Kyle Busch - Friday media visit

Kyle Busch - Friday media visit

Darlington Raceway 500

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How is your car this weekend? “Car is not bad. The Doublemint Camry seems to be pretty good thus far. We just brushed the wall a little bit there behind somebody in traffic kind of and didn’t hurt it too bad. So, they’ll fix it up and get it ready to go. A lot of tire wear and a lot of rubber being put down. Kind of good, but it will be interesting for Saturday night.”

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

What do you think when you hear media and fans talk about the ‘new Kyle Busch’? “I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do and do it my way instead of somebody else’s way.”

Why do you think you have changed this season? “It’s time for something new.”

Do you approach the upcoming tracks differently because they are Chase tracks? “You don’t really approach them any differently. The biggest thing you do is just try to make really good notes. Write down everything that you’re doing, write down the changes you’re making -- all of that kind of stuff -- better than you typically would. With Chase races being in the regular season it sort of helps us be able to build a better notebook for when we go back, and just having a better idea of understanding some things, but that’s about it.”

Have you noticed your meetings aren’t as points driven at this point in the season since you have two wins? “No, our talks are all just to try to do everything of what we’ve been doing. Just keep the momentum going, keep the good finishes coming, keep trying to run well and all of that kind of stuff. It’s not necessarily that we’re not racing for points or anything. We want to be the point’s leader. We want to be the point’s leader and winning races. That would be the best ticket.”

What is your comfort level at Darlington? “I’ve had some success here at Darlington, but not as much as I’d like to have here. It’s not one of my best tracks, but it’s a challenging one. It’s definitely a very difficult race track. There’s only a few select drivers who tend to run well here every time they come here. We need to work on that and get a little bit better. The Nationwide car is pretty good. The Cup car is pretty good. We’ll just have to see how they race.”

What was your plan when you sat down with Dave Rogers prior to the start of the 2011 season? “We thought that there was some ideas that we could get better at. Some things that I didn’t do very well in the past and some things the crew didn’t do very well in the past. And, we’re just trying to modify ourselves to be where we’re championship contenders every race. You want to be race winners. But, you can be a race winner but then the next week you can be a 30th-place guy. Where a championship race team wouldn’t quite be like that. It’s consistency really and just making sure everybody is on top of their game answering questions that need answered and not leaving any unanswered questions, and making sure that their job is to button everything up and pay attention to detail.”

How do you learn to be patient and save your car for the end of the race? “I think last week was more about just saving fuel, not necessarily saving the tires. Yeah, when you save fuel you save tires because essentially you’re not trying to run as hard because you can’t. You’ve got to make it to the end. We were scheduled to be about five laps short and by doing the work that we did over the off-season and by having a little bit of a conservative approach to the final run of the race we were able to make it. It worked well for us. We were proud to see a fuel mileage race finally turn our way. It’s probably what lost the championship for Denny (Hamlin) last year. It was good to see the work that we’ve been doing and all of the hard work the engine guys have been doing pay off.”

Sometimes you’ve just got to back off a little bit and kind of let the race play out...

Kyle Busch

Is it a struggle for you not to pass during the race if you are saving your car for the end of the race? “Yeah, you want to race those guys that are around you all of the time. You want to go, ‘Uh, there’s a car in front of me. I want to pass that guy.’ That’s what’s in your blood to do. Sometimes you’ve just got to back off a little bit and kind of let the race play out. You’ve got to get to the end of the final pit stop. Once you get to the final pit stop then the race is on. That’s kind of the way that it works out. This place can suck you in and it can suck you in pretty easily -- into the wall I mean.”

What does it take to be successful at Dover? “Dover being a concrete track is challenging. They are all a challenge, but just because of the way that you have to run around that place. The way tires sometimes wear out. The way the rubber gets put down there. You’ve got to be fast through the corner. Two-thirds of your lap time is through the turn rather than down the straightaway, so you definitely have to make sure that you have a good handling race car -- one that’s good in the beginning of the run on low air pressures and one that’s good at the end of the run on high air pressures, and even through traffic too. Those are some challenging times, is trying to get through traffic with guys.”

Does it frustrate you that you’ve experienced bad luck in the Truck Series at Dover even though you’ve run well there? “I should’ve won the past five races in a row at Dover, I just haven’t been able to do it. I like running the Trucks at Dover. They are fun. Nationwide cars the same way and the Cup cars. Dover is a good place for me. I like going to the ‘Monster’ and hopefully it’s another good one for us this time around where we can try to go for another sweep. I feel pretty good about that, and knowing that we run well there and hoping to keep that streak of running well there.”

Do you ever try to censor yourself over the radio because you know other people are listening? “Sometimes you try to think about what you’re going to say before you say it, but other times you mash that button and you just say what is coming. Man, it flows and it flows pretty easily sometimes. I’m guilty of it just as much as anybody else out there. This year I will say that I’ve been a lot better at it. I’ve more so been frustrated at myself on the radio than the team guys. I feel like they’re doing their job and they’re doing a good job at it where I’ve made mistakes. Every driver does it I think.”

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Does it matter what you say on the radio because you have M&M’s as a sponsor? “I mean, yeah, sometimes depending on what sponsor you’re with you’ve got to be a little bit more careful with what you say and other times the sponsors don’t really care much. It’s probably in everybody’s best interest to not go completely off the deep end. I’ll admit that.”

Does it feel better when you take your emotions out over the radio? “It does, but man you’ve got to put out some fires afterwards. It definitely does not get you anywhere. I’ll tell you that.”

Are you ever surprised at what you have accomplished? “That’s all NASCAR wins -- that’s not Cup wins. In the all-time list, if you think of it that way, it’s pretty cool. It’s good. People will always tell you that they’re not Cup wins and Richard Petty’s was Cup wins. Nothing to take away from Richard or anybody else that raced back in those days, but I pulled up some entry lists and some finishes and sometimes there’s 12 cars that entered the race or 18 cars that entered the race. The only guy they had to beat was John Smith, the local guy or whoever. That’s not taking away from those guys. They built this sport and what it is today. They won those races and for me, I feel like our realm of motorsports now has come so far from what it was that it’s definitely a lot harder to win every week. There’s definitely a lot more involved every week. Those guys certainly did work hard because they worked on their own stuff, drove their own stuff to the race track, did their own tires and all that kind of stuff. Now, us drivers sometimes, I don’t know that any driver has ever ridden in the semi hauler to a race. I have actually one time. I did ride in the semi. It was pretty eventful. Other than how hard things were back then to get to the race track versus now. You’ve got multi-billion dollar companies that are helping to sponsor you and doing advertising around racing, which is good for us to do what we love to do.”

Do you think you’re having more fun this season? “I would certainly admit to things being a little bit easier, things being done my way versus some other people’s way. It seems like it’ s more fun, seems like it’s a little bit easier. Things just seem to be falling a lot smoother.”

How does being married help you to have more fun? “I think marriage has been good. It’s definitely been good. Let me rephrase that. Her (Samantha Busch, wife) and I -- I mean that in the way of the business aspect and the things that we’re doing with Kyle Busch Motorsports, with the Kyle Busch Foundation, with all the people that we work with and work around. The Gibbs family and the relationship there and stuff like that has really changed and turned a corner. It’s been a lot better.”

Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day story? “I won here a couple years ago on Mother’s Day weekend with the 18 car, which was really good and it was cool to give her a win on Mother’s Day weekend. I’ve also won -- I think it was Mother’s Day weekend at Kentucky when I ran Kentucky ARCA back in 2003 when I was just coming up. There has been a few good weekends that I’ve had on Mother’s Day -- those are the most memorable ones. When I was a kid I just remember going with my Dad and picking out some cheesy gifts and stuff like that and giving her stuff like that, which was pretty much useless. She still said she liked it.”

-toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Richard Petty , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Kyle Busch Motorsports
Tags gibbs racing, sprint cup, toyota