Loudon II: Kyle Busch preview

KYLE BUSCH FOR EVERY PROBLEM THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 16, 2009) -- In the face of bitter disappointment, one might be able to take comfort in the old saying, "For every problem there is an opportunity." Kyle Busch,...



HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 16, 2009) -- In the face of bitter disappointment, one might be able to take comfort in the old saying, "For every problem there is an opportunity."

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is certainly disappointed since he now faces the next 10-race stretch of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule without being part of the 12-driver Chase for the Championship. Even tougher to take was that he and the M&M's team missed the Chase by a mere eight points, despite a flawless night on-track and on pit road that led to a solid fifth-place run in last Saturday night's 26th race of the season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

But, for his part, Busch has decided that despite facing the problem of not making the Chase, even with four wins to his credit, there are three key opportunities that lie ahead before the checkered flag waves at the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It all starts with Sunday's Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup event at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

With the pressure of the Chase now off, Busch and crew chief Steve Addington will first focus on something former teammate Tony Stewart and current No. 20 team crew chief Greg Zipadelli accomplished after they just missed the Chase in 2006. Stewart and the No. 20 team brought home three wins to go along with five top-five finishes over the final 10 races.

Secondly, Busch and Company will do their part to provide as much information as possible to help teammate Denny Hamlin, crew chief Mike Ford, and the entire No. 11 team in their bid for the championship. That's what good teammates do.

Finally, the Las Vegas native will hope to not only glean as much information as possible for his compatriots on the No. 11 squad, but also learn more about NASCAR's current-generation car in order to refocus on their bid for a championship in 2010.

While his chance for a championship has ended for 2009, it doesn't mean Busch won't be focused on something he loves to do more than anything else: winning, and keeping the colors primary backer M&M's in victory lane, where he feels they belong.

So it's quite clear to everyone on the No. 18 team, this problem has certainly brought along opportunities that lie ahead, starting with this weekend in New Hampshire.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

What is your plan for the final 10 races?

"To go out and win some more races. M&M's and all the guys on this team deserve that kind of effort no matter what. We just need to work on the consistency. We picked up at some tracks that we needed to, and we faltered at some tracks that we thought we were good at. It just wasn't our year and it wasn't meant to be, for some reason. I was put in this predicament for a reason, and one of these days I'll figure out why. You've just got to focus on learning from everything that happens and try to turn it into a positive."

Do you think your teammate Denny Hamlin could be a threat to win the Chase, and what will you do to help?

"I hope so. Along with us hopefully winning some races, all of the focus is going on the 11, and I'll do my best to help Denny out and bring Joe Gibbs Racing a championship. Hopefully, I can do my part on the racetrack, as well as on just giving the best advice from my car and helping those guys. So you know, I think Denny has got a lot going forward. He's going to have a big momentum boost this week, where he goes and runs so well at Loudon, and next week at Dover, he does well, too. They have got it going on if they can keep the parts together but, unfortunately, we didn't last year. But if they do, they will be fine."

How frustrating is it to come just eight points from making the Chase?

"It's very, very frustrating. I'm heartbroken, but we'll take this and go the rest of the year and try to win some more races and get M&M's and Interstate Batteries to victory lane. There were a lot of situations this year that I screwed up, that we got put into bad spots, had a couple days that we were bad on pit road, others where we just couldn't hit the setup right. It's just a conglomeration of things that put us in this predicament. It's not just one thing. It's not those last two weeks. It's the previous 26 altogether. Unfortunately, some of those weeks were worse than others."

How comfortable are you now on flat tracks?

"It's the Cup side that I've had some issues with on the flat tracks. The Nationwide side of it, we are fine. In the past, with Hendrick, I was fine on the flat stuff, too. But, for some reason, it's just with these Gibbs cars, I don't have the feel for it. I'm not sure why or what it is. We kind of went to New Hampshire in June with my own setup and it seemed to pay off a little bit for us, rather than trying a Denny (Hamlin) setup. Denny always runs well on the flat tracks, but his driving style is so much different than mine. I can't run the same. Denny ran really well there in the past, so I'm hoping we have a car that is as good as his. We tried something different at Phoenix earlier this year and again in New Hampshire during the summer and that seemed to fit my driving style better. I'm looking forward to New Hampshire because we ran well there in the spring -- I think we finished in seventh. I'm looking forward to trying to change last year's results there for both races and be better this year in both races."

What's different about New Hampshire that you enjoy, as opposed to other flat tracks like Phoenix?

"New Hampshire is a fun track for me, as a driver, even though it was a tough year there last year. It's flat like Phoenix and Milwaukee, but it's a little bit tricky. In order to do well there, you need a car that works on all the different kinds of asphalt the tracks seem to be putting down. You need a car that has a lot of side bite in the rear and front grip to turn easier. At New Hampshire, it seems like I've always been loose into the corner and tight in the center, which is hard to fix sometimes. I think the team that can fix that the best will have the best car."

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing