Toyota NCWTS Martinsville Burton, Rhodes and Bell Quotes

by Official Release On Fri, Oct. 27, 2017

Toyota Racing – Harrison Burton, Christopher Bell and Ben Rhodes
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Martinsville Speedway – October 27, 2017

Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers Harrison Burton and Christopher Bell and ThorSport Racing driver Ben Rhodes were made available to the media at Martinsville Speedway:

Harrison Burton, No. 51 DEX Imaging Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Talk about racing your cousin, Jeb Burton, for the first time here at Martinsville
“Yeah, we spent a lot of times as kids here watching both of our dads race. It’s kind of weird coming full circle and having my cousin race. This is the first time that I’ve gotten to race against him, so should be a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure there’s going to be a little cousin rivalry going on. Should be a lot of fun to watch and fun – will be really fun to be a part of.”

If you and Jeb Burton get into a racing situation on the track, is it going to be a tough rivalry?
“I think I’d be really pumped for Jeb if he got to win. He hasn’t been – you know he hasn’t had as many opportunities as I think he deserves and really fast trucks and cars, so to have Jeb win or have a Burton 1-2 would be so cool. But at the end of the day, we’re both here for ourselves, right? It’s kind of a selfish sport, so you got to be here for yourself, but I think if I had to choose one person to beat me, it’d probably be Jeb.”

Would a top-10 finish be satisfying tomorrow?
“I think it’d be satisfying, I don’t think that’s the goal. I would be happy to get out with a good learning experience and learn as much as I can against these competitors in the truck series and have some fun doing it, but every driver’s goal is to win the race, no matter what scenario you’re in. You can have young drivers come in and say ‘I’m just here to run some laps and learn’ but in the back of their mind they’re thinking, wow, it’d be really cool if I won this race. I think that I would be satisfied with learning and getting a good finish in and doing the best to my ability, but at the back of my mind I always want to perform at the best that I can and finish as high up as I can, so you’re going to be fighting for the win obviously and not going to be rolling over when you get to tenth. That’s kind of something that you just kind have to cross to when you get there. You’re going to finish as best you can and that’s where you’re going to be.”

What are you hoping you’re able to do next season given your age restrictions and everything?
“Yeah, it’s tough. I feel like I’ve conquered a lot in the K&N Series and I feel like I’ve proved myself there and I feel like I want to move up, but I’m not quite old enough yet. It’s hard to find the resources to do so, so I think I’m – my wish list is to run as many race as possible and learn as much as I can. Run as many truck races as possible and hopefully with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) and learn as much as I can there. My wish list is not necessarily for races, it’s just to improve myself. I think I have, I have a long way to go if I want to race every Sunday, so I got to learn as much as I can as fast as I can cause I used to be a 14-year-old kid with a long, a long time to go before I even had to think about that stuff and had a long time to learn, but now the time’s coming, you know. I just turned 17 and am getting older and older and time’s coming for me to start running better and winning races more often, so I think my wish list is just to improve.”

Talk about the learning process between your first time here at Martinsville and what you bring to that this weekend.
“Earlier this year we had a really good run going out Martinsville and got into an incident that was not necessarily our doing, but something that we could have prevented I think, if we had better pit strategy we could’ve been farther up front, so I feel like I take that especially learning and trying to keep as much track position as possible at all times is really big here because it’s so hard to pass. You’re wrapping the bottom and a lot of times people end up bumping each other and you get into some incidents that you wouldn’t want to be in. The biggest thing I need to learn is how to stay up front as much as possible and have clean air as much as possible.”

Have you mastered this track yet?
“I don’t think anyone has mastered any track yet to be honest. You go to every weekend learning new things. I was listening to Happy Hours with Kevin Harvick last night on SiriusXM and he said the same thing. He goes every weekend and learns something new, so I think you can’t, you can never master a track completely because you can always pick up on little things here and there and the track is always changing with grip level and how much rubber’s on it and what the weather conditions are. I’ve definitely not mastered this track yet and honestly, frankly I don’t think anyone has completely mastered any track yet.”

Christopher Bell, No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Talk about what you expect at Martinsville this weekend.
“The Playoffs have been really good to me so far the way that the format changed over the offseason to allow us to gain some points going into the Playoffs, to have a little bit of a cushion was a huge advantage for my team. We were able to capitalize on that and get a lot of bonus points heading into the Playoffs. That played a really big advantage going into the Round of 8 and we could be really aggressive on strategy and that allowed us to win at Loudon and hopefully it’ll turn into another aggressive strategy here at Martinsville that can help us get to victory lane here this weekend.”

What’s been the biggest takeaway this season as far as your development from where you were as a rookie to leading the points this season?
“Fast trucks (laughter). Driving for (Crew chief) Rudy Fugle has been an eye-opener for me. He’s excellent at what he does and he proves that year in and year out. It’s pretty remarkable to see the string of championships that that team has been on with multiple drivers every single year. It’s an honor to be a part of that organization and Kyle Busch – inside of Kyle Busch Motorsports. It’s the best group of people that I could ask to be around and thankful that I get to drive for him.”

Talk about your first XFINITY Series win last week and did you smooth things over with Erik Jones?
“Well that was what I’d consider a career day for me. It was really big for my confidence to prove to myself that I can do it at the next step and it was a lot of fun to be able to win in an XFINITY car because they are obviously different than a truck and they have less downforce, so that was cool to be able to do that. As far as mine and Erik’s relationship, we weren’t really I guess friends before. We didn’t talk every day or anything like that, but we were acquaintances, so I think that that’s going to continue on. I made sure I reached out to him after the race and tried to smooth things over as good as we can, but we’re all here to win. We’re not here to become buddies.”

Looking forward to Texas, how important is it to have all three series at Texas to help widen out that groove after the repave.
“I’ll start by saying Eddie Gossage posted a picture on Twitter of the race track with the Tire Dragon on it and the color had changed dramatically from the time that we were there in the spring, so hopefully that’s a sign that the track is starting to age a little bit and we’ll see if we can move around. And then having the other series there, I don’t really know if it affects the trucks too much because we practice on Thursday I think before everything else hits the track and then we’re the first race, so as far as rubber, it’ll help a little bit on Friday having XFINITY practice and maybe a Cup practice or so, but you know the big thing is hopefully the track aged and maybe we can move around a little bit more than what we did in the spring.”

Have you learned anything going back and watching tape from last week’s XFINITY race at Kansas?
“Me and Erik (Jones), we’re fine. I reached out to him after the race and you he was, like we’re fine. Our relationship is kind of how it was before that. There’s no grudges held or at least that I know of. Going back to the move, he – I don’t know. He’s not a dirt race and I am a dirt racer, so maybe that was just two backgrounds clashing right there. I executed my move to exactly how I wanted to do it and I felt like I left him multiple options to get a different outcome and you know that’s kind of where I’m going to leave it at.”

What are you going to miss about racing at Martinsville with your graduation to the XFINITY Series next year?
“That’ s a great question. For me at Martinsville, I’m going to miss the – I’m just going to miss racing you know. The XFINITY Series has a weekend off here and you know I’m a racer and I love to race, so I’m going to miss racing this weekend.”

Ben Rhodes, No. 27 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
Talk about what you expect at Martinsville this weekend.
“It’s been an up and down season for our 27 Safelite Toyota team. Obviously Las Vegas was really big for us, it allowed us to advance to the Round of 6 here. Then Talladega wasn’t too good of a race. I’m looking at this race tomorrow just as survival for me. There’s a lot of new drivers in here and some drivers from the Cup Series as well. A lot of people probably see it as there opportunity to win and do well and be really aggressive and you know I think we just need to survive tomorrow. We can certainly take ourselves out of the Playoffs tomorrow more so than boosting ourselves forward, so survive tomorrow and then Texas and Phoenix will be good for us.”

How important is tomorrow’s race to getting to the final four?
“I definitely believe we can be in Homestead. I’m determined to be there. I know my whole team is more than ever. I think we deserve to be there, but we have a whole field and three different races to try to get there. There’s so many variables, so many bad things can happen and I’ve seen that throughout my season this year. Again, I think survival tomorrow is my biggest story and I think as long as we can do that, we’ll be fine. We have enough speed in our Tundras to race up front and get points. We can point our way into the Playoffs, or into the final four, but I’d much rather get a win and I think we have the speed to do that, but I feel like Phoenix and Texas would be some very strong race tracks for me.”

How much does winning at Las Vegas help your confidence coming into Martinsville?
“Well not only my confidence, but the whole team’s. That was a first win for not only myself, but almost every single crew member on the team especially in their perspective position – or respective position. I feel like Martinsville has been a fast track for me in the past, but I don’t have the results to show, so you know I think survival again, talking about survival, the past I would get caught up in stuff and survival for me is what’s going to get us that finish. I think we’re trying some new stuff this weekend and I’m hoping that will translate into more speed and like what Johnny (Sauter) was saying qualifying’s really important so I think qualifying is going to be half the battle for me. If I can qualify up front, the race is going to go way better for me than it has in the past.”

Talk about your new hobby. I understand you’ve been taking boxing lessons.
“I wouldn’t really call it a new hobby. I started – it’s more or less like cross training I guess. I started doing that last August or July. I’ve been doing that for a long time now. It’s just something fun to do. It changes up the monotony of training. You get on a bike and you cycle for two hours and you know it’s strung out, it’s very long. It’s very similar to your heart rate and stuff and a race car, but I enjoy the intensity of it and then also just the practicality of it, right? It’s just a lot of fun. I’m a huge fan of boxing and UFC. I can’t say I’m a huge like football or stick and ball sport fan, but I love boxing, UFC. I watch any time it’s on tv, you’ll catch me buying all the Pay-Per-View stuff. I’m just a big fan of it.”

Does boxing have any similarities to racing?
“Yeah, I would say endurance. One of the cool things about that sport versus our sport is it’s what you make of it. When you’re in a race car, you can be really tense and you can wear yourself out really quickly or you can be relaxed and have a better frame of mind and you can approach every corner with a better, more clear head. With boxing, you get in the ring and you know you can wear yourself out really quickly being intense or you can relax and kind of let the punches go and I feel like that’s – it kind of translates well. It’s just something to get me a little more clarity I guess.”

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