KYLE BUSCH Going 'Green' in the Irish Hills HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 11, 2010) - During the 19th century, the Irish Hills area of Michigan - located near U.S. 12, approximately halfway between Detroit and Chicago - was a well-known stopping...
Going 'Green' in the Irish Hills
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 11, 2010) - During the 19th century, the Irish Hills area of Michigan - located near U.S. 12, approximately halfway between Detroit and Chicago - was a well-known stopping point during the five-day stagecoach trip between the two large Midwest cities.
At the turn of the century, the Irish Hills turned into an enjoyable tourist destination with its plush, green landscape and more than 30 lakes for vacationers and residents to enjoy in peace and quiet.
Now, two weekends a year, the Irish Hills come to life and become anything but peaceful and quiet when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for the state's largest sporting events.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), hopes that bringing along the familiar green Interstate Batteries paint scheme to his upcoming stopover in the Irish Hills brings a little bit of good fortune his way for Sunday's CARFAX 400.
While he currently sits seventh in the Sprint Cup standings, the talented 25-year-old appears to be solidly in the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup that will get underway just four races from now. Busch has two wins on the season but is now looking to add more wins and, thus, add more bonus points to the 20 he already amassed (10 each for his two victories already this season) before NASCAR's version of the playoffs begin. Just like Interstate's slogan, Busch and Company are hoping to be "Outrageously Dependable" over the next four races in order to solidify their spot in the Chase and the chance to go after the season-ending championship.
So as Busch and the Interstate Batteries team head to the Midwest this weekend, they'll hope to get the green light on their road to victory lane come Sunday afternoon in the Irish Hills of Michigan.
KYLE BUSCH: Driver, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry at Michigan International Speedway:
Are you looking forward to going back to Michigan?
"I know Denny (Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota and the winner of the June event at Michigan) is really looking forward to going back there because he's going to take the same car, same stuff, same everything. Myself and Dave (Rogers, crew chief), we're going to take a new car there and try to shake down a new Interstate Batteries Camry. We feel like we only have one really, really good racecar for the Chase. We need to find a second one. You can't go into a 10-race stretch with one bullet. We've got a little bit of work ahead of us, but we're hoping this week at Michigan we can find a good racecar. We've got some work ahead of us to find some good tuning tools to work within the Chase. We'll try to keep ourselves locked into it here the next four races and then go fight them at the end."
It's been a hot summer at many of the races and looks to be pretty warm at Michigan on Sunday. How do you prepare for a hot day in a racecar?
"You just try to stay hydrated as much as you can and do a lot of that work during the week even before you get to Michigan. For as hot as it's going to be out on the racetrack, you just deal with it. And the new car we have this weekend, we hope we can run well. So, hopefully, it makes my job a little easier where I don't sweat as much. If your car drive's well, the heat never seems to be quite as bad."
Do you enjoy racing at Michigan International Speedway?
"It's really a fun racetrack. Unfortunately, I haven't had the success I've wanted there in the Cup cars. The June race there was really disappointing since we lost an engine in practice, had to start in the back, and we never really got good track position all day. I've been really good in the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series there in the past, but I'm still trying to get that place figured out in the Cup car. Just looking forward to this weekend, trying to go out there and run well with the Cup car and have a good, solid finish for us."
Do drivers have to be more aggressive to stay up front and win races today?
"Oh yeah, definitely. There was far more give-and-take back in the old days when you had that old car. I mean, you could race a little bit more. You could pass a little bit more with the old car only because everyone wasn't so close and competitive as they are now. Now, everybody is so similar. Everybody runs the same lap times. It's hard to find that little bit to be better than the next guy. First off, track position is so huge wherever you go. Then, you race for every position, every ounce of racetrack you can find all the time."
Michigan International Speedway seems like a place where most drivers really enjoy racing. Why is that?
"It's just a fun place to race. Its wide-open racing and you can run from top to bottom. The biggest thing is just trying to get grip there. Some guys are able to get it. Other guys can't. You can get it for maybe five laps and then you're just out to lunch. The biggest thing is, just trying to make your car comfortable and make it last throughout a whole tire run and, of course, make it fast, too. And the wide racetrack is good. That's what makes Michigan so exciting and so fun. That's the biggest deal about it. For me, coming to Michigan, I tend to run well there. For whatever reason, I haven't had too many great finishes to show for it, but the biggest deal is trying to finish and finish up front."