Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 16, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to media at Bristol Motor Speedway:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What is it about Bristol that works so well for you and your brother, Kurt?
“I’m not sure exactly what all equates to being good at Bristol here. It’s kind of interesting or unique that us two have done a really good job of doing well here over the years. A lot of people talk about how you have to attack this track and be aggressive and that sort of stuff and obviously that’s kind of our driving style a little bit, but that’s a lot of other driver’s driving styles as well too. Some just seem to adapt to it, maybe, a little bit better than others, but overall it’s a fun place to race. It’s always a challenge here. It seems like every time we show up, we don’t know what track we’re showing up to, but we all try to figure it out as we go along.”
Did you know the top groove had been ground and how will that affect the race on Saturday?
“No, they didn’t tell us anything, so we didn’t know until we got here on Thursday. I don’t know. There’s no telling. Typically, here in the fall race, the top has come in by now, but there was nobody that was doing any of that that, working it in last night in the Truck Series race and getting up that high. When I ran here two years ago, there was no top groove either in the truck race and then I had a pit road penalty, had to go to the back and I warmed the top up and got the top rolling and then the top became the preferred groove before the end of the truck race. Nobody did that last night, so that’s kind of why it’s still not there yet. I feel like right now, and, or just the difference of what they did to it, what the treatment was that they did to it, it’s pretty white, so it looks like it was kind of re-ground or whatever, re-polished, that it’s just different. Guys are a little bit more timid going up there because whenever you go up there, there’s dust coming out from underneath the back of the car, so it’s definitely dirty up there.”
How surprised were you that there had been work on the track?
“Doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Were teams talking about the work done on the track and what do you say about it with other drivers?
“We talk about it a little bit over the group text. Like ‘hey, did anybody know about this?’ ‘No, nobody knew about it.’ So then we start digging around trying to ask questions and nobody really wants to give you a straight answer. SMI tends to do whatever they want to do, however they want to do it, however they see fit and that’s what they do.”
What did you think of Chandler Smith’s race last night for Kyle Busch Motorsports?
“I was watching the race and thought he did a good job. He put himself in a good position there at the end and was making moves on the outside on restarts and on the inside on restarts. He got crowded a few times and held his truck, held his composure and did a good job of being able to maintain his track position there. On the last restart, he got a good restart and then the outside truck gave him room through (Turns) 1 and 2, kind of pinched him a little bit in 3 and 4, which is to be expected. He did a good job and I told him after the race that he did a good job of being able to hold his truck. He could’ve drove it off in there and used up the guy on the outside and moved him out of the way and probably gone on and actually won the race, but I felt like he was pretty respectful. I hope that the competitors out there kind of noticed that. They all want to talk about these younger kids needing respect and everything else. It seemed like he gave some, so he should earn some for what he did last night. I was impressed by that even though he didn’t win. I thought that he certainly earned himself a few favors.”
Is it fair to say that your truck program hasn’t lived up to expectations this year and what changes do you foresee for next year?
“No, it hasn’t lived up to our expectations. As far as changes go, it’s too soon to tell. Realistically, I don’t really foresee a whole lot of changes happening with my people. I know some of the drivers are probably going off and doing different things and have different opportunities elsewhere, so we’ll bolt in some new seats and see what happens next.”
What were your thoughts and reactions with what happened yesterday with Dale Jr.?
“It’s scary any time you hear about those things or see those things. Certainly when I heard about it – my pilot actually called me and was like hey, have you heard this or seen this yet and I was like no, and he explained to me what all happened. As soon as he said (Dale Earnhardt) Jr.’s plane went down, my heart just dropped. My first thing was like well, are there any survivors because you don’t know any of the details originally and then a lot more of the details start coming out and you start hearing things, but it’s a scary situation. With as much as we do travel and things like that – I know Jr. has had his pilots for a long, long time. I don’t know any of the details past what you guys all know because I haven’t spoken to anybody. It’s just everybody has procedures and protocols and things like that. I feel like Cessna and Textron Aviation – those guys do an amazing job. They actually help me manage my aircraft. I have the exact same plane Dale Jr. has, a Citation Latitude, and it’s been a fantastic aircraft to get me from Point A to Point B and it’s always been there for us and it’s done a phenomenal job, so I’m not sure the details as to what happened if it was whose error or whose accident it was, I don’t know. My wife right now is in the air flying her way here on the plane and hopefully everything goes well and everything is normal on that end. There’s a lot of airplane flights that happen throughout the days, throughout the years and everything else and there’s a few that have issues and for as many flights that are successful, it’s certainly a tragedy when there’s flights that aren’t a success. I’m glad that everybody was okay.”
How do you feel about Darlington’s Throwback race weekends?
“Every time we go to Darlington they have kind of a different era that you’re supposed to fit within for criteria I guess on how they’re going to theme it. We didn’t participate the first couple of years, but lately, we’ve been a participant of that and it’s been pretty cool, so I’ve been pretty excited. First year we did was Interstate Batteries with Dale Jarrett. Last year, we had Ernie Irvan’s Skittles car. This year, we haven’t quite announced ours yet. I think it’s supposed to come out next week. They’re always late on announcing it. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know why. I’ve told them to get it out earlier, so I don’t have these sorts of questions, ‘well what are you doing’. I know what I’m doing, but I can’t say anything yet. I look forward to that weekend though. It’s always fun just to kind of see the guys that really go all out with it. (Kyle) Larson with the Mello Yello car or Aric Almirola with the STP car and guys like that, that can actually grow the right facial hair and the right hair or wear the wigs or whatever, that sort of stuff. It’s pretty cool to have that and the crew guys and them all getting into sync with the uniforms from back in the day.”
What was your impression of David Ragan announcing his retirement from full-time racing?
“I’ve known David (Ragan) for a while now. I’ve actually known his dad probably a little bit longer than I’ve known David, just from his dad working with 600 Racing and the Legends car stuff. We’re the same age essentially, so it’s pretty cool that we’ve been here this long and we’ve raced against each other this many times, but overall, when you’re in his situation, it’s a heck of a lot different than being in a situation like myself or Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick or Denny Hamlin or whoever. When you hear about guys stepping away, you can say yeah, okay, I understand that, I get it. Sometimes you just kind of have enough, if you will, and there’s a lot of guys that are out there – the (Ross) Chastains or the Landon Cassills or the Corey LaJoies that are working hard at trying to make it and are going to have to do it a hell of a lot longer, but David just finally, I guess, just kind of had enough. I’m sure he’s going to give it his all for the rest of the year and hang it up, which is good for him. If that’s what he wants to do and that’s what his family wants to do, then do it. You know what I mean?”
How do you feel about your Xfinity Series car tonight and will you be the first one to try the top?
“I don’t like my Xfinity car very well. It’s fast. It’s got good speed. I just don’t like the feel of it, so we’ll see what happens tonight. Erik (Jones) seems pretty good and the 20 (Christopher Bell) seems pretty good. The 12 (Joey Logano), the 00 (Cole Custer), so your normal contenders seem pretty good, so we’ll see what happens. Overall, tonight will I be the first to the top? I don’t know. There’s no telling. We’ll see what I feel in the moment.”
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