Watkins Glen: Kyle Busch - GM Top-10 interview

AMD AT THE GLEN - Weekly Top 10 BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS: ON RACING AT THE GLEN "Sometimes it is easier said than done - especially last year. I was doing just fine until about 10 laps to go and I...

AMD AT THE GLEN - Weekly Top 10


ON RACING AT THE GLEN "Sometimes it is easier said than done - especially last year. I was doing just fine until about 10 laps to go and I ended up spinning out in Turn 1 with a wheel hop. It's definitely a tricky place - especially with braking getting down into Turn 1. But all in all, it's a fun place to race. I enjoyed it here last year. We had a good run going. We were running like 13th so it was going to be a good day for us."

DO YOU LIKE ROAD COURSE RACING, OR IS THIS JUST A NECESSARY EVIL? "Yeah, I like it. It's fun. I had a good time with it. Here last year, we weren't too successful at it. But at Infineon this year we were running up there in the top 10 and probably had a pretty good shot at a top five, but got offline one time and about four guys got by me and I ended up 11th."

WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS RIGHT NOW, IS THERE A FINE LINE OF BEING CONSERVATIVE AND AGGRESSIVE? "Yeah there is, definitely, because the points are so tight. There are only 111 points that separate us all. So, you've seen it here the past few weeks with Kasey Kahne and Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and Tony Stewart. You either have one or 1 and a half bad weeks, and you're out of it. It's going to be a pretty tight race all the way up until Richmond."

AT INDY, YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T HAVE A GOOD CAR AND WOULDN'T RACE WELL. IS THAT STILL THE CASE? "Well, we didn't race well, but we finished well, so we made a day out of it. So we just need to make a day out of it here again this weekend and I think we'll be okay."

WOULD YOU SUPPORT HAVING A ROAD COURSE TRACK IN THE FINAL 10 CHASE RACES? "Yeah. You have to have all the different variables of all the race tracks in there. We have (everything) from Martinsville to Talladega in there right now. So, if you throw a road course event in there it would be pretty cool. I think we should have at least four of them each year. We have four restrictor plate races each year and you have to build a special car for that, so why not have four instead of two road course races each year because we have to build special cars for that anyway also."

DO YOU AGREE THAT WITH INDY, THE GLEN, BRISTOL, AND MICHIGAN, THAT AUGUST IS THE MOST DIFFICULT MONTH OF THE YEAR? "Yeah, that's probably a pretty good assessment. Bristol is probably the toughest. Indy, with the heat, it pretty tough. Watkins Glen, just because it's a road course event (is tough), but Michigan is probably the least strenuous during the month of August. It's kine of a tough place, but all in all it's probably the easiest."

IS MICHIGAN A FUN PLACE TO RACE WITH ALL THE GROOVES? "Yeah, there is so much area and so much room to move around and try to get some passes made. It's not like Bristol or Indy where everybody is fighting for the bottom or a road course where everybody is fighting for that one line. It's definitely a place where there is a lot more room to move around and places to pass somebody."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS THAT MAKES IT SUCCESSFUL? IS IT MONEY OR TEAMWORK? WHAT IS IT? "Oh, I think it's Rick Hendrick. He hates to lose. He doesn't like it very much when his teams fall behind or anything like that. We're always trying to stay either on top of the curve or ahead of the curve. We want to make sure that we're always ready for whatever comes up next. You don't always know what that is, but we try to keep up with it as much as we can. So, the biggest thing for us is to try to be successful week in and week out."

WITH ABOUT 4 HOURS TO GET READY FOR QUALIFYING, HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR SET-UP IN TACT BEFORE YOU GO OUT? "We're going to start out in race trim and get accustomed to the track and find out my braking points and see if they've changed any of my markers out there. As soon as we get that squared away, we'll put it in qualifying trim and see if we can get a good qualifying spot for Sunday."

DO YOU THINK THE TRACK IS GOING TO BE FAST AND THAT WE MIGHT SEE SOME MORE RECORDS BROKEN TODAY? "I'm not sure. It all depends on the tire and some other circumstances. The weather is obviously pretty nice today and that might play into somebody's advantage as far as getting some fast times."

SHOULD THERE BE A CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE BUSCH AND CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES? "Oh, yeah; definitely. If you look at it, I could still have a chance for the championship in the Busch Series coming down with 10 races to go. But as of right now, there is too much ground for us to make up. We're some 500 points back. So that's pretty tough to try to come back and do. But in the Craftsman Truck Series, the points are pretty tight. It's been a great year over there. I've seen a lot of good racing. I think it would definitely add more excitement to that series as well."

IN THE BUSCH SERIES, SHOULD THE BUSCH GUYS GET MORE POINTS THAN THE PART-TIME CUP DRIVERS OR SHOULD IT REMAIN A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD? "I think what NASCAR could probably look at is having more non-companion events. If there were 10 or 15 non-companion events, you wouldn't see guys doing the full schedule. It would be way too much work. Right now, they've been pretty helpful with being able to help us out and get the schedules aligned so we can get back and forth and do what we have to do, but if they came up with more races...I wouldn't say they can or they should..but like Hickory or Myrtle Beach or putting some of those short tracks back on the schedule and be able to have more non-companion races."

A YEAR AGO, YOU WERE 20TH IN POINTS AT THIS TIME IN THE SCHEDULE. YOU ARE TIED FOR 4TH NOW. WHY ARE YOU SO MUCH BETTER? "Oh, the experience level and trying to understand the race cars and the races better. The team is really gelling together very well this year. We've had a great time and a great experience being able to run as well as we have. I'm probably just becoming a smarter racer. That's probably the biggest thing."

IS THERE ONE DEFINING MOMENT THAT YOU CAN LOOK AT AS A TURNING POINT TO GET THAT EXPERIENCE LEVEL? "No, there is no real defining moment. It just takes work and it takes a process over weeks. I've had some pretty big screw-ups this year and I've learned from those. You want to go on to bigger and better things. Of course right now, we're doing that. We're in fourth; tied for fourth, and we're just looking toward the Chase trying to get ourselves in there - locked in there - and to make a strong run at it in the last 10 and try to become the youngest champion."

IS THAT ROOKIE YEAR IN THE NEXTEL CUP SERIES OVERWHELMING? "It was. It was pretty tough. There were some times there when it got even harder. But this year we've worked with our race cars and gotten them handling better. And we've been able to run up front more often. It's just been better. But in the Busch Series program, I've kind of fallen wayside to it. We're kind of backyards. But it's a little bit awkward. But all in all, I think Hendrick Motorsports as an organization, we'll be able to get that deal fixed up and we're heading into next year with a strong Busch program and hopefully we can keep our Cup program going the way it's been going."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT THE GLEN LAST YEAR AND YOU CAN APPLY TO THIS YEAR'S RACE? "The biggest thing for running at Watkins Glen for me is that last year we were running 13th with 10 laps to go and ended up having a situation where the rear wheel lock-up and we ended up spinning ourselves out. So, this year, learning from that, it was just a case of me trying too hard to get a couple more positions before the end of the race where we ended up losing about 20 spots. So for us, this year, it's just to try and go out there and run the best we can. We've got a lot better equipment and I'm a smarter race car driver, I think in my opinion, and the team is definitely gelling a lot better together so we can hopefully have an easy weekend."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kasey Kahne , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports