KYLE BUSCH Looking to 'Double' His Fun at Darlington HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 5, 2010) - If you ask Kyle Busch what he does for fun, the answer is simple - racing is his ultimate fun. What could be more fun than racing for Busch? That would be...
Looking to 'Double' His Fun at Darlington
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 5, 2010) - If you ask Kyle Busch what he does for fun, the answer is simple - racing is his ultimate fun.
What could be more fun than racing for Busch? That would be winning, which doubles his fun and doubles his pleasure. Busch, who turned 25 on Sunday, is fresh of his latest win after scoring his first Sprint Cup victory of the season the previous night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
The driver of the No. 18 Doublemint® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will look to double his win total for 2010 and, in doing so, double his fun as he heads to historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the next stop of the Sprint Cup tour - Saturday night's Showtime Southern 500.
This weekend's race will mark the first time Doublemint has served as primary sponsor for Busch, as the iconic chewing gum brand's mint paint scheme will adorn Busch's No. 18 Toyota at Darlington and again at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August.
Busch and the Doublemint team will hope to not only double their win total for the season, but at Darlington as well. Busch conquered the track "Too Tough to Tame" in May 2008, garnering his first victory at the 1.33-mile egg shaped oval. And, as he hits town this weekend, Busch also brings with him the distinction of being the youngest Sprint Cup winner in the storied history of Darlington.
Perhaps even more impressive than his victory at Richmond last weekend is the fact that Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers have proven their patience and persistence through the first 10 weeks of the season and have manufactured positive results with an oftentimes not-so-competitive racecar. With his win Saturday night, Busch moved up to third in the Sprint Cup standings, just 109 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. The team is focused on getting back into the Chase for the Sprint Cup after narrowly missing NASCAR's playoffs in 2009.
Should Busch have the good fortune of doubling his Sprint Cup win total for 2010, and his career win total at Darlington, it's been said, for the record, that it most certainly will double his fun and double his pleasure, as well as that of the entire Doublemint team.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Doublemint® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
What do you remember about your Darlington win in 2008, and what do you like about the track?
"Since the repave (in 2008), it's been completely different going there. It's a fun racetrack. There's a lot of grip there. It's a lot different than what it used to be from back in the old days. It was a lot of fun to win there in '08. In '09, it was a really bad struggle for us there. It just never seemed like we could hit on anything. So, hopefully this year we can get back to something that's fast and get another win there, especially with Doublemint coming along on our Toyota for the first time this weekend."
The 2008 race was memorable since you probably hit the wall no less than three or four times. How were you still able to bring home a win?
"I remember I tried a bunch of times to knock down the fence. I think I got a 'Darlington Stripe' on about every corner in that race. Fortunately for me, I just never hit too hard and I was able to come through there and still win, unlike when we got into the wall there last year and had to go to the garage for a while. You look at racers from the past - I mean, Jeff Gordon's car was killed on the side when he won his million. So was Jeff Burton's, when he won there in the rain. There is a lot of heritage and history to that place and it's an honor to race there because of that, and how unique this place is and how many great drivers have won there. I probably pay attention to the history of the sport more than people see. But, trust me, I appreciate those guys who have raced there and won there because I know how difficult it is now, and I'm sure it was back then."
What challenges do you face at Darlington?
"The toughest thing, now, it's so hard to pass there. It's really a one-lane racetrack. The lane that everyone runs in is the fastest lane. It's hard to get the air on your nose in order to make your car turn without being too loose or setting your car up too loose and slapping the wall there. Once you get out there in a run, you pretty much start running around in traffic and you're almost stuck."
What do drivers mean when they say you have to "race the track" at Darlington?
"You can't really pass there. It's so difficult. So, you run your laps until you get to a pit stop and try to get your guys to have a good stop for you so you can jump a couple guys. Pit stops become really important there, and track position, and trying to stay up front."
Being a former winner, what does it take to win at Darlington?
"I won the first year there (in the Car of Tomorrow), and I think it was just because everyone was new to the car. Last year, a lot of people got a lot smarter and, for us, we fell a little bit behind. You just have to be patient. You just have to bide your time, and I wasn't very good at that last year. You've got to make sure you keep working on your car."
You've taken a bit of a new approach this year on taking what the car gives you. Do you feel like you can do that, but still be able to win like you did at Richmond, when the opportunity arises?
"You want to win every race, but sometimes you have to take what the car is going to give you. I feel like we were getting closer and closer to winning every week, but I didn't know how far away we were. It feels great to get that first win because it was a big confidence boost for my guys and for Dave (Rogers, crew chief). We've had some opportunities where we should've won races, like at Phoenix. Things just didn't go our way there, at the end. We've also had opportunities where we should've run 15th or 18th and we finished top-10. It seems to be paying off this year a lot more than it has in the past. We just keep working every week on what we know to do and try to make the cars better."