KYLE BUSCH Winning at Bristol a Family Tradition HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 16, 2010) - While Kyle Busch can't exactly put a finger on why he's enjoyed so much success at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, one thing is for certain: with all due ...
Winning at Bristol a Family Tradition
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 16, 2010) - While Kyle Busch can't exactly put a finger on why he's enjoyed so much success at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, one thing is for certain: with all due respect to Hank Williams Jr., winning at Bristol has become a family tradition.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), enters Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 looking for his third win in a row at the .533-mile bullring.
The talented 24-year-old owns 16 career Sprint Cup victories, with Bristol the lone racetrack where Busch has been victorious multiple times. In addition to sweeping both events in 2009, Busch captured his first Bristol win in March 2007 and has notched an impressive seven top-10 finishes in 10 starts there.
Prior to his recent success at Bristol, older brother Kurt carried the flag for the Busch family at the world's fastest half-mile by winning five races of his own. Since 2002, the Brothers Busch have combined to win eight races at Bristol over an eight-year span. To find a stockpile of victory lane hats from Bristol, there's no need to look further than Kyle or Kurt's display case.
This weekend, Kyle Busch is hoping his recent Bristol magic continues. While he has run up front plenty this season, bad luck has struck at inopportune times and has thwarted promising runs that the M&M's team hasn't been able to turn into top finishes.
As evidence of that, Busch has led at least one lap in all four races thus far this season and has scored driver ratings of better than 95.0 in three of the four. Still, he is looking for the season's first top-10 finish. His driver rating of 91.9 ranks 10th in the series, yet he sits 15th in the point standings.
Thus, Busch understandably can't wait to head back to Bristol this weekend, not only to help gain some much-needed footing in the Sprint Cup standings, but also to continue the family tradition of victory lane celebrations in Thunder Valley.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
What is it about Bristol Motor Speedway that makes it so unique and a place that fans love?
"Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the best racetracks on the circuit. All the fans love it because of the excitement, the run-ins, and the close-quarter action with all the cars being packed on top of one another at a half-mile racetrack with us 43 lunatics running around in a tight circle. With the fans, the atmosphere there always makes for a good time. Going back there this year, we've got the SAFER barrier on the outside wall taking up a little bit more racing room up off the corners since they've run the wall further down the straightaway. I think the drivers are a bit unsure of how that is going to change things until we get there and race. But it's taking up some racing room and it's probably going to make the racing even tighter and we are probably going to see some more action."
You've won three Sprint Cup races at Bristol. What is it that makes you so good there?
"I'm not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol. I've just had a lot of success there, but I've also had some misfortune there, too. Ever since I got through my rookie year, I've just taken a liking to the place. Of course, I've been able to get some help from my brother. He's always been really, really good there. But when they changed the track to this current surface, I just really took to it right away. I really liked it and I've been fast there, but also I've had great race cars from Joe Gibbs Racing. I've been able to win the last two Camping World Truck Series races there, too, so it's just a fun racetrack no matter what series I'm running there. You really have to be on your game because, you make one mistake or someone else makes one mistake, like happened in the fall Nationwide Series race there with a car with a flat tire came down the track and essentially ended our day, that's it. Hopefully, we can keep that good luck going there in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend with our M&M's Toyota."
How do you have to approach Bristol as far as your driving style goes?
"Your driving style has had to change at Bristol a lot. Bristol used to be a track where you could charge the corners a little bit and get it right in and down to the bottom of the track. You kind of would go through the middle of the corner and then slingshot out on the exits, and now it's just so smooth that you're easy in, you're kind of easy through the center, and easy off. The track is a little slower than I think it was because they reduced some banking in order to put sort of the progressive banking into it to make the outside groove better for the fans. We'll have to see how the extension of the SAFER barrier changes the racing, if at all."
Is getting out front and staying out of trouble the best strategy at Bristol, or does it matter?
"Ultimately, it doesn't really matter where you start there. You have to bide your time, take it easy. When you have a car that's as good my M&M's Camry was in both races last year, it makes it easier. If you don't have a good car, it's going to be a really long day no matter where you start. I like all the room you can get at some of these racetracks, so that's going to make it tough with the extension of the barriers there. That's definitely not on my radar screen, which is a decision I would've made, but they did it for the excitement of the racetrack and to try to put some bumping and grinding back into that place. The exits were tight, already, with these cars. It's going to slow the pace up, probably a little bit, because we know we don't have as much on the exits to use up. Maybe it will make for even better racing for the fans. I'm hoping so."