Toyota NSCS Richmond Notes & Quotes Kyle Busch

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”253″][/media-credit]TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Kyle Busch¬†— Notes & Quotes Richmond International Raceway –¬†April 26, 2012

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Brown¬†Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs¬†Racing Are you looking forward to a busy race weekend in Richmond? “We’ve had some good times with the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. ¬†We’re looking forward to another one here tonight. ¬†A special thanks to our new Kyle Busch Motorsports partner with AMF, All Metal Fabricators who is from the Delaware area — they’re on board with us and supporting us for this race tonight. ¬†We’re looking forward to having fun with our No. 51 Camry and racing around there trying to get our third win in the Short Track Showdown — we won the first two, Had a couple year hiatus, but I let Denny (Hamlin) have last year’s. He hadn’t won and it was the first year at Richmond, so I figured I’d give it to him. ¬†I was a little short on fuel, had fuel cell in the car backwards. ¬†He beat us and we’re looking for redemption here tonight.”

Do you enjoy racing at Richmond? “This is a really good track for us and we’ve got some good cars and we’ve had some good runs here in the past. ¬†No reason to not expect the M&M’s Camry to run up front on Saturday night here. It’s been a really great place for us. ¬†Qualifying has been hit or miss, but we look forward to the challenge of getting ourselves back in the running condition that we like to be in and hopefully having a good run here Saturday night. ¬†Tomorrow night, Kurt (Busch) running in the KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) Camry with Monster Energy — it’s going to be fun to see that. ¬†Our second short track race of the year. ¬†We had a really good race going at Bristol and unfortunately had some problems on pit stops and kind of mired us back a little bit and got ourselves in trouble with a right front tire going down. We’ll see what we can do here. ¬†I’m looking forward to Kurt giving us some good information for the car and trying to make our stuff that much better.”

American Muscle

How do you and teammate Denny Hamlin work together to have success at Richmond? “This is a good place where — it’s one of the few places we run on real similar setups. ¬†We’re able to talk a lot about this place and what the keys to our success has been here, whether I get in the corner a little bit deeper than he (Denny Hamlin) does and he gets in a little shallow, but we both seem to exit the same and need the same sort of car setup in order to have good cars here in the past and be good over the long run. ¬†That’s been our key point that we’ve tried to save our tires as much as we can and everything. ¬†It’s an interesting race when it comes down to the two of us because we both kind of know each other so well, that we know what each other is doing. ¬†It was fun here last year, he kind of ran me down and was on my back bumper for a couple laps and then I steadily moved away from him a little bit and was able to win the race. ¬†We’ll see if that happens again this year.”

Do you feel like your team is a little bit off right now? “I think that we have been a little bit off this year and why? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†It’s just kind of been a little bit of a struggle to find comfort in the cars and speed in the cars this year so far for me. ¬†We did run well at Phoenix — we led some laps there and were fast, we were up front. ¬†We didn’t keep up with the track on the final two pit stops, fell behind a little bit, but still finished sixth, so it wasn’t bad. ¬†Texas, Denny (Hamlin) and I were racing side-by-side for finish 11th or 12th. ¬†Last week, Denny started up front and stayed up front, I just could never get there. ¬†You know, last year the 18 team I felt like was the better team. ¬†We had better cars. ¬†It seemed like we were finishing better week in and week out. ¬†The 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the 20 (Joey Logano) were kind of scratching their heads a little bit. ¬†This year, it seems like the 11 is doing a little bit better job of being able to show up to the race track ready to go and have speed in the cars. ¬†The 18 and the 20 are now scratching their heads a little bit. ¬†We’re trying to turn it around and this is a good place for us that we’ve run really well here in the past. ¬†I’m hoping that this weekend we can kind of redeem ourselves and run top-five at least. ¬†The last two weeks, Texas and Kansas, we finished 11th and 10th, so that’s not terrible. ¬†It’s almost two top-10 finishes. ¬†Certainly we’d like to be better, leading laps and contending for wins, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Are you or your team doing anything different this year? “Personally I don’t feel like I’m doing anything differently, no. We’re just trying to communicate as best we can with Dave (Rogers, crew chief) throughout practices and stuff and get ourselves to where we have good handling race cars, good driving race cars to then you can try to get more out of the car. ¬†If you’re comfortable in the car, you can drive it harder and make it do something wrong. ¬†When you’re two-tenths off the pace and you’re scared to drive it any harder because you’re already out of control, you’re not going to be picking up any time. We’re trying to work on comfort and get the balance close and then we try to work on driving harder in order to get the speed out of the car. ¬†We’re kind of taking baby steps in that direction.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) Are you racing less aggressively this year? “Not that I know of.”

Have you spent more time on the Cup program this year and how is KBM doing this year as a result? “I’ve spent a lot more time on the Cup stuff. ¬†We’ve had team meetings every other week at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). ¬†I’ve been spending time with Dave (Rogers, crew chief) in the hauler on the weekends during the race events talking over different things about how our car was in practice, what we need to look at to change, qualifying adjustments, race adjustments — all that stuff. ¬†I could be dialing myself out a little bit too much, maybe by talking too much or saying too many things, where before I’d be off to the next practice and not spending so much time with Dave, and Dave would just surprise me and I’d just drive the thing. ¬†Maybe it’s me dialing myself out, I’m not sure. ¬†There’s been some struggles over on the Truck side and the Nationwide side, unfortunately. ¬†We just haven’t quite done the things we need to do or that we’re capable of at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). ¬†It’s kind of been a struggle to see — we tore up our brand new truck at Daytona within the first run of the race. ¬†Martinsville didn’t go great for us, we blew up 19 laps in and last week we ran Jason Leffler out of fuel. ¬†Dumb stuff has been happening on the Truck side. ¬†I feel bad for Jason because I feel like we haven’t quite given him the stuff that he needs to run better. ¬†We have to work harder there and the guys are well aware of it. Nationwide side, it’s a new deal — we just started this thing eight weeks ago or eight races ago I should say, if we’re even that far. ¬†We’ve got a lot of time to grow here hopefully and work ourselves into better equipment, better setups and better communication between driver and crew chief — between me and Mike (Beam, KBM NNS crew chief), between Kurt (Busch) and Mike. ¬†Kurt has only ran one race and he was running 12th or 13th or something and we still had another set of tires in the pits for a final pit stop at Texas, but blew up. ¬†We’ll just keep working.”

What’s more difficult as a driver, not winning races or not leading laps? “The most frustrating point is not leading laps, because if you’re not leading laps, you’re not contending — you’re not in contention to win at all. ¬†That has to be the most frustrating part probably is not being up front and not being capable of being up front. ¬†Truex (Martin Truex Jr.) and those guys at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) have done a phenomenal job this year of turning their job around. ¬†They really learned a lot during the off-season and went to work and they’re leading a lot of laps and in contention. ¬†They will win, it’s just a matter of when. ¬†We need to get ourselves up there and start leading those kinds of laps and we’ll be in contention as well, too. ¬†You don’t want to just lead the last lap and win a race and say, ‘Oh, we won.’ That’s not really winning, but you did win. ¬†However you want to take that.”

What do you expect from Travis Pastrana this weekend? “I’m not really aware of the situation very much, I just know he’s running his Nationwide debut here this weekend, I guess. Hopefully it goes well for him. ¬†I know he’s got a tutor in (Matt) Crafton, he’s a buddy of mine. ¬†They’ve been working well and working hard the last few years of getting him to this point. Hopefully he’s ready and feels he’s ready.”

Do you enjoy the ‘Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown’? “It’s a fun race — it’s for charity, although last year I did get my feelings hurt. ¬†I wanted to win the thing just as bad as anybody else out here did too. ¬†We led the whole thing and we were close, but missed out. ¬†It’s a great race to put on. ¬†It’s very similar to what Tony (Stewart) does with Tony’s race at Eldora (Speedway, Rossburg, Ohio) — both events bring in a lot of funds for the respective charities. ¬†That’s fun for us drivers to see that and we get to go out there and hone our skills with some NASCAR-type late models. ¬†If I can’t win the race, you’d rather see the guy putting on the show win the race or some other late model guy that maybe hasn’t won before.”

What do you think about Darlington hyping the race as the ‘return of you and Kevin Harvick?’ “I think it’s dumb. ¬†It’s pretty stupid.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) How will the changes being made to Bristol Motor Speedway impact the racing? “That’s a tough situation for Bruton (Smith, track owner), for the guys up there at Bristol — for anybody. ¬†It’s disappointing to see them change a perfectly good race track that promotes good side-by-side racing for a lot of the event. ¬†I don’t put the blame on the race track at all. ¬†I think we’ve had some really good races there since it’s been repaved that way. ¬†Last fall, Joey (Logano) and I racing each other side-by-side for the last 15 laps before we were banging doors in (turns) three and four coming to the checkered. ¬†Carl Edwards and me in 2008 running into each other and everything else there. ¬†There’s been a lot of good racing at Bristol. ¬†It’s not the ‘move the guy out of the way, spin somebody out,’ atmosphere anymore and if fans want to see wrecks then I guess we have to wreck more. ¬†It’s actually good for us drivers to not have to have those things and not have that kind of drama that we have to deal with, but if the fans need that in order to buy tickets then I guess we’ve got to do what we need to do. ¬†Whatever they’re doing, I heard they’re grinding the top lane or taking banking out or something like that — I haven’t won the last two races there, I wouldn’t say because it’s a new tire, just because we haven’t been that great and I wrecked 25 laps in this spring. ¬†The last couple tire compounds that we had before that were really good. ¬†You could race on the bottom, you could turn on the bottom, and you could still have good forward bite up off the corners. ¬†I felt like the Goodyear guys maybe changed the way the race played out a little bit in changing the tire. ¬†They really didn’t expect that or want that, but that’s how I feel about it.”

Do you expect to see more pack racing at Talladega? “I think we kind of saw a little bit of that at Daytona — there wasn’t much tandem-style stuff going on. ¬†You do just overheat too fast and you can’t take a chance in overheating and pushing water out and hurting your motor. ¬†It’s a long race. ¬†It’s going to be a 500-mile race and the thing about Daytona that we may or may not see in Talladega is in Daytona, it was hard to get the outside lane moving. ¬†It seemed like once you got single-filed out on the bottom, the bottom was too strong to hold and to hold off the outside lane or any progress from the outside lane. ¬†Talladega is wide enough that there could be a middle lane and guys could shoot up through the middle and really make some evasive moves or aggressive moves sometimes. Hopefully, it’s a better race and puts on a better show that my opinion of how the Daytona race played out.”

What is your Nationwide schedule this year? “ or — whatever the schedule’s on, it’s on there.”

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