KYLE BUSCH Bringing the Lunch Pail to Work HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 8, 2010) - Thus far in 2010, Kyle Busch has motored through the first 14 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in workmanlike fashion. The driver of the No. 18 M&M's ...
Bringing the Lunch Pail to Work
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 8, 2010) - Thus far in 2010, Kyle Busch has motored through the first 14 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in workmanlike fashion.
The driver of the No. 18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) chalked another solid second-place run in Sunday's Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, a track that had been an Achilles heel for the talented 25-year-old in the past. Staying in the top-five for the majority of the event, coupled with strong work on pit road by the M&M's crew and Busch's own patience, proved again the No. 18 team is worthy of keeping a close eye on.
So as the Sprint Cup Series heads to an area of the country known for its hard-working fans, Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers, and the rest of the No. 18 team will once again pack up their proverbial lunch pails and put their collective noses to the grindstone in hopes of bringing home another top performance in Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Of course, those lunch pails might also feature a few samples of the new M&M's Pretzel and perhaps another key ingredient to winning a championship - consistency.
Busch and Company appear to be more focused than ever, not only on simply slotting themselves back into the 12-team, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, but to try and unseat four-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
In order to do that, the Las Vegas native, under the tutelage of crew chief Rogers, has learned he can go after race wins just like in the past if the car is capable, but also take what the day might give him and not beat himself. It's that same recipe that Johnson and his No. 48 team have used to hoist the championship trophy the past four seasons, and the one Busch has used to place himself just 19 points behind current Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick.
Busch also hopes to keep his string of eight consecutive top-10 finishes intact this week and improve his record at the wide and fast 2-mile oval in Michigan. He has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at Michigan, and has one top-five and three top-10 finishes in 10 career starts there.
So regardless of the finish, Busch will certainly fight hard, yet again, with his lunch pail in-hand and Sprint Cup trophy on his mind.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
How are you different today as a racer than you were in 2004 when you made your first Sprint Cup start?
"A lot different. Every week, it's a lot different. You just keep trying to learn and keep trying to pick things out that I can do better and keep trying to learn different scenarios. Obviously, with the way these restarts are now and how the end of the races are - cautions coming, not coming - you've always got to play it out and see what's going to happen. For us, this M&M's Camry team has done a really, really nice job for me to help me become, I think, a better racer this year, and to look a little bit better toward the big picture and try to keep going where we can knock some wins out and keep having some steady finishes."
Do you credit the success you've had this year to your new crew chief Dave Rogers?
"We struggled a little bit in the beginning - the first five races, or so - just getting the finishes we deserved. We ran well. We just didn't get the finishes we were looking for. Since we've been able to knock some top-fives off and get a win at Richmond, we've really been able to run well and we've had some great runs. I relay a lot to him (Rogers). I think he's done a wonderful job. I think he's done a lot for this team and for the Joe Gibbs Racing organization as a whole to make us all better, and he's made us all work a little bit harder toward winning races. I feel like he's done a really good job."
What do you think about the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing right now?
"I think it's really good. I'm really, really proud of not just my guys but the organization as a whole with the way Joey (Logano) is running. And Denny (Hamlin) won and we finished second at Pocono. We could've come out of there with a one-two-three finish, or a one-three-four, or something like that. I don't know where Joey was when he was battling there at the end. It was really unfortunate, what happened to him at the end."
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."
You are a big fan of the University of Michigan. How did you become a fan?
"My brother moved up to Michigan years ago to run in the (Camping World) Truck Series and he went to a Michigan game. He bought me a Michigan sweatshirt and sent it home for me. I never really paid attention to college football until then, but I became a Michigan fan. It's not too complicated of a story, but it's fun to be able to follow them when I have a Saturday afternoon off in the fall. I was lucky enough to be able to go to their practice before and get to know a few of the guys. I've met Coach Belein (University of Michigan men's basketball head coach) and his family the last couple of years, and they're a lot of fun to talk to. You always respect people who are as competitive as you are, and they certainly have the same drive to win that I do."