Phoenix II: Kyle Busch - GM Top-10 interview

BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KYLE BUSCH, NO. 4 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS: ON COMING TO PHOENIX: "It's just a neat place for me. I remember coming here years ago and watching Terry Labonte win here at my first ever Winston Cup race. And to be able...


ON COMING TO PHOENIX: "It's just a neat place for me. I remember coming here years ago and watching Terry Labonte win here at my first ever Winston Cup race. And to be able to win here last year is pretty special. This is the only Hendrick Motorsports car to go to victory lane here. It's been great. We've had a lot of great experiences. We can't complain about that. We had a tremendous start to the season and middle part of the year and we ran really well. We just haven't been able to produce the results that we needed here in the Chase. That's been a little bit of a struggle for us. But we feel like we had a strong enough run throughout the Chase. It just comes down to just being able to have some good luck sometimes and being able to be competitive, which we have been. We're excited about next year already."

ARE THERE THINGS YOU'VE LEARNED IN THE CHASE THAT YOU CAN APPLY NEXT YEAR AND IN THE FUTURE? "Yeah, I think some of the things we can work on to be better in the Chase is qualifying a little bit better. At Loudon, it's not what made us wreck on lap 3 was qualifying bad. We probably could have taken some different chances there, and been better off. But we got wrecked at Loudon and we blew up at Dover.

The things I've learned this year have just to kind of settle down and get into a rhythm and run the race and just been there at the end. Leading every lap in the beginning and middle part of the race doesn't pay anything. It's about being around at the end. That's more of what we've been able to learn throughout the year. We haven't been able to apply it throughout the Chase, but hopefully we can try to build on that the rest of the year."

YESTERDAY AT BONDURANT, YOU RACED GO-KARTS LIKE IT WAS THE DAYTONA 500. DO YOU GUYS ALWAYS RACE SO HARD - EVEN FOR FUN? "Yeah, that's what it's about. This sport isn't easy, that's for sure. We were having a great time and it was a lot of fun and anytime you get three Cup drivers or three NASCAR drivers or three of any drivers for that matter out on the race track - whether it's go-karts or drag racing or AMC-whatevers, you're going to want to race each other with your heart. It was just a lot of fun out there yesterday at the Bondurant school. And it's cool. Those go-karts were the first time I've ever experienced anything like that because of the speed of the things. You were just hauling the mail going down those big straight-aways. Denny (Hamlin) and I learned that the draft plays a big role and whoever was leading was screwed because we're pushing the air. It's just like Daytona. The guy behind you is just sucking right up behind you and being able to pass you, so we were kind of using the sling-shot and everything else."

LAST WEEK YOU STOOD WITH TERRY LABONTE FOR HIS RETIREMENT PHOTO. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF LIKE THAT SEVERAL YEARS DOWN THE ROAD? "There's going to be a huge transition period from where I'm at now to that. Just coming into this deal and racing the way I raced last year, I didn't make many friends. This year we kind of turned it around there in the middle part of the year and really started racing well and everything. The thing you want to be able to do is to be well-liked when you retire. I know right now, I'm not close to retiring and I'm not close to being liked. So I've got some room to grow there."

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE DEBUTY CALLING YOUR BROTHER "KYLE" WHEN HE DEBUTIZED HIM? DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT? "No, I didn't even know anything about it. All I know is that it was Kyle Busch Day at Avondale about two weeks ago. That's all I know about."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP (YOUR TEAMMATE) JIMMIE JOHNSON DURING THE RACE OR PRACTICE OR QUALIFYING? "Yeah, as a matter of fact, he called me last night and we're going to sit down and meet here in a little bit and talk about this race track a little bit and discuss things about how to make him a little bit better and whatnot. You know, he runs fine here. He's always been consistent and always probably a top 10 car. But he wants to be a winner. I'm not saying I'm not any better than him. I know I'm not any better of a driver than he is. But for some reason, I've had success here. For him to be a little bit better, or anybody to be a little bit better, you always want to go talk to the guy who has had the most success at that particular track. Of course you go to Jeff Gordon at Martinsville. You go to Jimmie Johnson at a place like Atlanta or something like that. Jimmie is going to come over and we're going to talk about Phoenix and hopefully try to make him a little bit better during practice and everything today. It's kind of like Kansas. Here's a quick story about that. We were racing at Kansas and I was leading the majority of the middle part of the race there and running up top and whatnot. Jimmie moved up and he was following me. We came out of the pits after a pit stop and he came out in front of us and I couldn't pass him. He was taking my line and everything else. So I came over the radio and said, 'How many times out of 10 does the student beat the teacher?' So I'm thinking if I give him too much advice about this place, I'll see the same thing on Sunday."

OTHER THAN YOU BEING IN IT, HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THIS CHASE TO THE FIRST TWO? "I'm not sure. The way you break it down, this one is a little closer than the first one. I don't remember last year. I know Kurt (Busch) had a big lead all the way up until Atlanta and lost a little bit after Atlanta because he blew up. But then he was able to hold the lead almost through the whole Chase. This year, you've seen some lead changes up front. You saw Matt Kenseth have it, Jeff Burton have it, Jimmie Johnson have it, and I don't remember who else has been up there - Kevin Harvick too. It's all about having consistency in this thing and having some luck. There are five guys up front who are 100 and some points apart who still have the opportunity to win this thing."

AS A YOUNG DRIVER, HAVE YOU COME TO UNDERSTAND AND REALIZE THE PROCESS OF PAYING YOUR DUES IN THIS SPORT? "Yeah, that just came more so from Rick Hendrick and just talking to him about some different things and what not. A lot of people understand and know that I came into this deal already on the downside. I already came in guilty by association through Kurt (Busch) and then being associated with Hendrick Motorsports. There are still people out there that still accuse Rick of being a fraud from his Honda deal. It's pretty insane for people who don't know the whole truth and everything and all the facts. It's tough that way. You're associated with Kurt and with Hendrick and then Jeff Gordon. People don't like him for various reasons or Jimmie (Johnson) for various reasons. A lot of people don't like Brian (Vickers) now for various reasons and I've just never really been liked. I don't have a problem with it. People who are around me and know me like me. I've got a whole team that's been with me for two straight years that don't want to go anywhere but stick with the No. 5 team. They've been talking about doing a crew swap and everybody said they'd leave if they did that. It's great to have that support behind me and all the backbone structure that goes with it."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Terry Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports