Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Kyle Busch at Michigan: 19.8 average finish in 25 starts, one win

Kyle Busch is the 3/1 co-favorite along with Larson, Truex.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

Does taking the same approach you have at the Kansas repave also benefit you at a place like Michigan? 
“Our team has come a long way at Kansas, that’s for sure. To get a win there was a really big deal for our team. I give my guys a lot of credit for working hard to find something I was more comfortable with there. Our whole team has shown how well we’ve worked together, and that he (crew chief Adam Stevens) has been a really quick study, so I think the same direction can work at Michigan this weekend. We are working on improving as an organization not only on the resurfaced tracks, but overall in general and it showed there in June. We ran as well as we have since the repave there. Everyone is working their guts out to get our stuff better there and we made a lot of progress in June there. I’m looking forward to getting out there in practice and seeing what we can learn with our Interstate Batteries Camry.” 

So much of the talk this year has been the strength of Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. Do you feel like you’ll be a contender for the title this year with how strong you’ve been? 
“I don’t know. We normally tend to fly under the radar most times during the playoffs. But, you know, I’m not one who needs to go out and beat our chest to say that we should be in the conversations. That’s for other people to decide. I think our stats and our runs and our speed shows for itself. Those guys have just been able to capitalize on race victories. That’s what we haven’t been able to capitalize on. We haven’t been very flashy when it comes to getting through the playoffs. When our backs are against the wall, I would say we haven’t necessarily had that situation, thankfully, so we haven’t had to go out there and win. I mean, in those playoff instances, like some of these other teams have. The 4 (Kevin Harvick) has been able to do it, the 78 (Truex), a couple other guys. We just methodically go about our races and that’s our mentality. When it works for us, we go to victory lane. That’s how we’ve gotten to Homestead the last couple of years.” 

Most drivers really seem to enjoy racing at Michigan International Speedway. Why is that? “Regardless of new pavement or not, it’s wide-open racing and you can run from top to bottom more and more every race there as the groove widens out. The biggest thing used to be to find grip there. But with the new surface, there is a ton of grip now. Before, you had grip for maybe five laps, and then you’d just be out to lunch. But now, the tire wear is all out the window and the racetrack is very fast. And the wide racetrack is good. That’s what makes Michigan so exciting and so fun. That’s the biggest deal about it. The surface is finally starting to wear in a bit and we have learned a lot there, I would certainly like to get back to victory lane there for Norm (Miller, Interstate Chairman) and everyone at Interstate Batteries.” 

How much more worn is the track surface at Michigan? 
“I expect it to be fast, still. There’s still a lot of grip, but it’s starting to get worn in like Kansas did, but not quite to that level just yet. I would still expect it to be very fast this weekend. But if you’re just a little bit loose there, now you’re nervous that just any little bit of getting outside the groove or having a little bit too much yaw will lead to a wreck. It was really intense last year in our tests and in the races there. You are hauling there now, for sure, and we know that corner speeds are up overall this year at other places.”

Kyle Busch Notes of Interest:
* The Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn will mark Kyle Busch’s 449th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 26th NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan. 

* Busch has career totals of 39 wins, 24 poles, 155 top-five finishes, 231 top-10s and 13,491 laps led in 448 career Cup Series races. His most recent Cup Series win came two races ago at Pocono (Pa.) raceway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 25th of his career, came last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. He now has six poles this season, a career high. 

* Busch has one win, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s and has led a total of 219 laps in 25 career Cup Series starts at Michigan. Busch’s average Michigan finish is 19.9. 

* 13,000: After leading 100 laps at Pocono in June, Busch bested the 13,000 mark in laps led in NASCAR’s top series. With his current 13,491 Cup Series laps led, Busch is just the 11th driver to best the 13,000 mark. 

* 100th: Busch brought home Toyota’s maiden Cup series victory in March of 2008. Fast forward nine years later and Busch’s recent Pocono win was the 100th for the Toyota Camry brand in NASCAR’s top series. Busch has brought home 35 of those 100 victories for the manufacturer. The win was also Toyota’s 400th victory among NASCAR’s top three series. Among those 400 wins, Busch has 155. 

* Starting Up Front: Busch captured his third consecutive pole last weekend at Watkins Glen, which was the sixth of 2017 for the Las Vegas native. Six poles is the most Busch has captured during any season of his career. In fact, prior to 2017, the most poles Busch had captured in a season was three, which he did on two different occasions during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

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