing has been my whole life so ownership was kind of the easiest thing to look towards and develop a road that we can head down 15 to 20 years from now.”

What progression would you like to see from your team going into the Chase? “We want to get back on track and have a really strong run, be able to run through the whole race and not have any problems or not make any problems of our own. Certainly, we did that at Bristol just with our setup things. We changed from our normal setup and it didn’t work for us. We learned too much from the Nationwide race and thought we were being smart and it didn’t help us. The Cup race in Atlanta kind of went the same way. We kept doing some adjustments that worked on the Nationwide car and they didn’t work for us. We just want to have a good, solid night and keep our No. 18 USA car upfront and have a shot to win the race.”

What are your emotions carrying the red, white and blue paint scheme this weekend? “To me, it’s an honor and a privilege to drive that car and to have the M&M’s folks and us collaborate on an effort to be able to do that. I love it. I think it’s great. I think the fans will love it and of course they are going to make a special diecast of it and the proceeds are going to the USO. That’s cool that it’s a neat opportunity for kind of a charitable effort.”

What are your thoughts on Jeff Gordon’s 85th win? “I’ve done some videos for the Hendrick guys and I think it’s awesome. Jeff (Gordon) was always kind of my hero growing up and through the years, but for him to get win number 85 and to get himself all the way up there to third on the all-time win list -- whether or not he can knock down 20 more wins before he’s out, I don’t know. We’ll see how long he wants to stick around for. Certainly, he’s a tremendous asset to this sport and has done so much for the building of this sport. The character that he has brought here and being able to be a four-time champion as well as win that many times, I think it says a lot about him and whether or not that can ever happen again, I’m not sure. I think a lot of us would say that Jimmie’s (Johnson) probably the only other guy that can win that often, but we’d certainly like to give it a try.”

Are you aiming for 85 wins now? “Yeah. I know it takes winning. It takes winning a lot of races throughout the years, but I’m not sure that there’s too many seasons left in this type of competition where you’re going to win 13 races or 10 races in a year. That’s tough to do. We’ve got the most right now and we’ve got four, so certainly you can see the dynamic that’s spread out through the series here this year.”

Does KHI’s closing positively impact Kyle Busch Motorsports? “If there’s opportunities for us to expand, certainly that’s what we want to do and that’s what we want to build out our company and to not have it survive off of me. I can only do so much for all of our partners and our sponsors that we have, so certainly it’s indicative to the people that are helping us and our partners that they can take a chance on a young guy or even a veteran like a (Ron) Hornaday or a young guy like Brian Ickler, something like that to help our organization. There’s only so much Kyle Busch that can go around, so it’s hard for me to run so many different races and still try to compete over here for the ultimate ticket, which is the Sprint Cup Championship.”

Are you the guy to beat entering this year’s Chase? “No. There’s a lot of guys that are the car to beat. There’s guys that are really tough. The 2 (Brad Keselowski) has been really consistent here the past little while. The 99 (Carl Edwards) has been consistent all year. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson). The 24 (Jeff Gordon) seemed to have turned it up here the last few weeks and running strong at Bristol and last week at Atlanta. Certainly I don’t think it’s anybody’s right now. It’s everybody’s.”

Are there any tracks in the Chase that concern you other than Talladega? “Phoenix. We tested there and it’s going to be a wild card. If it’s a one-lane track right around the bottom like we’ve seen out at some of these new pavement jobs, you’re not going to see much action. It’s just going to be a place of survival and trying to get the most out of what you can that day. It’s a crap shoot, because nobody knows anything about what can or will happen.”

Does KHI closing make you question the future of the Truck Series? “It does, certainly. I think we’ve all seen it for the past few years that we’re all in tough times. I mean, when Kyle Busch has a hard time finding a sponsor for his truck team when he is driving, let alone anybody else, it’s certainly tough. It seems like the only time you can really get anybody to come in and foot the bill is if they’re wealthy. It’s tough in that respect. Certainly we would like it to be easier and everybody would. It would make our lives a whole lot easier, but it’s definitely troubling a little bit, but all we can do is control what we can do and try to make sure that we survive for as long as we can.”TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)

Will the new points system impact the Chase? “Yeah, it definitely minimizing you’re loses. This year we’ve really seen after the first race, the second race we were leading the points going into Vegas and we blew up and went all the way back to 14th in points and it took us like four or five weeks to climb all the way back to fourth or fifth or something like that. The bad days can certainly hinder your chances quite quickly.”

How was the White House visit? “The visit to the White House was fun. It’s something that I’ve not done before, so it was neat for me to get the invite and the opportunity to go there and see what it’s all about and to see what our nation’s been built on. Certainly it’s a big house and it’s white and it’s old, but there’s a lot of history built within it and certainly you see that history and, of course, to meet a President of the United State is pretty cool. We enjoyed it and hopefully we can go back later on this year as champion.”

Do you ever get tired of all of Jimmie Johnson’s celebrations? “It gets to all of us. Trust us. We all sit there and we watch Jimmie (Johnson), Jimmie, Jimmie and we’re all like, ‘C’mon, man. How much more does this guy need?’ But, it’s good. When you win the championship, that’s the recognition you want. The only problem that it’s too much with Jimmie is that he’s won it five times in a row, so he deserves it.”

Has your team ever been as strong as it is right now? “I’d like to think that we were really strong back in 2008, but certainly we had some hiccups along the way and I think now we’re a lot more consistent week in and week out. Sometimes we may unload and our car isn’t lightning fast, but it has a feel that I’m used to and it’s consistent enough to where we can build on it and at least have a decent top-10 car or something like that.”

Do your engines concern you at all? “No.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags busch, richmond, sprint cup, toyota