TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Kyle Busch — Notes & Quotes New Hampshire Motor Speedway

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Are you happy with the first half of your season? “It’s certainly been a good start to the year.  We feel pretty good about things and where we’ve been and where we’ve come from.  Certainly we’re excited about the events here at New Hampshire and bringing out Interstate Batteries colors back to the race track again in the Cup series.  Try to get Norm (Miller, Interstate Batteries) and the boys a win and we’ll see what we can do.  It’s definitely one of those places where sometimes I’m good and sometimes I’m not, but certainly hoping for better things than others.  It’s great to be the points leader and we’d love to be able to keep that roll, but mostly get a couple more wins maybe before the start of the Chase.  But, if not, maybe save some of those wins for inside the Chase and try to solidify our chances come Homestead for a championship.”

Will your team experiment at all leading up to the Chase considering you have three wins? “Not really.  I think our biggest thing is just about going about it the way that we have already and just bringing things to the race track that we know work well.  I think anytime you get off base it can kind of mess you up.  It’s kind of the old age term where (you) ‘Go back to basics.’  That seems to be where we always find ourselves.  Just concentrating on hitting everything the right way and making sure that you don’t try to do anything too far out of the box.”

What is it like to know that you are one win away from having 100 NASCAR victories? “To me, it’s a lot easier than the media I guess.  I don’t think about it.  For myself, it’s just my own milestone.  It doesn’t have anything to do with anybody else’s milestone that’s been in the sport.  It’s something that I said I wanted to accomplish for Kyle Busch, not something that I wanted to accomplish in order to beat David Pearson or Richard Petty or anybody else out there.  To me, it’s just like when I was a little kid I wanted something to reach for so I put the Sprint Cup Series on a pedestal and went after it and tried to see if I could get there.  Opportunity arose, I made it and now the next step is what else can you do?  You put a championship up there, you put a lot of wins up there.  Just something to kind of keep you going over the years just to kind of make sure you don’t fall flat and get stagnant and just ride around out here.”
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Is there a difference between winning 100 races now compared to the people who reached it earlier in NASCAR history? “Yeah, certainly there is a difference there.  To know exactly what that is I have no idea.  I don’t know because for one I wasn’t even born yet, and those guys may not know because they’re not racing today so they don’t know what it’s like today.  Last time I checked I didn’t have a time machine in my pocket so I can’t go back and run in those days although I’d like to.  I think it would be fun.  Certainly, it’s definitely different.  Why is it different?  I’m not sure that I can answer that.”

Will there be a point where desperation sets in for some drivers trying to get in the Chase due to the new format? “I think you will for some.  I think those guys that are — I think the bubble from 10th to 11th is like four or six points or something like that so it’s pretty close.  You’ll probably see eighth through 13th probably in pretty good desperation, which typically you see it every year, but more so this year because it’s either top-10 or it’s wins.  So, if you’re sitting 12th and you can get a win you get yourself knocked back in.  It’s going to be important for those guys.  I don’t know that you’re going to see any craziness happen, I hope, but who knows.  This is NASCAR racing at its best so we’ll see what happens.”

Have you ever ‘tweeted’ something and regretted it? “Not off the top of my head.  I don’t spend enough time on there to know what I do or do not ‘tweet’ really.  I can’t remember what I did yesterday for lunch regardless of what I’m tweeting.  Sometimes it’s messages to the fans or messages trying to get the sponsors message out or something like that.  Obviously have a strong following, I think we’re at — I saw a sponsorship proposal the other day — 72,000 plus or something followers.  And, I think 8,000 plus on Kyle Busch Motorsports.  We’re doing alright.  I guess that just means we’re popular.  I don’t know.  Not as much as some others of course.  If I had that bilingual thing figured out, man, I’d rack in some followers, I’ll tell you that.  Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo (Montoya), those guys, man, they seem to be able to figure that out.  There are some things I wish I could tweet to put people back in their place, but I’ve got a little bit more respect and tact than that so I’ll leave that to the imagination.”

Can you win a Sprint Cup Series championship? “We’ll see.  I’ve won a Nationwide championship and obviously that’s way different than a Cup championship.  Ultimately that’s the next task.  That’s the next challenge.  We’re up for it, we’re looking forward to it.  I feel like this is the best opportunity we’ve had in the past few years.  Dave (Rogers, crew chief) has done a really nice job building the team and the team has been right there following him every step of the way.  It takes leadership.  It takes guys believing in the program which I feel like we’re at so we’ll see how it goes.  I’d certainly like to think that we’re championship caliber and that if we can get one knocked out of the way then we’re champions for the rest of our lives.  Then we can go after two, three or however many more.”

Do you feel like things have stabilized between Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing? “You bring up a bad past and I’m not worried about that.  To me, I’m worried about the future and what we can do to win a championship.  Whatever it was that did or didn’t initiate it or start it doesn’t matter to me, it’s not the point.  The point is trying to move on and get over things in your life and just try to make sure that you do things the best way that you possibly know how to do it and let the rest take care of itself.  For us, I feel like our opportunity here is to go out and run the best we can each and every week and when we worry about what we’re doing and how our program is running, the rest of it doesn’t matter.”

How many of your 99 NASCAR wins do you remember and do you remember the details from each win? “I’m thinking more about the next one than I am about the last one.  When Kentucky was over I went back to the motorhome and went to sleep.  Nothing exciting, no party, no up all night and no old Dick Trickle stories where it only takes one hour of sleep for every 100 laps that you’re going to race the next day.  I went to bed and made sure I got as much sleep as I could for Slinger, Wisconsin to race the Late Models on Sunday.  Like Vegas, I remember some details about that.   I just remember being really loose all day.  We were making changes and just nothing would really work, but yet then we got track position, got out-front and Bobby Labonte was chasing me down, I think, in the car and couldn’t quite get there.  So I remember that much.  I remember winning a Nationwide Series race at Daytona on the morning of the Cup race and then finishing second to Jamie McMurray by that much.  I remember a lot of details, it’s just a matter if you want me to sit here for four hours and explain all of them to you.  I’ve got the time for one and probably you all don’t want to have the time for two.”

What percent of your wins do you remember? “If I had a little help and went down a list with somebody, I could probably tell you something about every single one of them.  Off the top of my head, I could probably rattle off to you about 40 or 50 of them maybe.”

What did you learn from the 2008 Chase that can help you this year? “I think the biggest thing is that you have to be prepared.  You have to have your guys doing a good job.  You have to do a good job.  Whenever we came here to Loudon, I probably didn’t do the best job in practice getting the car setup like I needed it.  Sunday on the race we didn’t quite get the sway bar bolt tightened up all the way or something happened there and something broke.  Obviously, we lost our sway bar and struggled along here.  Went the following week to Dover and blew an engine.  Then we went the following week to Kansas and felt like we had water in the fuel system.  Things like that just seem to relegate us to finishes that we hadn’t seen all year that we didn’t want to have happen at that moment, but it did.   Certainly we hope we can have better success.”

What did it mean to win the Slinger Nationals and what other Super Late Model races do you want to run? “It was cool.  It was a tough race.  It was so hot and muggy and it had rained earlier in the day and then kind of heated back up and got a bit steamy.  When we were out there in the race, the car was running 240 for a little bit in the first 50 laps and then it got up to like 280 for lap 50 to 100 so we came in at the break and we had to cool it down and went back out.  In the second half, it did the same thing — it got real hot again.  I think the engine’s pretty much cooked.  Some good racing.  One of the guys that was up there — Dave Feiler was really, really fast and had a great car.  Right there with us the whole time.  I could barely get away from him.  Competition was close and that place at Slinger man, you get around there in 11 and a half seconds or something like that.  It’s cool.  To run 200 laps around there is fun and we won it so got that one knocked off.   There’s a few other big races that are across the country that I would like to get to, but it’s just scheduling that doesn’t really allow me to.  One of those being the All American 400 if they ever bring that back – that’s one.  The Oktoberfest – I think it’s up in La Crosse, Wisconsin or something like that — I’m not exactly sure.  I have to go back and look again.  It might even be Cedar Rapids — I don’t remember.  I never won the Open Comp race at the Bullring where I grew up.  Just little things that you kind of want to do.  The Oxford 250 is another one that will be up here in Oxford, Maine on July 23 and 24 weekend.  I’ll be coming back up here.  Actually, I think it’s next weekend.  I’ll be coming back for that one and racing in the race on Saturday night as well as the race on Sunday so looking forward to that.”

What do you know about the Joe Gibbs Racing engine program?   “Our engine program at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) for as much as I know is solid.  We are having the guys from TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Costa Mesa helping us out and do some of the R&D work with the new fuel injection system.  We’re not too in depth with that yet.  I know Mark (Cronquist, JGR engine builder) and the guys have definitely been sorting all their pieces out and looking at options.  The engine department at JGR is strong and good and the past few weeks we’ve had some really good engines on the race track.  I felt like we actually had made improvements.  Unfortunately, we had an issue last week with Denny’s (Hamlin) car, but at least it comes in practice and not throughout the race.”

Who builds your engines for Kyle Busch Motorsports and do you have any plans for a Nationwide Series team? “Our engines for the Kyle Busch Motorsports truck team come from Toyota Racing Technologies, which is the old Triad I guess.  So that’s where our stuff comes from.  Nationwide plans for next year are all about funding.  We’d love to be able to put an opportunity together for another driver in our cars to be able to go out for the Nationwide Series championship and not have to have me run some and somebody else run some.  We’d like to be able to race after an owner’s championship as well as a driver’s championship.  That’s our first and foremost goal.  We haven’t found much success in being able to sell sponsorship for that, but we’ll do what we can and we’ll see where we get.”

What does Jimmie Johnson do to win a championship that you need to do? “I think the thing that they do well is just, man they are able to execute.  They know what they need to do, they concentrate on hitting all their marks — they cross their T’s, they dot their I’s and they dot their lower case j’s.  Just kind of what I said last week.  It’s a fact — it’s a sport of attention to detail.  Those guys seem to be really good at that.  Chad (Knaus, 48 crew chief) on pit road throughout the race, he’ll keep making changes to the car and they tend to keep getting better.  They’ve just got a good way of going about it.  They only have one win and they only have one win at a restrictor plate race this year.  If you asked me, was I worried that they’re not a championship contender?  No, I’m definitely worried.  Those guys, you don’t ever count them out one bit.  Not in any race do you count them out.  Even last week, I’m leading the race or whatever and Jimmie’s (Johnson) running second or third and I was like, they might just all of the sudden come up with something here that they can win the race.  They’re always on the back of your mind, but certainly we’d like to think we’ve been successful at doing all that this year and that’s what the first 26 races are about.  You kind of practice through those things.  You get it done all the right way and then when it comes to the final 10 — you just keep going about it and don’t change your ways and make it happen.”

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