TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Kyle Busch — Notes & Quotes
Watkins Glen International – August 8, 2014
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What is your outlook this weekend at Watkins Glen?
“Looking forward to this weekend. This is always a place that we enjoy coming to. It’s a good place for me here the last few years and so I’m looking forward to this weekend both on the Nationwide side and the Sprint Cup side. Practice was a little shaky this morning I guess for the 54 car (NNS), but all in all we have decent speed. Definitely not as good of speed as we want compared to those cars that are fast and we’ll just have to continue to work on that and get ready for Cup practice, too.”
Are the restarts crazy at Watkins Glen and how important are the braking zones?
“The restarts here tend to get crazy a little bit just because it is a road course and as you’re running around there when you do get single filed out you’re essentially only cleaning off one groove. As you get ready to come to the green, just try to keep your tires clean enough in order to have a good start and make your car turn through turn one and turn two and try to get singled out by three, four down through the bus stop if you need to make passes you make passes. They’re always interesting. When you’re upfront you’ve just got to try to hit your marks, again try to clean your tires off and make sure you can charge the corners and get away from the rest of the guys around you. Braking zones in general — that’s obviously the areas that you make passes if the guy in front of you is not making mistakes. You can pass anywhere on this race track essentially if a guy makes a mistake but if they’re not it’s essentially a braking zone to just out brake that guy in front of you. Making sure that you keep your brakes on your car and keep them cool enough that you can go after people in particular corners and out-brake them.”
If you are upfront during the Cup race, are you more concerned that a guy may try to get by you for a win here?
“Yeah, I don’t think it’s any different than any other week. I don’t think that you go to Bristol and have a guy that needs a win there, if they’re not going to do anything there versus here. So, I just think that you’ve got to be conscious of all of that. You’ve got to know who you’re racing and what they’re racing for and just keep all of that in the back of your mind and do what you can in order to try to win the race for yourself and your team. But, past that obviously you’re going to know that some people might do some desperate things.”
Why has Watkins Glen been so good to you and why have you seemed to struggle at Sonoma?
“I think one of the biggest things that lends to my success here is less opportunities for mistakes by others. Every single time I’ve been at Sonoma, I’ve been wrecked so that’s why the results are so bad there. I think it’s been eight, nine races in a row or something at Sonoma where I have been spun out and here I tend to be fast enough to be out front to not have people around me and don’t get spun out. Now that I say that I’m sure that will change. Knock on wood and go into Sunday I guess.”
Are you hoping to lock yourself into the Chase after this weekend?
“Yeah, no doubt. You definitely want to be locked in. I feel like we’re sure enough to make the Chase but like I said, I think that just us, we want to be able to win. I felt like we had a chance last week to get ourselves locked in, but that obviously was cut short and so here we are this week just doing what we typically try to do. You want to be further up in the point standings and for me being 10th it’s very frustrating to be here because I know that’s not our capabilities, but to be honest with you, you look on the flip side of the coin and it really doesn’t matter where you are. It just matters where you end up and how well you do in the final 10.”
Have you started to think about your approach to the new segments in the Chase and how to survive each one?
“Yeah, we’ve thought about that a little bit. Obviously as soon as the rules came out, we obviously looked into okay, well where would we have been last year? Where would we have been the year before? You start looking into those things and the first round last year I think I was second, second and fourth or something like that, so the first round was pretty simple. The second round however was Kansas where I crashed and then I don’t remember if it was Talladega or Charlotte or something like that — no it’s Dover and some others. I don’t know. Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega is our worst round so that’s what we’ve been looking at, is just trying to make sure that we have the opportunity to try to run good in those races. Although Talladega is a crapshoot for everybody so you just really don’t know. We need to turn Kansas into not a crapshoot race for us or a crash race for us. We need to be able to run well enough there to at least get points because there will be people that are going to be transferring through that don’t have victories. Obviously that keeps getting cut out as you go through, but it’s an opportunity for us to try to eliminate our mistakes and just have solid runs.”
What do you think the speeds will be like at Michigan next weekend and what did you learn there in the first race?
“Speeds at Michigan are up and they’re fast. It’s hard for Goodyear to make a tire that feels like it has enough grip to withstand the amount of speed we do carry, the amount of load we carry, the amount of temperature that they develop because we are going so fast. It’s not a favorable tire to the drivers I don’t think but it’s just because the cars are so darn fast. What we learned last time at Michigan — I felt like we ran good. We were running fourth to sixth or so and having a decent day and then that was one of the races where we had a rear wheel barring failure so I essentially finished, I think, 41st or something. Not such a good day for us but I felt like our car was fast enough to be capable of running in the top-10 and so I look forward to going back there and trying to see if we can’t do that again. It is a place that you learn a little bit for Kansas because they are both fresh repaves and I think you run on the same tire at both tracks — I can’t remember. But, it is a place that you can learn some stuff for Kansas so we like that.”
Do you feel everyone is out to beat you here or are you still having to chase down a guy like Marcos Ambrose?
“I don’t know. I don’t think I’m chasing a guy like Marcos (Ambrose) at all. I think that when you come into this race though you look at the favorites and I think there’s three favorites because they’ve been the top three guys here the last four years, three years, whatever it’s been. It’s myself, the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the 9 (Marcos Ambrose). I think you’re going to see those three cars be fast. I think you can always mix in a fourth and a fifth guy depending on who those are. Some days they’re different than others. This year obviously the 24 (Jeff Gordon) has been real stout — maybe he can carry that on into this week. I don’t necessarily think that anyone is chasing anyone. I think it’s just going to be us three trying to figure out who is going to win it.”