Toyota Motorsports press release
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
“On behalf of myself and Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), it’s just a subtle little announcement that KBM is transitioning into the Nationwide Series next year to go race a full-funded team for the championship and I can’t announce any further details, besides that it will be a Toyota. Excited about it. It’s a great opportunity for myself and for the Kyle Busch Motorsports organization for everybody there that’s there now that we have on the line to hire to bring over in order to foresee that program being successful. We’re excited. It’s a great day for us. Crew chiefs, sponsors, drivers -- all that stuff will be announced at a later time. Wanted to get it out there before Jayski, so we did it. That was good."
What do you enjoy about Talladega? “Talladega is fun. It’s certainly got its own aspect of challenges. I’m sure many drivers have led into the reasons of those, just with all the unknowns around this place, but it’s exciting. It is certainly its own form of racing and its almost its own form of motorsports when you come to these places that we have with the drafting, as important as it is, and whether or not it’s a spread out draft with 43 cars in it or whether its tandem drafting, it’s certainly nothing else that you see that you see anywhere besides right here -- Daytona and Talladega."
Will Kyle Busch Motorsports continue to compete in the Truck Series? “I did say transitioning in. We did run one race earlier this year, through help with NEMCO Motorsports, running Kimi Raikkonen at Charlotte, so we have the equipment started. We will run trucks also. We will keep the 18 truck going for a full season next year. We are just a few races shy being full sponsorship on that deal. Obviously, last week with Dollar General -- announcing those guys coming back to help us with the Truck Series program and, you know, with the driver and all that kinds of stuff, it’s all pretty much done. It’s just a matter of waiting until the time in which the sponsor is ready to announce all that stuff."
Will the Kyle Busch Motorsports Nationwide team run for a driver’s or owner’s championship? “I don’t know. It will be easy to go for an owner’s if I’m racing the car, but not very easy to go for a driver’s if I am racing the car. I don’t know if I’m in it or not yet."
Do you think it’s an issue for horsepower to be controlled by electronics in the future? “No. For instance, if you came here with a crate engine from your manufacturer that Late Models run now -- they put our 400, 420 horsepower or something like that -- you would still have the same effect that you do currently with a restrictor plate. There’s going to be no throttle response. You’re trying to push a car through 200 miles an hour worth of wind with only 400 horsepower. It can only do so much. I think restrictor plate racing is restrictor plate racing. Whether you’re restricting it by putting a different engine in, because it’s got less horsepower, or restricting a 900 horsepower motor to 400 horsepower, it’s going to act the same way."
How were your able to put this deal together when other teams are scaling back? “Obviously, it takes funding to do these deals and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the partner that we have acquired and with working with them and going through all the due diligence and getting everything put down on paper, certainly it’s been an exciting time. We’ve been going through this process now for about four months, so we’re ready and excited that the opportunity has finally come that we can move up to the Nationwide Series. We wanted to do that at Kyle Busch Motorsports now for a couple of years. We actually wanted to have two truck teams out of there this year and we’ve kind of done that. We’ve run part-time with a second team. It’s been good, but this just kind of takes us to the next level and we’d like to make it a long-term partnership that it helps out over time with NASCAR and the series and making sure Kyle Busch Motorsports can stay going."
When you arrive at a track do you know what to expect on race day? “This is definitely a place where you don’t have a notebook. You don’t come here with marks around the racetrack written down where you want to lift, where you want to pick up the throttle -- all that stuff. For me, it’s like going to Martinsville. I’ve got a notebook for going there and understand what it takes to get around there -- Pocono, Charlotte, Indy, anywhere. Daytona and Talladega, it just doesn’t happen. It’s all circumstantial. That’s all it boils down too. And whether that’s luck or whether that’s putting you in the right position with the right people at the right time -- its opportunity. You’ve got to maximize all of that. For us, it’s just a matter of coming in here with the best mindset, the best attitude we can to try to look forward to the race and what can transpire on Sunday to try to get ourselves a good finish."
How much finesse does it take to manage your water temperature at Talladega? “It’s definitely challenging that you have to make sure to not overheat your engine. You’ve got 500 miles to race here, so you’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of it for 495 miles of that. It will last running hot in the last five miles -- you’ll be fine with that, no problem. You just have to make sure that throughout the midpoint of the race or any point of the race - - that until you get to that point that you’re not pushing any water. The pop-off valve will alleviate the opportunity to run longer behind somebody. We were successful at maintaining a decent water temp in Daytona -- the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars were. You really do have to work hard at that. You have to stay out from behind the guy in front of you to get enough air into the grill opening to make sure that you keep your temps down. Other than that, will it change our cars much? Probably not. Will it change some other guys? Yeah, they were running hotter than we were. I think the Chevy guys for instance -- they gave the okay to 270 or 275 degrees. The Toyota guys -- we only have the okay to 250 (degrees). We kept it right around 245 or 250 much of the afternoon until the end and then we got it up to about 280."
Do you think cutting back your Nationwide schedule has helped you in the Chase? “Does it help me or not? It’s a point to argue at particular tracks. It doesn’t matter at Daytona or Talladega and stuff like that. Indy -- I’ve never run well at Indy before. We only run Cup cars there. I would like to get in a Nationwide car there and work around some different points of interest if you will that might help me with my Cup car. Where to lift, where to pick up the throttle -- those kinds of things. Some other places like Kansas for instance -- we ran fifth, sixth, seventh much of the afternoon and finished 11th. Charlotte, I ran both races and finished second in both races. I don’t think it really hurts. I don’t see the distraction there. I see when you have a good car and you’re able to spend time with your crew chief, obviously that’s the most important thing is being able to talk to Dave (Rogers, crew chief). The Nationwide stuff -- I’ve skipped five minutes before or 10 minutes before if I’ve been debriefing with Dave. It’s not an issue I think on Nationwide. Going forward into the ownership role, my idea is to have a foundation of a company that will run off itself. Rick Hendrick isn’t there every single day making sure the inner workings of Hendrick Motorsports work correctly. He’s got the people in the right places to do that for him. Joe (Gibbs, team owner), when he went off and went to football, we had J.D. (Gibbs, team president) and all those guys that help run the company. That’s my idea with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) just as well. To have Rick Ren (general manager), to have our PR department, our marketing department and all that stuff just doing its own deal where it can survive without me there on a daily basis."
Is it safe to assume you will drive Nationwide races for KBM and Joe Gibbs Racing next year? “It’s kind of the point to really announce later, but it’s safe to assume that I will be running in some Nationwide races at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I will also still commit to my current obligations that I have at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and run over there too. I’ll be split between two Nationwide teams essentially driving some races. What number that’s going to be yet, that’s to be decided. Certainly we’ve gone over it with JGR and everything. This is definitely nothing new to those guys. There’s certainly the amount of races that I’ve already been set to run in the Nationwide car for next year with JGR. We’ll still continue to plan all that out into these next few weeks or next few months maybe before our announcement."
How does last weekend’s tragedy with Dan Wheldon affect you entering this race? “First off with that question I want to send my thoughts and prayers I have and our condolences -- Samantha (Busch, wife) and I to the Wheldon family. We don’t know what they’re going through -- nobody does. It’s certainly a tragic loss and can happen in any form of motorsports. I think that it’s a matter -- you say it a lot, but it’s a matter of circumstances that just don’t go your way. It can happen in drag racing, it can happen in NASCAR, it can happen in Indy Car and it has happened. It’s happened in Formula 1 and it’s inevitable. Certainly we account for that and there is a danger aspect, there is a threat that something horrifying can happen. For myself, how do I look at it? I’m thankful that I have a wife that lets me do what I love to do. It’s something that I do love to do and I don’t want to give up. For these guys like Jeff (Gordon), Carl (Edwards), Jimmie (Johnson) -- all these guys with families now, certainly it’s that much more challenging and that much more to think about. I’ve got a couple more years probably before I get to that point. Again, I don’t know that much will change the either. It’s what we live with every day. There’s the aspect too that you could be a kid playing in your front yard and you lose your ball and it rolls across the street and there a car comes. There’s tragedy everywhere in this world and certainly it can be at a race track with a lot of hype built around it, but it could just as easily happen in your front yard."
How did Denny Hamlin driving your truck at Martinsville come about? “I asked Denny (Hamlin) if he would race the truck for me at Martinsville and he asked me why I didn’t want to run it. I just said, ‘Well, you’re better at Martinsville than I am and it would sure be nice to win there.’ I just let him drive it. It was nothing special or anything. It will alleviate me of having to run a race on the weekend and obviously just let me focus on the Cup car and keep our Chase chances alive, hopefully if we get out of here this weekend first. Just planning ahead, that’s all."