NASCAR Nextel Teleconference July 6, 2004 Guests: Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth Part 1 of 3 John Dunlap: Kyle welcome to our NASCAR Nextel Teleconference. Let's get started with this past weekend at Daytona. Obviously given how strongly those ...
NASCAR Nextel Teleconference
July 6, 2004
Guests: Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth
Part 1 of 3
John Dunlap: Kyle welcome to our NASCAR Nextel Teleconference. Let's get started with this past weekend at Daytona. Obviously given how strongly those Hendrick cars were in the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, you must have only imagined what it would been like for you to be in that particular race.
Kyle Busch: Oh, definitely, always with Hendrick Motorsports will ... at any race track we get to. Especially when you get to the restrictor plate places, we definitely raised our program here because of DEI, the way they raced the past couple of years. It's definitely great to have Hendrick Motorsports and all the research and development and everything we've been doing have been paying off and definitely showing our stuff with Jeff Gordon winning and Jimmie Johnson finishing second and Brian (Vickers) having a strong run there during the beginning and middle part of the race also.
Dunlap: Kyle lets get back to the season you're having. Obviously you're clearly in the chase for the NASCAR Busch Series title this year, as you are only 68 points back. Why don't you take us through your hopes and expectations? Obviously you've got three wins this year. Obviously it's been a banner season for you already, but take us through midseason, what your feelings are so far about your Busch Series season.
Busch: All my feelings are strong and we've definitely run well for the first part of the season. We kind of have to reassess our goals as far as everything's been going. Like I said it's been going pretty well. At the beginning of the year basically we set out saying, maybe we can get a pole, maybe we can get a win, possibly be in the top 5, top 10, towards the end of the year and have a shot to go after the championship and that's great. The way everything's been going, it's been going excellent. Of course, we're 200 plus points ahead of David Green who I guess was 3rd and fell a little bit. We're 68 behind Truex who hopefully we can close the gap up there a little bit there again and maybe take over the points lead. It seems as though we get to the points lead we have a bad luck weekend the following week and fall back out of it or lose points to Truex. Nonetheless, everything has been going really really well and the Lowe's Chevrolet has been doing awesome every weekend. I have to give credit to Lance (McGrew, crew chief) and all the guys at Hendrick Motorsports and our whole organization has just done an awesome job. Carrying those race cars and getting them to the track every week with a competitive speed to keep it up front.
Operator: Our first question comes from Ron Martin from CBS Radio.
Martin: Kyle, you just mentioned the fact that it seems like you get so close to Martin (Truex) to take over the points lead and then you have a bad race or something gets in the way. Is that part of your learning experience and I guess it falls under the category of patience.
Busch: It surely does. There are definitely times where you can make a mental mistake or have something happen to you on the race track. It may be a rookie mistake, it seems that things have just happened been racing less towards us. We were at Nashville as the points leader and ran out of gas. The following week it was a rookie mistake, we wrecked the car in practice and we were still able to come through the field and win the race. We've just had other little bummers that have happened to us, we slide through the pits at Nazareth, it's just a shame the things that have been happening to us. Hopefully when we get the points lead back, if we do, we can keep those things to a minimum and try to come out of there with the best way we possibly can. Mainly we need to keep getting our top 5 and top 10s and the points are going to take care of themselves. That's all we're really worried about. We struggled a little bit in Daytona, we're glad to get out of there and go on with the rest of the season, whether the car doesn't make all that difference.
Martin: Your teammates on the Nextel Cup side both have been in the championship run. Have they given you any advice?
Busch: Well, I wish they have been because we haven't really been with them. The last three weeks we've been by ourselves. Daytona it's your own animal there at Daytona, so we weren't able to go up to them there. I talk to Brian Vickers all the time on the phone and he drove this car last year for the NASCAR Busch Series Championship. Just to be able to have those teammates on my side is definitely a plus; to be able to go up to them anytime that I need.
Operator: Our next question comes from Barry Richmond from Piedmont Broadcasting.
Richmond: This weekend I had the opportunity to watch these divisions run. Do you find the people in the Busch Series as well as Craftsman Truck Series are there some that feel really comfortable in sketching out a career in those divisions without having the NASCAR Nextel aspirations?
Busch: I think it's excellent, there are definitely drivers like Bobby Hamilton for one in the Truck Series, and Ted Musgrave is another one. David Green, Jason Keller in the Busch Series. It's pretty cool that those guys, they've been up and been to the Cup Series and they know what it's all about. They can go back over and just have fun for them and that's what racing is all about. That's what they need to do; they need to be able to have fun. Some of these young kids jumping into the sport, we make it difficult on ourselves and even some of the veterans. It definitely gets kind of edgy sometimes. We still have a lot of fun though and we try to make it up to the Nextel Cup Series because that's where we want to be and that's where we want to make a name for ourselves. Sometimes it just doesn't work out and sometimes you just don't get the right equipment and you don't get the right opportunity that you need. You might have to go back down to find that opportunity and if another one happens to pop up then you try to move back up if you can.
Dunlap: I wanted to ask you, you mentioned about the progression you had, what are some of the big learning curves that you've had in the Busch Series so far and your experience driving there and then just from talking with people from the Hendrick team, what more kind of learning experience would you have to learn for the Nextel Cup Series?
Busch: Mainly, it's been a patience kind of game; we've been making sure that we've been patient enough through the beginning part of the races in order to be there at the end of the races. Have a good car for the finish and be able to be competitive and mainly it's been that and a couple of other things, just trying to learn about the different race tracks that we go to and learn different set ups and what this change will do for the car at this different facility. Just kind of learning the things about that and mainly learning the cars and trying to be patient has been the biggest key. I think we've been successful at doing that, there are still plenty more races to learn some new things. Probably the biggest thing to learn is from my teammates and of course further down the road is time management; working more on the personal things outside of the track as well as on the track too. Figuring you're always going to be learning, it doesn't matter if you're 50 years old and racing cars, you're still going to be learning something.
Dunlap: Speaking of learning, lets ask you the obvious question, I know you have been asked it before, but how often are you in contact with brother Kurt and what sort of things is he passing on to you. You mentioned time management which would be one of the real logical things to deal with. What sort of advice is Kurt passing along?
Busch: He's been giving me tremendous advice, he's been helping me out on the race track and of course I just came to this facility yesterday and today in New Hampshire International Speedway. We've been testing. We're trying to get a good test run for our Nextel Cup start, here in a couple of weeks. Mainly getting our car ready to go, I talked to him a little bit before I came up here and he gave me some good notes and some good feedback on how to get around this place and things to try and if your car is doing this, try that and make sure you don't do this. It's been an ongoing experience with Kurt and it's definitely been great because he's been able to help me at any track that I've been to, especially last week. Two weeks ago at Milwaukee, he also helped me out there. We ran really decent, but we had tire strategy not fall our way. Mainly off the track he's been helping me a lot with my management like you said and mainly trying to keep things straight. Being able to do what I enjoy doing, and that's of course racing my personal stuff, little legend cars or messing around on video games or going to the shop everyday just trying to keep the media on track, that's the main thing.
Dunlap: Pal, how much do video games actually come into play? We always hear about drivers who enjoy video games. When you're doing the video games how much of that can actually translate for you onto a racetrack?
Busch: Well, it translates a little, you're able to come out there and find the line on the race track and you can see what the place is like before you get there and messing around a little bit. The set up is so much different, you can't really set up a race track on a computer and print it out and give it to your crew chief and say here this is what I want, it drove really good for me on the computer. No, kid you have to try this first. It's not that, but you're able to go out there and see what the track looks like and it's surroundings and where the wall is and what kind of line you need to run around the place. That's kind of the main key before you get to the race track.
Dunlap: You mentioned this a second ago, that you're going to be doing New Hampshire. You talk about how that's going to be your first Nextel Cup Series race. Obviously what are your feelings going into that? A little nervous or just real excited, it could be the first of big things for you in the future. What is your mental take on going up to New Hampshire and dealing with that race?
Busch: Well so far we've kind of been struggling in the Cup Series, but hopefully we can turn things around for us in the Carquest Chevrolet. We look forward to coming out here and hopefully having a good showing. Just putting in a race like we did at Lowe's Motor Speedway and being able to run the whole race and that's what we did at Lowe's, but we weren't able to finish anywhere we wanted to. You have troubles like that sometimes when you're tired of handling a car like that all day, but that's why we're up here testing. Hopefully we can get a good day of testing in and make sure our car is good enough for when we come back here so we can qualify decently. Run somewhere up towards the front, maybe in the middle of the pack and hang out all day. It will definitely be a good showing for us. Hopefully they can keep all the Carquest folks happy for us.
Dunlap: Now lets talk about Chicago, so obviously once you get done testing at New Hampshire, you're going to be switching your attention over to try to get back on track and make up some points in the Busch Series race. What's been your experience with racing in Chicagoland and what attitude and keys do you have with racing well at Chicago?
Busch: Well, mainly I've only been there once. That was for the 'Roush Gong Show' when I was trying out for their truck. It was against a few other drivers and Greg Biffle was there and taught me a few things about the place when we got there. It's definitely pretty cool, I enjoy that race track, you drive off in the corner somewhat like Dover, it's shaped like Kentucky, Vegas, Kansas, it's definitely fun to go around there and I enjoyed it. Hopefully we're able to go back there be quick in our Busch Series Lowe's Chevrolet and hopefully we're able to qualify up front somewhere, try to keep that 8 car in our rearview mirror. Try not to chase him down so much.
Dunlap: Well, Kyle clearly this is an exciting time for you and you're in a position where a lot of people would love to be in which is an older brother who's paved the way for you. You've got a race team who is one of the best in the sport and your future is definitely bright. We certainly wish you the best of luck not only at Chicago, but New Hampshire and look forward to many news items from you in the future.