Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday comments from Kyle Busch at New Hampshire

Kyle Busch has 7/1 odds placed on him by Vegas to win Sunday; 
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Peanut Butter Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Do you feel good about your start to the Chase?
“Certainly, it’s a lot better to start off — you know, wins, top-fives, top-10s than further on back. We know last week was a second-place, but as far as points are concerned and everything else it’s not the time to look at any of that or worry about any of that. So, for ourselves, I don’t know where I am and I don’t want to know where I am. But I think it will all take care of itself when it comes down to crunch time and the better you can perform and do on Sundays, then it’s going to take care of itself a lot easier.”

What are your thoughts on NAPA Auto Parts’ decision to leave Michael Waltrip Racing? “I think it’s a little disappointing I think on behalf of all the drivers, teams, race fans and in general because as far as we’re all concerned right now, it’s a tough economy or a tough sport to try to pick up sponsors and bring them on in and we know how important all of them are and especially for me with M&M’s support. Obviously, I’ve got a huge following there with the family and the representatives from Mars, Incorporated and whatnot. S o, it’s a lot of fun to have those guys on my side and to have the support that I do from them, which makes my job a lot easier. Even through the tough times we’ve had, they still stand behind me and we’ve done a lot of great things on and off the race track together since. But it’s frustrating — there’s a lot of race fans that sometimes voice their opinion about there not being enough competitive cars each and every week and whatnot, but yet they’ll send in their comments to sponsors that they shouldn’t sponsor that team or shouldn’t sponsor that driver because of some of the things that happen on the race track and all of that does is drive sponsors away from our sport. So, it’s not a good thing to be doing those sorts of things.”

Is Joe Gibbs Racing the top organization in the garage today? “I don’t know. That’s a tough question to ask. I think this sport goes in circles all the time. You see a lot of teams that prosper and do really well and then they sort of go back on their down swing and sometimes you see them, they hit bottom or whatnot or if it’s a circle graph or if it’s a line graph you can always see it going up and down like a rollercoaster. I think it happens to every team and whether or not we’re on top, I don’t think that’s an answer that can be written until after Homestead (Miami-Speedway).”

Do you still think Jimmie Johnson can flip a switch and get it going? “Yeah, last week they ran fine and in my eyes they had a really, really fast race car there at the start of the race. They took off and I was running second to them and then they left me. So, they certainly had speed an d then we had the rain delay and we came back at night and it seemed like our car got better at night, which obviously too Jimmie (Johnson), I think , had some pit road issues a couple times and he got back in traffic, but then was able to drive back up through and I think got as high as third again. If that’s not good enough for you, then I don’t know what is. But I thought that was pretty impressive to be able to do that when all of us keep talking about how tough it is to pass out there sometimes.”

Did the restart procedure changes affect the racing and will it be more difficult at New Hampshire? “I think we saw that last week it was the first restart where I had the opportunity to beat Jimmie (Johnson) and I thought it was fine. It really didn’t change the outcome of who the leader was through turn 1 just because Jimmie got a side draft on me and got alongside of me through (turn) 1 and 2. Later in the race, however, I feel like nothing really changed. I beat (Matt) Kenseth to the line there on that last restart and then he just got a push from (Kevin) Harvick to get by me. That could probably happen here at Loudon. You can have guys that are lined up side-by-side and one row push somebody harder than the other row and that row taking advantage getting into turn 1. So it can be certainly important to who’s behind you and what all is going on in your rearview mirror rather than exactly what lane choice you need or want. I think now as soon as the flag drops the guy in the second row can push. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to wait until after the line to push. You can push right away and get that line moving and get an advantage.”

Are you more prepared for the Chase than in the past? “Yeah, a little bit. I think that last year was a big learning year for us. We obviously missed the Chase, so had a pretty devastating August and September. And then when we missed the Chase we came in with the mentality to run the rest of the year hard and to try to prepare ourselves and put ourselves in our own little Chase to see if we could compete and we did that. We competed well. We ran upfront in Chicago last year — I think we finished third or fourth — and then here we ran well and had an engine problem. Throughout the Chase, we had a lot of really good runs. So that all put us in the sense that we can do this. It’s not rocket science. We know how to race, we know how to run upfront and when the pressure is on the line obviously that situation is going to be a little different. But we need to act as though the pressure isn’t on the line or to just be able to do what we’ve done all year long that’s got us to this point in the first 26 races. That’s where we’re at right now. It’s not time to turn up the heat quite yet I don’t feel and that’s just because — it’s like you read a lot into what other drivers have to say as well too and I think Jimmie Johnson is one of the best because he’s done it five times, but he’s a very good predictor when it comes to figuring out where everybody’s at after Talladega and then the final races there after you pretty much eliminate a guy each week and it comes down to two or three in Homestead.”

What does Matt Kenseth bring to Joe Gibbs Racing? “His (Matt Kenseth) has a lot to do with cheese. Just kidding. I tried to be cheesy there but it didn’t quite work. Kenseth — we all do have our own different mentality about how to describe what’s going on with our car and our feel and everything. Kenseth is very knowledgeable. I mean, he’s a great race car driver. We’ve known that. I think that’s why we went to him and talked to him and asked him to come over and join our team. He’s had a good sense this year of being able to — adding to our program and knowing what to add. Whether it’s been the engine stuff or chassis stuff or what he’s felt with his cars in years past and what our cars do differently better or wrong. It’s like when I came over from Hendrick (Motorsports), I had the same thing. I was like, ‘Well, we did it this way. We did it this way. We did it this way.’ So we learned from some of those and some of the others we threw away and the same thing we’re doing with Matt. I think it just adds to the volume of our team just knowing some of the principles that other race teams have and what they do to make themselves better. As far as being able to exactly tell you what all he brings, it’s tough to do because it’s just about communication, talking and working through our meetings. That’s the biggest time where you get the biggest sense of what people bring.”

- Toyota Racing

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