KYLE BUSCH Hungry for a Solid Finish in the Windy City HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 6, 2010) - Anyone who has ever watched Kyle Busch race knows how hungry he is for a victory every time he takes the green flag, no matter what he's driving. But ...
Hungry for a Solid Finish in the Windy City
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 6, 2010) - Anyone who has ever watched Kyle Busch race knows how hungry he is for a victory every time he takes the green flag, no matter what he's driving.
But Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), might have a little extra hunger leading into Saturday night's LifeLock.com NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Busch's last four Sprint Cup races, in particular, have left him mighty hungry. While the No. 18 team has brought strong race cars to the track each time, tough racing luck for Busch, especially in the last three outings, have led to finishes far worse than he had hoped.
The tough-luck streak started last month at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where Busch finished a disappointing 20th. In his next outing at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Busch was collected in an early race accident. At New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon the following weekend, Busch was spun late in the race while running third. And Saturday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Busch was taken out of the race in another accident.
Despite the frustration of having potentially race-winning cars taken out of contention for one reason or another, Busch heads to the Windy City this weekend knowing that if there's a place he has the potential to turn his luck around, it just might be Chicagoland. In 2008, the Las Vegas native captured wins in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events at the track just southwest of Chicago.
Those victories in the first-ever night races at Chicagoland gave the talented 25-year-old his first two wins at the 1.5-mile oval that opened its doors in 2001. It's a feat he'll look to replicate in Saturday night's Sprint Cup LifeLock.com 400.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
Do you do anything mentally to prepare for the heat when you're racing during summer months?
"No, I don't know that you can really train yourself, mentally. I haven't figured it out. No, I don't do anything differently. I just go about it the same way. We'll see how the car is this weekend. If your car is good, you're going to be in a good mood. If your car is not that good, you're going to know that you're going to have a hard day. You're really going to have to work hard to try to get a good finish. For me, that's how I play it every weekend. Just knowing what kind of car you have in practice, seeing what you feel like."
What has the mood been like at Joe Gibbs Racing following the tough outings all three teams had at Sonoma and Daytona?
"I don't think there's any extra emphasis at all. It was just unfortunate circumstances in both of those races that took us all out of good runs. We went from having the best eight or 10 weeks of JGR's (Joe Gibbs Racing) life to having a couple of the worst. That's how quick this sport can change. The thing is, it's not like we all haven't been running well. We've just all had some really rotten luck. We think, as an organization, that things are going well and everyone at the track and at the shop are still working as hard as ever. We had our monthly meeting on Monday at the shop and I think everyone at JGR is as focused as ever and I know we're still bringing really good cars to the racetrack. That's just what happens in this sport, and there will be plenty of good days for us coming up."
This is already the third night race at Chicagoland. What have you learned about how the racetrack changes at night as opposed to other 1.5-mile tracks that you race on?
"The biggest thing I learned last year was the track didn't change much, to be honest with you. It just got cooler and gained grip. The balance didn't change a lot. That was pretty cool to see. Charlotte, we go there and it's probably the most temperamental track as far as temperature. It's so hot during the day and you're sideways loose, busting your butt, and then, all of a sudden, you get to nighttime and you're knocking every wall down with the right-front corner. At Chicago, it didn't change much. The track was well-lit and everything went well in both races there in 2008 and not as much for the finishes we had in 2009. We're just hoping that our SNICKERS Toyota looks a little more like what we did there in 2008 and not last year."
Where does the 2008 Sprint Cup win at Chicagoland rank in terms of special wins for you, knowing how you made a spectacular move on the outside to win?
"Winning both races at Chicago that year, it was just a great weekend. It was special, but there have been several special wins the last few years. It was a special year in 2008, since we won at Atlanta, Daytona and Infineon. And winning at home in Vegas, and on my birthday in Richmond, were also great races last year. But winning Chicago in 2008 and beating Jimmie (Johnson) was definitely neat. Ultimately, I have a lot of respect for him, Jeff Gordon, and anybody in this sport since it's so competitive. To go out and beat guys like that, it's something pretty special, and I really cherished that, for sure."
Do you think the spoiler has changed the number of race winners this year, or is it just coincidence?
"I think it's just purely circumstance. I don't think there's really a lot to it. Unfortunately, there haven't been more winners, but I wish my name was up there a little bit more often than what it is. We've had some good learning experiences going from the wing to the spoiler and we've got, hopefully, some more still to go. That will always change the action, anyway. Some guys might pick up on something and be really, really fast, and then you're chasing them. We just have to play it out and keep trying to race."