KYLE BUSCH, DRIVER OF THE NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS, TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT PLATE RACING, TONY STEWART'S COMMENTS, AND THE NEW GENERATION RACE CAR DO YOU HAVE THOUGHTS ON TONY STEWART'S COMMENTS? "No, not really. There's been an...
KYLE BUSCH, DRIVER OF THE NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS, TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT PLATE RACING, TONY STEWART'S COMMENTS, AND THE NEW GENERATION RACE CAR
DO YOU HAVE THOUGHTS ON TONY STEWART'S COMMENTS? "No, not really. There's been an awful lot of debris cautions this year but NASCAR's got their personnel that are around the race track. I think it's like 10 or 12 stations that they're in and if they see something that they don't believe is safe they're going to throw a caution and try to get it out of the way so someone doesn't run over it and blow a tire or whatever."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW BUSCH RESTRICTOR PLATE? "This place is just so good now and there's so much grip out there now. It's a lot of fun to drive and it's easy to drive. I didn't feel like there was a necessity for that but NASCAR felt that it was in their best interest to try to reduce speeds a little bit for safety so I'm all for that. It's a little bit different than what everybody ran at Daytona; it's a little bit different than what anybody ever tested so nobody has a whole lot of engine data. We were smart enough to take part in that during our Daytona testing when we had the telemetry on the car to put four different plate sizes on it. That way we could make sure that if they were going to put on a different plate size we would have the telemetry with it so we're okay."
DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR ANY YOUNG DRIVER MAKING THEIR DEBUT HERE? "Hold a pretty wheel. That's about it. Depending on what kind of car you are in, it's a tough place to make your first start. Juan Montoya did it here last year. Yesterday in practice all of us got our first look at him in the NASCAR-type series out here. He looked a little erratic. We'll have to just wait and play it out and see how he is in a race."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH MADE OUT OF TONY STEWART'S COMMENTS? "Yeah, a little bit. The week before he was talking about retirement and everybody took that seriously. They're talking about the WWE wrestling comments and how NASCAR throws cautions and taking that seriously. Not to dog on Tony at all but I just think he opens his mouth a little too much, I think."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CAUTIONS? "There's two parts to that. I think if there is something out there on the race track then make sure there really is something there. Make sure it's not just a piece of paper or a paper plate or something like that. And if there is - if you're going to throw a debris caution - let the TV look at it. Let the TV know where it's at and show us what it is and not just make it an imaginary one. I think that those could be the solutions to the problem on why drivers sometimes think that there's illegitimate cautions thrown out there is to just show us why that was."
YOU FINISHED A TOUGH SECOND A FEW TIMES AND ALWAYS CAME TO THE MEDIA CENTER AFTERWARDS. DOES IT BOTHER YOU THAT STEWART SKIPPED HIS PRESS CONFERENCE? "I've skipped out on it too and I got the hash that he's getting as well. It was a little bit tougher situation for me when I did it. It was in 2004, just after the Hendrick plane went down and I was trying to get a win for Ricky Hendrick and all the people that were on the plane in the Busch Series car there at Phoenix. We led the most laps, led the whole race and in the final five laps we lost the race and finished second. The same thing happened a week later in Atlanta when we were fighting for the win with Matt Kenseth. I couldn't quite get around him and we finished second again. I've finished a lot of tough seconds but none are too tough were I guess now, being a little bit smarter you have to do what you are obligated to do."
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING JEFF GORDON'S TEAMMATE AND HOW ARE YOU LEARNING FROM HIM? "The reason he's so good in the new car is because he likes a tighter race car. He doesn't like to have to drive those things too much. With the new car, it's incredibly tight and I can't stand to drive that thing because I like a loose race car. He just goes into the corner, turns the wheel to the left and lets the thing roll and smoothly picks up the throttle and drives the car off the corner. He likes it that way. That's his feel. That's what makes him the most successful in it. So that's why he's been so successful in that thing. As far as the other cars, I guess they've caught up to his game. The 1.5-miles, the two-mile places he's really been strong this year and those, technically in the past, haven't been his strong suit but more so this year it has been. I'm fortunate to be with Hendrick Motorsports and to have those guys on my team and to be able to go over to them and try to look at what they're doing and look at what he's doing and be able to talk with them and stuff like that. It helps me a little bit but I still have to get to Jeff Gordon's level which will take me a few years."
DO YOU THINK HE COULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR? "The way he's running right now, he is the championship threat. You just going to have to follow what results he's been able to pound out every week and what he's been able to do lately. I think he's probably going to be your main threat."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW CAR AFTER PHOENIX? "Same old thing. Still what I've always said before."
DO YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR STYLE TO THE WAY GORDON DRIVES IT OR DO YOU HAVE TO ADJUST THE CAR TO YOUR STYLE? "I tried some things throughout the race and I couldn't do it more than two laps in a row. It's hard to change your driving style and it's hard to change how you like your race car to drive when you've done it your own way for so long. For me the biggest thing is to try to get the car to drive to my liking and to try to get it the way that I like it. There's probably some things that we can do to help the drivability out in these things and I'm sure some of the drivers have gone to NASCAR. I need to go to NASCAR and sit down with them and say 'look, can we do something to try and help these things out because they're not that fun to drive'. I'm surprised, actually, that we haven't blown out more right-front tires because of overheating them. At Martinsville we had three or four right-front failures because of not only brake heat, but also just because they're so tight. You're developing heat slide in that tire. I'm hoping that we can try to fix it somehow."
-credit: gm racing