GM RAcing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Teleconference March 2, 2004 This week's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Teleconference featured Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 84 Carquest Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Busch will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut March 7 at...
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Teleconference
March 2, 2004
This week's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Teleconference featured Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 84 Carquest Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Busch will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut March 7 at his hometown track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch also drives the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series.
(WHEN THE CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES DEBUTED AT LVMS IN '01, YOU FINISHED 9TH. DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE COMING BACK?) "It definitely does. We had a great time running in the Craftsman Truck Series a few years back. It'll be great to go to Las Vegas once gain. We're really looking forward to running in both the NEXTEL Cup and the Busch Series out there. It's definitely a good feeling to be going home and having all the fans there and everything else."
(WHAT IS IT LIKE COMING BACK TO YOUR HOME TRACK AND HOW HAVE ALL THE FANS RESPONDED?) "We've had an awesome response from all the Las Vegas folks. It's fun to race in your hometown in front of all the fans who have supported you all these years when we were running Legends Cars and so forth."
(WILL YOU HAVE YOUR EYE ON THAT ROUSH CAR DRIVEN BY YOUR BROTHER, KURT BUSCH?) "Hopefully we can run up near the front where he's going to be and get some pictures out of the deal. We'll definitely want to run against him and side by side with him and all the other competitors too."
(DID HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CHOOSE THIS RACE FOR YOUR DEBUT BECAUSE IT'S YOUR HOME TRACK?) "I believe so. It's not only a great track but it's one of the tracks I excel at. If you think about all the mile and a half's like Chicago and Kansas, it's one of those places I really like and do my best at."
(ON RACING WITH HIS BROTHER AND BRENDAN GAUGHAN - ALL THREE DRIVERS WHO ARE FROM LAS VEGAS) "I guess it's just a coincidence. But there's really a lot of great talent still left in Las Vegas with the young kids growing up here and doing all the same things that Brendan and Kurt and I did to try to get there. There are plenty of kids all over the nation that are definitely great talents who could be here too."
(HOW MANY CUP RACES ARE YOU GOING TO RUN THIS YEAR?) "We're going to run seven: Las Vegas, Texas, Lowe's Motor Speedway (plus the All-Star race), Michigan, New Hampshire, and California."
(HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE 18 YEAR-OLD NASCAR RULE?) "I wouldn't say it was exactly aimed toward me. I was in the main spotlight of it though. I was in the Craftsman Truck Series at the time and was 16 years old. There were a couple of issues that came up at California Speedway. NASCAR did what they had to do. They made the correct decision I believe. At the time I was very devastated and wondered what else could go wrong. We were fastest in practice and had a great shot at the pole. But to have to go home and reevaluate things and run ASA was definitely a bigger learning experience for me than running Late Models in my hometown. It gave me a lot more experience before I got into the professional NASCAR Series like trucks and Busch and now Cup. It was a little bit of a set-back, but it actually helped propel my career."
(DO YOU SEE THEIR POINT NOW?) "I definitely see their point. At the time I didn't. It wasn't necessarily that 16 was too young, it was more because of the tobacco issues and a couple of other things."
(ARE YOU AWARE THAT YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY WHO WOULD LIKE TO BREAK INTO NASCAR?) "I'm definitely realizing it everyday - I have great opportunities with Hendrick Motorsports and Lowe's and Carquest and those great folks. I realize there are plenty of kids out there and I might be a hero or an idol maybe years down the road. It's been a lot of hard work. It sets in and means something not only to me but to other kids who look up to you and see how well you're doing. It makes it worthwhile to be here."
(ON THE GROWTH OF NASCAR IN LAS VEGAS WITH THE OPENING & EXPANSION OF THE TRACK) "It's really gotten huge. When my dad was running at Craig Road Speedway it was just a little quarter-mile racetrack to mess around on during the weekends. But ever since they opened LVMS and NASCAR came to town, it's definitely been growing. I believe the first Busch race was in 1997 and Jeff Green won that race. But in 1998, NASCAR announced that the NEXTEL Cup Series would be coming to town and that just jazzed everybody. The place has been sold out, I believe, every single year that NASCAR has been to town. It definitely shows you there is more action and there are more things to do than just hanging out downtown and on the Strip. It has definitely kept not only myself and my brother, but a lot of other racing kids in Las Vegas out of a lot of trouble that they could get into here. But racing is part of our blood and you don't have time to do that stuff."
(CAN YOU COMPARE YOURSELF AND KURT AS RACERS AND AS PEOPLE?) "I'd like to say that we're great racers and we're great people. Of course there are a lot of other people that know us as that. But there are other people that don't know us that might say differently. We've definitely been brought up the same way with the same parents in Las Vegas, Nevada. We went to most of the same schools. It's been a big learning experience that you go through to come up through and become professional race car drivers. But you also realize that you're not only here for the long haul but the way you were brought up was in a good way."
(CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RACING STYLE?) "I'm more toward the cautiously aggressive side. You want to go out there and be aggressive and do the best job you can every week, but you also want to be cautious so you don't get yourself in trouble on the race track. Being that type of driver, you can definitely be fast but you have to be cautious and know exactly what can happen if you get yourself into a certain situation."
(WERE YOU ABLE TO LEARN FROM KURT'S MISTAKES ALONG THE WAY?) "Oh, definitely. By growing up and racing in Las Vegas with him and seeing how he raced and the mistakes he made on the race track, I was able to learn from those and not do the same things as far as getting in wrecks and stuff. I was always watching and learning from him and from the other drivers too. To have him as a teacher and a mentor has made it easier for me because I can talk to him about certain things and ask him about certain situations and I can realize and understand it a little bit more."
(DID YOU EVER CONSIDER TAKING ANOTHER CAREER PATH OUTSIDE OF RACING?) "When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be a baseball player because that's what I was doing at the time. As I got a little older and saw what Kurt was doing on the racing scene and how much fun he was having and how well he was doing, I thought maybe I could do exactly what he was doing and be just as good. So, I wanted to try the racing thing. If it didn't work out, I was always working on the race cars so I could be a part of a race team or work on them or just go back and go to college and try to get a scholarship and try to become a baseball player or have to get a real nine-to-five job like a lawyer or something like that."
(WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR SEVEN-RACE DEAL ON THE NEXTEL CUP CIRCUIT THIS YEAR, WHAT WOULD SPELL SUCCESS?) "I'd like to make every race. That's the first goal, to get in. And that just to try to make every lap would be good. If I can go out there and make every lap of each NEXTEL Cup race, that would be awesome for me just because the series is so darn tough. Maybe there are a couple of chances where we can squeak out with a top 10 or a top 15 finish. Or, knock on wood, maybe we could even get a top five finish. But we're definitely going to set realistic goals and we'll try to do the best job we can and run every lap and be competitive."