KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 1st Can you take us through your qualifying run? "I didn't know what to expect so I just gave it what I thought it needed in order to run a fast lap and it stuck...
No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 1st
Can you take us through your qualifying run?
"I didn't know what to expect so I just gave it what I thought it needed in order to run a fast lap and it stuck pretty well. It was just a little bit edgy in three and four coming to the green. I kind of felt that so I expected it going back down there. One and two is pretty decent. It wanted to get loose but it just never really stepped out so I just kind of put my foot back to it and drove off the corner. That's great for this M&M's Toyota. These guys worked their butts off this morning to change the engine and get us back up there. I want to thank the 11 team as well. They scuffed a set of tires for us and that was the set that we used here for our run. Good team players here."
Are you happy to be in the front row with your brother Kurt (Busch) here in your hometown?
"Apparently we were both wrong in figuring what the fast time was going to be. It's cool that we were both up there and qualified on the front row but unfortunately for myself I won't be in the cool photo at the drop of the green flag next to my brother up there, we'll have to drop to the back of the field for the engine change. I've got to give great thanks to the team. They did an awesome job here today with the M&M's Toyota to get a new TRD power plant in that car and to get it prepared and take some information from what our teammates were doing and what the rest of the field was doing as far as qualifying practice went. We didn't get any laps in qualifying trim. We just went out there and sailed a lap as fast as I thought I needed to go and fortunately it was fast enough so it's pretty cool."
Why are the cars going so much faster on this track this year?
"I think the faster speeds here this year were through the Goodyear Tire Company. They came here and tested and brought a different tire here this time. They've got to be really conscious of a new race track. Last year the race track was brand new so we were really fighting too much grip in the race track they had to bring a hard tire so you were slipping on the top of the race track somewhat. Then this year, they could soften it up a little bit and bring back a better tire. Hopefully it will prove for better racing on Sunday. I feel like that was the biggest issue and why the speeds picked up was the tire, and we're getting smarter. It's been a full year since we've been here and developing this car, and I feel like that has a lot to do with it probably as well."
Are you disappointed you will have to drop to the back of the field?
"I wish we were starting up front so maybe we could get five bonus points early but unfortunately that's not the case. We'll have to battle on through there and pass everybody if we can and get there eventually during the day and try to get five bonus points. We won't be able to take to trying to win the most bonus points for leading the most laps but this scenario is now different. We've got to just take what's been given to us and try to battle it out on Sunday. The big check comes after the leader of the last lap, not the first lap."
Do you know why many of the Toyota's had to change engines today?
"I don't have any idea. The thing with us is the JGR power plants are different than the rest of the guys. The rest of the guys engines come from Costa Mesa, California. It's a completely different engine department. It's completely different tooling and the way that they're done. Mark Cronquist (engine builder, Joe Gibbs Racing) is smart enough to know that he likes building his engines his way and the other guys at TRD build their engines that way. All of the parts come from the same place, like the blocks are poured in the same place, the heads are poured in the same place, it's just then how are they cut? They're cut differently in Costa Mesa than they are in Charlotte where we're at with the JGR stuff. I don't know what the differences are. I don't know if our failure today was the same as what's been failing on their stuff or what. I don't know."
What does it mean to accomplish this front row for both of you in your hometown?
"I think it's a great opportunity for both of us to be on the pole here. I don't know what I need to do I guess I need to win a race before I can be a part of the Vegas commercial when they have the commercial spots for the beginning of the year. It seems like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and come see all the rest of the guys. I'm just the rest of the guys. Maybe one of these days we can win one and get on the commercial, that'd be cool."
-credit: toyota motorsports