BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS WEEKEND'S RACE AT TALLADEGA? "We're excited about it. Coming into Talladega is going to be a new venture for us. We've got a new restrictor...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS WEEKEND'S RACE AT TALLADEGA? "We're excited about it. Coming into Talladega is going to be a new venture for us. We've got a new restrictor plate car here this weekend. The last restrictor plate race we finished second at Daytona, so it was a good event for us. But I haven't ever had much luck here. Hopefully having two bad races at the start of the Chase, might turn our luck around here a little bit and we might actually be able to survive and hopefully finish well."
WHAT ARE YOUR EPECTATIONS FOR LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY NEXT WEEKEND? "I think we're going to face a lot of what we saw there in the spring. Tires aren't going to be a problem. They're way too hard for the race track surface - especially now that it's had some age on it. It's gone through some summer months and some rain. It's going to be slicker than it was in the spring. It's going to be harder to get a hold of. They did decide to come with a softer left-side tire to try to give us a little bit more grip, but I don't think it's quite as soft as what they maybe could have gone. Again, they're just trying to be safe and make sure we don't have any tire problems. But overall, we're going to see somebody come out of there with a win and hopefully we can get our stuff good enough where we can go it."
WITH THE NEW SMOOTH SURFACE AT TALLADEGA, THERE IS TALK OF RUNNING FIVE-WIDE. IS THAT A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING? "It's really not bad. The track has got enough adhesion to it where the tires will grip well. As long as everybody's cars are driving well and there's not too much going on and everybody can hold their own line, it would be fine running around here five wide. It wouldn't be an issue. I think it would be easy enough. Before, the track didn't have a lot of grip. When the tires would get old, you wouldn't be able to do it. You'd really slip and slide around. The bumps were all over this place. I've heard a lot of guys say it's really smooth, so I think it could be done. I wouldn't like to see it. I don't think it's a good idea to see it, but it could be done."
IS THERE A CHANCE, WITHOUT THE BUMPS AND WITH A LOT OF GRIP, TO CREATE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY? "I can't speak for everyone else. I think there will be a good race here this weekend. I don't think it would be any different than what we've seen here at Talladega in the past. We'll see some good two-wide, three-wide, and maybe even four-wide racing. I hope not, but you might see the five-wide come out. But overall, the pack is going to be altogether. Everybody is going to try coil binding here this weekend to see how that works. I don't think that's been done at a restrictor plate race yet. Just because of the track and the grip and everything, they're going to take advantage of that. So I don't know if you'll see cars driving a little bit more erratic or not, but we'll have to find out here in practice."
HOW HAS YOUR APPROACH TO RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED DOING IT? "It really hasn't. I just come to restrictor plate races with the mindset that you try to keep it clean and you try to come out of here with a good, solid finish. But you never know what can happen or what the race might entail. So for me to come into this weekend with that same mindset is what I need to do; and I feel like we can come out of here with a good weekend, but you just never know."
DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE MORE CUP DRIVERS OPTING TO DRIVE MORE TRUCK RACES NEXT YEAR BECAUSE THE TRUCKS ARE MORE SIMILAR IN AERO TO THE NEW CAR THAN THE BUSCH CARS? "That could happen. Anything can happen in this sport. I haven't even driven the COT yet. I'm pretty familiar with the trucks. I like the way they race. Everybody thinks we need to go more with what the track racing is, but they're actually more difficult to drive than what we're driving today and they're more difficult to set up due to that front splitter piece. If it's dragging the race track, you've got maximum downforce. You're doing excellent. But as soon as that thing lifts up the least little bit, you start pushing. At Dover, you can run around there out front and you can be the greatest thing happening. And then Mark Martin or somebody like that gets in front of you who has a really good truck and after a pit stop you can't get up to them. You can't pass them. You have to go find your own clean air. You need a wider race track in order to try to pass those guys. In the future, places like Michigan and California where it's plenty wide, you might not see a problem. But places like Bristol or Martinsville, we're going to have a tough time trying to get some good racing going on at those places. So, running more truck races or not? I don't know. You might see it."
ONCE YOU GET PAST TALLADEGA AND MARTINSVILLE, THERE ARE STILL SOME GOOD TRACKS FOR YOU LEFT. CAN YOU GET BACK INTO THIS THING? "I'd like to think so. I hope so. Last week we had a great race car. The Kellogg's Chevrolet was running up front for most of the event. We had a late race pit penalty come out on us. I guess we ran 50.4mph down pit road. The speed limit is 50 mph. It was right on that exit. We were the fourth pit stall. I didn't know we could speed out of there, but obviously it was possible. So I wish that didn't happen to us. We went the whole way on fuel there at the end and we were better than (Tony) Stewart throughout the whole race. So we felt like we had a chance to win there. At Charlotte, upcoming next week, we always run well there but we just can't finish. At Martinsville, I kind of turned that around this year with getting a little bit better at short track racing. At Texas and Atlanta, if we can turn those programs around a little bit, we can run a lot better there too. So there is definitely some areas of hopefully, success that we can work our way back up with."
-credit: gm racing