Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
CONCORD, N.C. (September 26, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to media at Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:
KYLE BUSCH, No.18 M&M’s Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Would you consider letting NASCAR make a decision to potentially penalize you if you cut the chicane short, or would you just run the course to keep them from making a call?
“I don’t know. You hate putting NASCAR in that position to make a call because more times than not, it’s probably not going to go your way – my way (laughter).”
Do you think NASCAR would be a stickler for ensuring everyone runs the entire course?
“Yeah, they are. We are on the cool down lap and instead of getting yelled at and whatever, I went ahead and did the chicane on the backstretch and it’s pretty simple to just roll through there straight and not have to slow down for it because it’s pretty slow over there. Your motors are shut off and you don’t have power steering and all that stuff, but you’ve got to fire up and go through there normal.”
How different is the race track where the chicane is now?
“Last year, you just kind of slowed down a little bit – downshifted one gear and then tried to go through there with about six inches to spare. This year, it’s really, really tight still, but you know you downshift to second. Some guys are going to first, so it’s really, really slow, slower than the front stretch in fact. It’s vastly different for sure.”
What’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s reputation among drivers and your thoughts on him?
“(Ricky) Stenhouse (Jr.) is a race car driver and he’s been one for a long, long time. He comes from the open wheel ranks with sprint cars and has won two Xfinity Series championships and you know was proven there, made his way to Cup and just unfortunately it never clicked. Not sure what all happened. Obviously the Roush era of late hasn’t been great, but you know there’s also guys right now that are in that stuff that are doing okay and finishing races.”
How do you look at this weekend as far as being a crapshoot?
“It’s just a different challenge. It’s alright. There’s a whole lot of differences here than a typical road course. Last year, there were times on the spot that I could make up time and a lot of other spots that I would lose time and now those spots that I could gain time are gone, so you know I’m kind of at a loss right now with the whole lap. I’ve got to get better and figure it out.”
Where do you stand on pit stops versus no pit stops?
“Pit stops have been around for a long, long time, so when you get to this level, I think live pit stops and having the whole team aspect I think is important. You know local short track aspect, I get it. Those guys, they obviously don’t have the money and the resources and everything else to be able to hire pit crews or whatever for some of those races, which I’ve only ever hired a pit crew for the (Snowball) Derby. Otherwise, we’ve always just had our guys, our late model guys would do it. Like the Winchester 400 or there’s another race – the Rattler, a couple of other races over the years, but Truck, Xfinity, Cup, I think you should try to stay pit stops as much as you can.”
Following the announcement of the Ilmor engine situation in the Truck Series, should ThorSport drivers be reinstated into the Playoffs?
“There’s no great solution to it. It’s unfortunate we’re in the box that we’re in. I guess it’s just the luck of the draw. How the M&M’s crumble.”
What are your expectations at Dover next week?
“Not very optimistic. Let’s just go with that.”
When you’re sometimes not optimistic, you sometimes go back and win races.
“Yeah, my teammate was really, really good there in the spring obviously. He passed everybody and won the race. I sat there in 10th to 14th all day and just complained about it. I guess I need to get better at passing.”
How do you deal with having teammates who are some of your strongest competitors and working well together?
“It’s a work relationship essentially. It’s kind of just what it is with going to work and doing our things with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota and some of the different things that we do together as teammates. Other than that, yeah, I mean we kind of live separate lives I guess. You know our weekends are pretty much in the same spot. It’s no different than my brother, really. I do the same thing with him. Just the way it is.”
Denny Hamlin said he thinks that when he’s running well, you race him harder than normal.
“That’s just because he’s up there with me and we’re racing, right? When he’s not racing up front, then he’s not racing with me.”
How different was your setup last week compared to Martin Truex Jr.?
“I don’t know how to differentiate between the differences that there were, but if I had to guess, I’d say five percent different. Not a whole lot. Nothing really. I would say all our JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars were probably a total of eight percent from one another.”
Do you ever wonder if Martin Truex Jr. and his team are still optimizing their cars like they did when they weren’t with Joe Gibbs Racing?
“I still wonder (laughter). Cole (Pearn, crew chief) is really good and Martin is really good. They’ve got it going on right there. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and myself, not saying we’re slouches, but certainly we know that that’s where we’ve got to get better, somewhere.”
Even though you have access technically to what Martin Truex Jr.’s team is doing, you still wonder if they’re doing something that you don’t know about?
“Sure. Or they make better race adjustments or whatever, things like that than we do. Like I said, our cars were about five percent different last week and with those changes would my car have been a little bit better, maybe. I also ran the start of the last stint harder than he did and burned my tires up a little, so would that have been a difference, possibly so.”
Have you been more impressed by Martin Truex Jr. as a driver now that he’s a teammate?
“Yeah, he obviously made it to this level for a reason. He’s a smart guy, smart driver and he’s done a good job over the years obviously of managing his equipment. You’ve never seen him going off and doing too many crazy things or crashes or anything like that. He just always kind of had what he had and that’s where he ran. He kind of does the same thing with that right now. He’s better at managing some of his off days and turning them into okay days.”
What’s the difference between Charlotte Motor Speedway’s oval and the road course?
“It’s another race track. Obviously being able to come out here and run the oval in the early summertime is pretty fun. I enjoy that. Then the ROVAL now is what it is. Thankfully we have an opportunity to already kind of be through (the first round) and we don’t have to worry about the chaos if something happens.”
Is the backstretch chicane now going to be a passing zone like the bus stop at Watkins Glen?
“I don’t think so. The bus stop at Watkins Glen, if you both really, really slow down you can go through there two-wide. I don’t think you can go through this one two-wide. If you’re a guy who’s going to dive bomb and make a move on the inside of somebody to out-brake them getting into that corner, they have to let you go because you’re going to be going so much faster. You’re almost going to be overstepping your braking zone over that guy to get in there, so you’re going to need as much room as you can have. You can’t turn that sharp corner and be two-wide. I hope guys will understand that if they’re getting outbroke, they have to give it up and kind of fall into line.”
You mentioned wanting to run Chili Bowl, is that something you’d actually consider doing?
“Yeah, I’d love to do it. I think it’d be fun. I’m just not allowed.”
What are your thoughts on so much turnover in the Cup Series and not having enough seats available for all of the drivers?
“I mean we’re all at a four-car cap and there’s no room for expansion and there’s only so many good teams. If you look at it in that regard, you’ve got SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) and (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) and Hendrick (Motorsports) and (Team) Penske – (Chip) Ganassi (Racing) is right there too-ish. However many cars that is, that’s about how many good seats there are. The rest of it’s just cars that make laps.”
Do you think Christopher Bell will have the same success in the Cup Series that he had in the Xfinity Series?
“That’s the age-old question, man. You could ask that question of anybody that’s coming. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, anybody that’s had success at Xfinity, are they going to have it at Cup? Vice versa for Jimmie Johnson, right? He won one Xfinity race and then dominated Cup. You would think so. It’s hard to say. Obviously Christopher (Bell) has done a great job at being able to contend and win Truck Series races, Truck Series championships, doing the same thing in Xfinity. He’s won, contended for a ton of races over there and we’ll see if he can win the championship this year or not. I’d like to think he’s one of the top-two guys to be able to go out there and do it at Homestead. That’s going to bode well for his success when he gets to Cup. Especially bringing Jason Ratcliffe (crew chief) with him.”
What do you think about the Ilmore engine situation and ThorSport asking to be reinstated in the Playoffs?
“I said it earlier, it is what it is – as the M&M’s crumble. It is what it is. William Byron should have had a shot for a championship at Homestead, but whoever’s fault it was, we blew an engine at Phoenix and he was eliminated, so it is what it is.”
Do you have any interest in Josef Newgarden’s IndyCar exhibition today?
“Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I’m somewhat friends with (Josef) Newgarden, I guess. We have the same lawyer/agent-type guy, he thinks. So yeah, I got in touch with him just congratulated him on his championship and stuff like that. It was pretty cool to see that and for him to be able to come out here and be willing to do this – I don’t even know what kind of setup they would have in that thing. I don’t know how fast he’s going to go. I don’t know how his loads are going to be through (Turns) 3 and 4, whether he’ll drag the bottom or not, but it’ll be cool.”
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