Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
New Hampshire Motor Speedway – July 19, 2019
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to the media in New Hampshire:
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you look at your career as the pre-Brexton era versus now?
“I don’t know that I’ve ever necessarily looked at a pre-Brexton era and a post. There’s something else that kind of happened around that same timeframe and that was Adam Stevens (crew chief). I think just having the opportunities to work with him and to have the communications that we had from the Xfinity side that transferred to the Cup side since 2015. Since having Brexton there’s been some good success as well too – the championship in 2015 and certainly would have liked to have won a couple more. We’ve been in the Championship 4 four years in a row, but can’t seem to close out the deal when it matters most in the final race, the only race that counts. We’ve just got to keep fighting for that and try to get better and making sure that we’re ready to go when it comes down to that time.”
A lot of concerns about the heat with the way the cars are sealed off with the right-side windows, the engine bay, etc. Are you expecting it to be bad on Sunday with the temperatures in the mid-90s?
“There’s nothing I’m going to do to change it. The hotter, the better. Bring it. I’ve been working my ass off for two years for days like this, so let’s go.”
Is it because of the way that the right-side is sealed off and that’s sort of why the cars heat up?
“It’s hot outside. There’s this whole thing called global warming (laughter) that we’re all aware of or not very aware of, however you want to interpret that. With the race cars, they’re hot things anyways. Exhaust temperatures are in the thousands of degrees. Your engine temperatures are running hotter now than they’ve ever run before, so you’ve got the underbody – with our cars being sealed off closer to the ground, there’s less air flow underneath the cars, so it kinds of just gets heat soaked. You can definitely feel those things throughout the course of the day. When you get in the car and you strap in and you put your helmet on, everything is kind of cool, you feel okay. Then as the race progresses and you have long green-flag runs, everything heat soaks and gets up to temperature. That’s when you start to feel the hottest. Right-side windows being in there? Yeah, that doesn’t help things. They give us a NACA that we’re able to have, but obviously the crew chiefs say it’s better to have that closed off. We’re allowed dampers on our hoses and so we run them closed all the time. It’s just do what we’re told to do and suffer the consequences I guess.”
How does the heat affect things during the race, especially with the PJ1 on the track?
“So if it was cold outside – let’s say it was in the 50s or something here, you know track temp being probably in the 70s or something – it would take a little bit for that (PJ1) to get burnt in for it to get warmed up for it to activate for it to become stickier. I guess the best explanation I can give you is – this is going against code for Mars, but Jolly Rancher, right? Like if it’s a cold Jolly Rancher, it’s probably sticky, but it’s not that sticky. When it gets hot, you leave it inside the cockpit of your car, it’s going to be really sticky. That’s essentially the comparison I have. That’s kind of how I look at it. The warmer it is, it’ll be sticky for a while and then once it gets – there might even be a time in which it’s too hot that then it’s just slimy. I don’t think we’ll see that here this weekend though. I think that stuff is pretty good.”
Does the car and its tires pick up the PJ1 as they run on it?
“It wears it away, yes. So the rubber of your tire as you’re running on it, they spray it and then they burn it in with the Tire Dragon or whatever and then as you, as we run across it, like last week you can kind of see us taking away the black that it leaves when they first put it down and it turns into a sheen. It’s kind of like taking it away. It’s just wearing it away. It kind of polishes it per se.”
Do you feel like you have a good notebook with the new car configuration that you can take back to Pocono next week and be successful with?
“I’d like to think so. We were pretty good there last time. There were a couple guys that were as fast as we were. It was kind of hard to pass in certain situations. There was some unique opportunities on restarts that didn’t really seem to present itself that we all expected it to. Past all that, for as good as we were, we’re not going back with the PJ1 being sprayed on lane two in all three corners or lane two and three in all three corners, so that’ll be a different variable than we’ve had there in the past and we’ll just have to play it all out and see what happens when we get there. Typically at those places and like any mile-and-a-half that we go to where you have to get out of the gas just a little bit, it seems like us, the 18, the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars, we can run okay with those guys, but anywhere that we go that you have to run wide open all the way around, like Kansas or Chicago, we sort of struggle and there’s some other teams that are better than us. Like California we were super fast because you had to get out of the gas and play with it some and then Pocono was that same way, so we were really fast there, so I feel good about that at least going back.”
How do you think the PJ1 will affect Pocono?
“I don’t know if it will. You would like to think that it’s going to present more opportunities to just get out of the guy in front of you’s wake. I think what we’re expecting it to do is if you go off into the corner and you follow somebody, you have to lose ground to them in order to maintain the same line that they’re running. You can’t gain on them following them. You have less downforce. You’re just not going to make that time. If you can offset yourself wider than them, you can at least maintain that gap and you can come off the corner kind of with a little bit of a momentum from the high side that it typically gives you, then you can make a run on the straightaways and you have a chance to be able to race with the guy that you’re following and you don’t just have to be stuck behind him. That’s the theory anyways. We’ll see how that works.”
Does the rubber from the Modified cars affect the Cup Series cars on the track?
“It always does. I guess sometimes if you’re loose, you get looser. If you’re tight, you get tighter. It just kind of depends. It just seems like it’s a little bit greasier of a feel to fire off with and as that burns off or as we pull that rubber off and put our rubber down, I wouldn’t say it necessarily picks up grip, it just becomes more constant and consistent. We’ve got Xfinity cars right now wearing some PJ1 off and then you’re going to have a Modified race and then you’re going to have Xfinity cars again and then we’ll have our qualifying. I expect our qualifying to be slower than what we had in practice and then I’m sure they’ll probably re-apply either tonight or maybe even tomorrow after the Xfinity race.”
How do you approach NHMS?
“I love coming up here. I’ve got a lot of friends from the area. I’ve raced over at Thunder Road before. I’ve race over at Oxford before, so I’ve been around this area a little bit racing the short tracks and stuff. A few of those friends come on over here sometimes and visit a little bit, so that’s good. I enjoy coming to New Hampshire. This has been a pretty successful place for us. We tend to qualify well here, race well here. We’ve won here a couple of times. We’ve been kind of the car to beat, one of the guys to beat here for I think about, I don’t know, the last two, three, four years maybe. Sometimes guys really, really hit on it and the they’re better than us and we’re just always consistently good here, so hopefully we can keep that pattern going at least and be consistently good here again, but maybe we can hit on it better than somebody else and try to win.”
Why do Cup Series drivers come out to local short tracks and why do you think that’s important?
“I think it’s important to be able to have a strong foundation. Our sport it based off the short track ranks. It’s based off grassroots racing and so having people be able to come out and support their local short tracks, that’s where stars are born. They pick up their start, whether it’s in Legends cars or Bandeleros or go-karts or whatever it might be and move into Modifieds and Late Models and stuff from the local short tracks all the way up through to the big time. If we don’t have those short tracks surviving, you’re not going to have younger generations being able to learn and grow and develop their talents into being able to moving up the ladder. It’s important to keep the bases strong. I know Kevin Harvick is very passionate about it, myself, some of these other guys – I know (Kyle) Larson does a lot of the dirt stuff, Denny Hamlin has had his charity race a few times at some of his favorite local short tracks that he’s grown up at. It’s good to have those guys that still kind of give back to that community and know where we all go out start.”
Would you ever get into a Modified car?
“No. The deal behind that was that years ago I asked, I wanted to run one and J.D. Gibbs told me no, so I’ve respected his wishes and haven’t asked to run a Modified race here. I’d like to. I’d do it, but I just respect his wishes. If they ran the Late Models here when we were here for a weekend, I’d probably bring my Late Model up and run the Late Model race because I’m used to those cars. I’ve run those cars a long time. I’ve run at the Milwaukee Mile before so it’d be cool to run here.”
Do you agree that your dad running you and Kurt in so many different types of racing growing up really helped you become complete drivers?
“Absolutely. Yes, if I had to do it over again, I would do a lot of the same stuff and matter of fact, there’s probably a couple of more things that I’d like to get in and drive that I never did get the chance to drive. I do actually kind of have that chance to do it over again, that’s if my son wants to do it, put him in some stuff. Quarter midgets I never ran. I don’t know if we need to do the go-kart thing, but you know get into the Legends cars again, the Bandeleros, stuff like that, Modifieds. By doing all those things – like Legends we ran pavement and dirt and road course. Modifieds we ran pavement and dirt. Late Models we ran pavement. We could’ve run Late Models on dirt, we just never knew of anybody. We couldn’t afford that, so we never knew of anybody that we could get in a Late Model car. They weren’t really that popular out West, but they’re really popular out here. Obviously running Super Lates and stuff like that across the country in different series is pretty neat seeing different guys racing against different top guys that have been at some of these places for years like Mike Rowe up here or the other one is passing my mind right now. Why can’t I think of it? (Dale) Shaw. You know guys like that. You know going and running Junior Hanley, running against guys like that, is something that was cool for me to do when I was 16, 17 years old. You’d give anything to have those days back and do that over again.”