Toyota Racing – Kyle Busch & Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
LAS VEGAS (February 22, 2020) – Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were made available to media at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after qualifying was cancelled:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers White Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you concerned with how you ran in practice?
“It is kind of concerning. We rolled out there first in final practice and I was wide open for 15, 16 straight laps. Kevin Harvick started probably a half straightaway behind me, and he ran me down and he ran the fastest lap average in those laps he was running me down. My laps were only 15th on average and he was first, but then he couldn’t pass me – he couldn’t do anything to pass me. I don’t know what that says for the race and what’s going to happen in the race. We were definitely not as fast as we wanted to be and the car was not driving near what it needed to when we got back in traffic, it was a real handful. We’re going to have our work cut out for us, too. If (Bob) Pockrass gets out in the garage, he’ll find some more news.”
Will you be starting from the back?
“I think I am, buddy. I think we’re one of those guys, too. I’m not sure. Rumors going around, you know how those fly.”
If you have to start from the back, how big of a challenge will the race be?
“Yeah, I think I knocked the wall down about lap 11 last time here starting in the middle of the pack. Maybe I’ll just start half a lap down and be clean air and run the pack down and catch them and blow by them one at a time, I don’t know. I’ll strategize that overnight.”
Why was happy hour practice so intense yesterday?
“Everybody is trying to get a sense of how these cars drive in traffic. It’s smart, actually. The Trucks kind of do the same thing sometimes where they’ll all practice single-file and get their stuff tuned in and where it feels good and then you’ll try to get back out there and try to get into a pack of trucks – two, three or however many you can get into and see how your stuff drives in traffic. That’s what a lot of guys were doing. We did the same thing. We were out front for the start of final practice by ourselves, car drove pretty good, came in and made a couple changes to it and went back out and tried to find a group of traffic every time after that and just found out how bad traffic was for us. It’s a good sense of what do you need to do to work on to make your car good for the race because when you’re by yourself, it’s not even close to the situations you’ll have for most of the race.”
Do you have any impressions of any other competitors?
“There’s a couple guys out there that looked really good. Ones that were most notable to me, which were also guys who were fast on the mile-and-a-half last year were the 24 (William Byron) and the 88 (Alex Bowman). I was around both of them and they were really good. They were able to hold good throttle and have good handling cars where they could work the bottom and not get too messed up with guys on the outside. I could not do that.”
What do you need to do to get the car ready for the race?
“I wasn’t in the meeting last night, but Adam (Stevens, crew chief) was so he has written some notes and taken some of the comments from the other guys. The 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) was pretty happy with his and the 95, Christopher (Bell) had opposite issues of us. It’s kind of like, okay what can you take from him and look at his setup on the sheet and determine what makes his characteristics opposite of mine and try to find what those are and try to pick and choose to make your setup closer to his. Again, you take the 19 stuff and try to get as close as you can to him being with as happy as he was.”
Do you feel you’re not going to be able to continue to throw Brexton up after wins at some point?
“I was fine. Actually, I thought I got him higher every time. Overall, it’s something that he enjoys doing and if he ever comes to me and is like, ‘Dad that’s not cool, let’s not do that anymore.’ Which, I’m sure will happen then that will be over. He’s four right now and he enjoys it and I don’t mind it. I think the only reason I work out is so I can have that part with him in victory lane. Keeps me fit, so it’s good to have fun with him that way.”
Does humidity affect the setup of the car?
“I’m not a meteorologist or anything, but I think it does a little bit. It does certainly with the engine. The way the engines run, obviously air, water, fuel and all that sort of stuff with how that mixture is with the ECU. The ECU kind of tunes that for you because we have sensors in the exhaust that tells what the fume is that’s coming out and whether it needs more fuel or more air, but you can’t change the humidity. Different tracks tend to run different ways. For our cars, the Toyotas, we always typically feel our stuff runs better out west than it does in the hot, humid, muggy situation. As far as cars go, the more humid it is, the more heavy the air and the downforce the cars are going to have and drag they’re going to have. Just some of that stuff plays into it. Where we’re at with the air here, it’s thinner. Remember we’re at 2800- or 3200-feet elevation, so we’re higher than most places we go to.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was it to see Ryan Newman after he was released from the hospital this week?
“It was cool to just go down there and see him (Ryan Newman) and make sure he was okay. Really, Sherry (Pollex) and I just wanted him to know we were there for him if he needed anything. It was cool. It was good to see the good shape he was in. It was a little surprising as well. We’re planning fishing trips already, so it was a fun visit to hang out. I’ve been talking to him throughout the week, obviously. He’s doing real good. I feel like he’ll be back before anybody thinks he could. He’s a tough son of a gun. He’s in good spirits and hanging out with his family, so he’s doing well.”
What was Sherry’s reaction when Ryan Newman walked out of the hospital?
“Just happy, you know. Surprised, happy – I think everyone was shocked just how quick he got out of the hospital. Just relieved to be honest. Anytime any competitor is in a situation like that, it hits close to home because you know it could be you at any time. That’s kind of the sentiment throughout the garage. For us, it was a little more so because he is such a close friend. Just good to see he’s okay, honestly.”
How has the adjustment been with your new crew chief?
“I was really happy with the way things went. I feel like we really picked up where we left off. James (Small, crew chief) is doing a great job. He’s just calm, cool and collected, prepared. I feel like yesterday was one of the best practices we’ve ever had. Just ready to go. The car was close off the trailer and we didn’t have to do a whole lot to it. I feel like he’s doing a great job. He’s working hard in the shop. Our whole team looks up to him, and that’s a big part of this deal. Things are going as usual and hopefully we can continue that throughout the weekend.”
How lucky do you think Ryan Newman was to basically walk away from that accident?
“I say part of it is NASCAR safety and the things in these race cars that we’re able to help them get through it. He’s got no neck and a big hard head, so that helps for sure. I told him this week he’s lucky he’s such a hard-headed son of a gun. All those things, and God was riding with him. What else can you say. It was a scary wreck for sure. Hopefully we don’t have to worry about things like that for sure. We just have to figure out ways to keep the cars on the ground.”
Does this leave you shaken or rattled the next time you visit a superspeedway?
“It’s just part of the job. I think everyone who steps in a race car understands there’s a potential risk of injury. That’s just part of the deal. I feel like a lot of people have gotten numb to it over the years because the cars have gotten so safe, but they are still – you have potential for danger. I think that’s why we sign waivers when we get in these things.”
Do you feel there should be fewer overtime opportunities?
“Yeah, I don’t know. I think the race distance rules are what they are. As drivers, I think there’s a lot of guys that kind of drive beyond the limits. I feel like sometimes we go out on the superspeedways and guys think it’s a video game. And, if you crash you hit reset and that’s really not the case as we saw Monday night. We could literally go all day without crashing if everyone said I’m not going to wreck. If somebody makes a bad move, I’m going to lift. I’m not going to push harder than I think I can. I don’t know. Rules are what they are. We’re going to go race and see what happens. Hopefully, like I said, I feel like in the case of Ryan’s (Newman) crash, it was not something that normally happens. Just the way he got hit was real lucky. It was the worst possible scenario that you could possibly get hit in when you’re upside down. Hopefully we never see that again. I definitely think we can do a better job as drivers not crashing the whole field. It’s really not that difficult to not cause a crash.”
What was the issue with the Toyotas during inspection on Friday and will you start from the back?
“No, we will not be. We’ll be starting second. We had a little issue with the rear tow going through the first time and then passed the second. We should be good to go. I’m not sure what the issues are, no.”
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