TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Kyle Busch — Notes & Quotes
Charlotte Motor Speedway – May 17, 2013
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Bites Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What are your expectations for the All-Star race?
“I’m looking forward to it. This is always a pretty cool race and has good atmosphere around it. The crowd gets jacked up, and of course there is nothing important on the line besides a million bucks. You just go out there and race as hard as you can. It all starts today in about an hour. You get some practice runs in, get some good practice in and make sure your car feels good to you. And you try to work on your speed, of course, as best you can. Qualifying — that’s certainly going to be interesting here today and trying to figure out how all that rolls on. I think all in all, it’s a fun event. We always enjoy coming to Charlotte and getting these two weeks here with the All-Star race — one of the shortest and most fun events and then the Coca-Cola 600 with the longest event. Kind of the two spectrums here at Charlotte.”
Do you feel able to race other drivers differently this weekend?
“Yes and no. That guy is still going to be mad at you or you’re still going to be mad at that guy. It doesn’t really matter what happens or what the scenario is. It is a race and you do want to win it. For this event at least it doesn’t have as much ramifications on it, but you still want to have the opportunity to make it to the final segment of course, and to be able to run hard and go after that million bucks.”
Can you win the championship this season?
“It’s real early to be talking championship, but certainly I will give a lot of credit where its due and that’s to the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing — all the guys and gals that have worked so hard at giving us some really great race cars — and I think it’s proven. Unfortunately, Denny’s (Hamlin) been out for a few weeks so he hasn’t gotten a full taste of it all, but he had a great race last week at Darlington — one of his favorite race tracks. We had a good race there — (Matt) Kenseth won of course and Kenseth has won three of them. He’s certainly no slouch and that’s why we all talked last season about what we needed and what we were looking for in another driver and we knew Kenseth had it. It’s not that he was missing anything over there at Roush, but it just seems like everything is in a lot better place right now. He’s got a fresh start — so it looks a lot reminiscent of my 2008 season from leaving Hendrick for Matt — more than this season looks like 2008 for me I believe.”
Does no pit road speed in qualifying help you or equalize the field?
“I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that the last few days. I heard the rumor of it that there was no pit road speed so I talked to the guys in our Monday meetings and they were like, ‘No, you’re crazy it’s just no speed exiting.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I think there is no speed entering.’ They all texted me back and they were like, ‘Yeah, you’re right so what do we need to do?’ I have no clue. When was it — in 1988 or something — was the last time we saw no pit road speed or something like that. It’s been a long time. Jeff Gordon doesn’t even have that experience. We’ll see how it all plays out for us. I think it will be interesting. Again, I have no idea what to expect to be honest with you. Hopefully, we get some practice at it here and we don’t tear up the grass too bad.”
Could there be questionable calls if the car was at a complete stop when the pit crew jumps off the wall?
“Yeah, there’s too much human judgment there. I don’t think — one second is one second and that’s a lot of time. I sat on the pole here the last two years I think and a second by somebody would have changed, I would have been second or third in the order. That’s a lot of time. We’ll just have to see what happens. My guys are a little disappointed actually because they don’t get to jump out in front of the car. They would rather it be sure no pit road speed, but be as it is. If you see your car is coming at you way too fast then you just stay on the wall and watch it go by. Otherwise if you’re coming in like Grandma then you jump out there and get ready for it. They’re a little upset about that part, but I understand the safety part of it and we don’t need to hurt these guys here and take any of them out for the rest of the year.”
How will you race Kasey Kahne?
“You race him (Kasey Kahne) just has hard as you race him any other week. The first two instances were a mistake, just misjudgment. Kasey admitted it, he had to get on the brakes in Daytona and checked up a little bit and I ran over him. You couldn’t really see through the cars in front of you to see what was happening. Daytona I just misjudged, I wanted to pull out and thought last second that I was going to stay in line and push Kasey. I turned him sideways when I was coming back in line. Last week was just hard racing. You’re in the last three laps and you’re past the last pit stop and it’s all about track position. For us, we were racing as hard as we could. He pulled a huge slide job on me in turn three and I got back to his inside and I had been running down there on the flat all night and had been passing lapped cars down there and some of my restarts were even that low on the race track. I didn’t think there was going to be a problem and when I got down there I just got tight and pushed up a little bit. Whether or not we touched, I think that’s insignificant because I’m not racing to wreck Kasey Kahne, but Kasey Kahne did crash because of me so it’s a part of hard racing at the end of the race and I hate that it keeps being the same guy, but if it were a Matt Kenseth on a Tony Stewart we probably wouldn’t see a story.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Bites Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued)
Have the incidents occurred with Kasey Kahne due to both of you racing up front?
“It’s got some merit to it sure. Being up front racing with a guy, Kasey (Kahne), he won Bristol and I think we finished second to him there and then obviously he ran well at Vegas and he ran well at Kansas. We were up front at Vegas with him and running well there, but you run up front and you try for wins in the last 30 laps and you have to give it everything you’ve got. You’re not there to rollover and let a guy go. Even the Darlington piece, if I would have let him go, I don’t know that I could have got back by him. It was a little difficult to pass and he did seem to have a good car on the long runs so I knew that protecting my spot was what I needed to do at that particular point. Racing up front, racing hard I’m sure there would be a moment where it could come back on me and I expect it, it’s fine. I just told Kasey, I said, ‘Just don’t make it hurt too bad.”
What is the line between dirty racing and hard racing?
“Dirty is when you don’t even give a (expletive) about the guy next to you and you just flat out run over him. I do have some care in who I’m racing and how I’m racing them. There are certain guys that I don’t and you can be aggressive and you can be seen as dirty in those situations. Certainly, there are some times out there where guys run you too hard and that’s just because you don’t have a good relationship with them or whatever and they’re mad at you. You have those situations with guys on the race track and you have with years, it’s just a matter of who those two are or three are.”
Are you expecting retaliation from Kasey Kahne?
“I don’t think Kasey (Kahne) is that kind of guy, but if it happens I’ll understand.”
Would you rather lead only the last lap than the most laps?
“If you lead 260 whatever laps and don’t win, it’s a lost race, it’s gone, it means nothing. It is what it is. It sucks and you hate it and on the flip side if you can only lead one lap and lead the last one and win any race, I’d have that happen every single week. It’s all about taking home the trophy and the checkered flag, it’s not necessarily about how many laps you lead. When you lead all those laps it shows that you’re good, you’re team’s good, you’re car’s good and everything else, but it just goes to show you how much bad luck this has.”
Do you like the rules for this year’s All-Star race?
“I don’t know if you have my transcript from last year, but I said the rules were stupid and they need to change it to this year’s rules so I take full credit and responsibility for them changing the rules. I think the rules are right this year. Last year, you’re exactly right, you win a segment and you roll in the back. We all knew that and that was the strategy you have to play. Jimmie (Johnson) played it the best obviously. For this year, that’s entirely out the window. You have to run each segment as hard as you can. You have to stay up front to keep your average finish as good as you can. There’s going to be a lot of things playing out in between the segments with pit stops, tire strategy, do you take two (tires), do you stay out, do you come in and get four if there’s a yellow in the middle of a segment — do you pit then and get yourself ready for the next segment? There’s a whole bunch of different things that could certainly lie in the race and I think it’s going to make it a lot more fun not only for the fans, but for the crew chiefs as well. I say fun, but I’m sure they will have some headaches after it too. I think this year is going to be a heck of a lot better. Realistically, winning all the segments, if I were a sports bookie I would put a 300 to one on it.”
Have you communicated with Kasey Kahne?
“We have communicated.”
Can you expand on the relationships with the 5 (Kasey Kahne) team?
“Yeah, one of the main mechanics over there, Kevin (Hulstein) we call him ‘Slim,’ he’s been there since the beginning of the 5 (Kasey Kahne) car and he’s still on that team. Obviously, (Alan) Gustafson moved from the 5 to the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and took a couple guys with him to the 24. My tire guy that I had in 2008, 2009 at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) is now the tire guy on the 5 car. There’s a couple other engineers and stuff like that I know so I’ve got a good relationship. The shop is the 5 and 24 so even though (Alan) Gustafson moved to the 24, it’s still the same shop so Gustafson and some of the other guys that I do know over there are still the same guys. I don’t know why it keeps happening the way it’s happened and I hate it that it is, but this last week was just hard racing and it certainly became unfortunate. It does look a little redundant so I get that part of it too.”