KYLE BUSCH Patience Is a Virtue HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 12, 2010) - Kyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers have their eyes focused on the prize. While the driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) remains the same fiery ...
Patience Is a Virtue
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 12, 2010) - Kyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers have their eyes focused on the prize.
While the driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) remains the same fiery competitor he has always been, he has also started to learn that a little bit of patience can go a long way toward keeping himself in the running for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the end of the year.
Under the tutelage of Rogers, Busch has completed more laps than any other Sprint Cup driver over the first 11 races this season - 3,752 of the 3,753 laps possible (99.97%). It is another reason why Busch sits within the top-three in series points.
Busch knows he will need to keep exercising that patience in order to have a solid finish at the challenging Dover (Del.) International Speedway, site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400.
The 1-mile concrete oval - appropriately named the "Monster Mile" - can be demanding on driver and equipment, so patience over the course of the 400-lap race, along with solid work from the over-the-wall crew, is vital for a successful day at Dover. Busch hasn't forgotten his Sprint Cup race at Dover in the spring of 2008, when he led 158 of 400 laps (39.5 percent) - including the final 74 circuits, as the M&M's team performed several flawless green-flag pits stops that gained him the track position he needed at the end of the race.
This past weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, the talented 25-year-old showed plenty of patience at arguably NASCAR's trickiest venue. After a scrape with the wall during his qualifying attempt, Busch and Co., were forced to start at the rear of the field in their backup car for Saturday night's grueling 500-mile race. But Busch methodically worked his way toward the front of the field, led for 29 laps late in the race, and brought home his fifth-consecutive top-10 finish after battling a tight race car during the last run of the night.
So, as the series heads to the Delmarva Peninsula this weekend, almost halfway through the "regular season" that ends when the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship locks in its 12 competitors at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September, Busch will most certainly need to remember that patience is a virtue. Another solid run for the M&M's team could add another important piece to the puzzle in their quest for the ultimate prize at the end of the year - a Sprint Cup Series championship trophy.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
Do you feel like you've learned a lot since Dave Rogers has come on board, particularly being a little more patient and working on some of the things that help make your team championship-caliber?
"There's been a lot of that learning for me so far this year. We've had cars that haven't been capable of top-fives or top-10s and we've gotten some top-fives and top-10s with those cars. We've had cars we should have won, maybe Phoenix or somewhere else, and we ran 10th or 15th with those cars. You know, it's frustrating to see those days when you run well and not really get what you deserve. But then you see the days where you struggle a little bit and you kind of steal one out of there. It's all about trying not to make our bad days worse and be our own worst enemy. But, you know, you got to give and take, sometimes. I'm learning that a little bit more. That doesn't mean we still aren't going to want to lead laps and win races. It doesn't mean we're not going to try to do that. We need to make sure this M&M's team focuses on what it needs to focus on and not what everyone else is doing, for now, to keep going forward."
You seem to have really taken to the concrete surfaces like you'll have in Dover this weekend. Is there any particular reason for that?
"For whatever reason, those racetracks, like Dover and Bristol, I've always had good runs at with the Cup car. So, we're looking forward to this weekend in our M&M's Camry because of that. Concrete can be a little treacherous when there isn't a whole lot of rubber on the track, since it gets pretty slick. Once we get some rubber down on the track in practice, it gets a lot better."
You won the June 2008 race at Dover. Does that give you some added confidence going into this weekend, knowing it's a place where you've done well in the past?
"For sure. We probably didn't have the best racecar there for that race. But we were really good there on long runs and had a big day from the guys on pit road. They really helped me with track position, since there were so many green-flag runs. They just kept us out front all day and that helped win it for us. I rode around the bottom most of the day and tried not to move around too much, and it paid off."
Where's your Monster trophy from that Dover win?
"Sitting in my trophy room. It's there with the rest of them. I've got all three trophies, one from each race. I won the Truck race before it became the Monster trophy. And I do have a small Monster and a big Monster. Whether you want to call it big-brother-little-brother, or father-and-son, they're sitting next to each other. That trophy is a pretty cool trophy. It's really neat to win that thing. The hand can hold a real die-cast, and you know that's pretty cool. I got the die-cast with the car I won with there in it."
You'll be competing in the Truck Series race this weekend, as well - your first since Kyle Busch Motorsports' first win at Nashville. What's more satisfying for you, winning a Cup race or winning a Truck race in your own equipment?
"I think the reward of winning a Cup race is bigger than anything. It's a long, long time before I'm becoming a Cup owner, if at all. That's for sure. To win at this level, just with the competition the way it is, it's so tough and everything, it's always nice to get to victory lane. But winning in your own stuff for the blood, sweat and tears that you put into everything, and all of the people who work for you and what they do and all of the hard work they've put into it - especially with a startup program this year - it means a lot."