CHEVROLET NCS AT DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY – Kyle Busch Media Availability Quotes

Q. Of everything you haven’t done, is there anything else on the bucket list besides this race?

KYLE BUSCH: Winning a damn Bandolero race down the road, yeah. We finished second three days in a row, man. He led every lap today and finished second again. He’s close. 

Anyways, yeah, the Daytona 500. It’s certainly the highest honor out there to be able to win a race in our sport. I have not done that yet, although I won the Daytona 500 last year under the yellow flag, not under the checkered flag. 

Those damn technicalities keep coming up and getting me. 

Q. Five drivers led the Daytona 500 (indiscernible) have not won it. Where does that rank on the pain scale?

KYLE BUSCH: High. High. I don’t have the trophy or the ring. It just means that I could have, should have, would have if it was prior to 2005, right? That sucks. It is what it is. I guess 2005, I knew the rules coming in anyways. That’s when I first started in the Daytona 500 was 2005, so… It happens.

Q. You talk about the results here at the 500. Have you looked into the results, meaning luck for some miscalculation on your part?

KYLE BUSCH: Not necessarily. I haven’t looked at that. I’ve kind of looked at like, Okay, I finished second, third, fourth, fifth. I think there might be five finishing positions that I haven’t finished in in this race, but I’ve gotten all the rest of them. Weird stat. Maybe somebody will look that up. 

All in all, coming out of turn four in 2007, maybe I had a little bit of sentimental feeling for Mark, trying to push Mark to the win. I didn’t pull out on the backstretch to take the lead around the outside, then I spun out of four. That was the melee of Bowyer upside down and on fire in that race. 

2016, I should have pulled out of line down the backstretch when Denny got the lead. He won. I finished third on that one. 

There’s a lot that have stung that you still think about, Dammit, man, should have, could have, would have. 

Q. Do you compartmentalize those instances going through a race? I should do this this year… 

KYLE BUSCH: You would think, but I’m not that good of a studier. I procrastinate too much. I watch the races, I just don’t study them.

Q. It seemed like on superspeedways last year, the finishes were a lot better. Something to that?

KYLE BUSCH: I would agree. I don’t know why, no. Speaking of study, I feel like you can study and get all those things in your mind of what to do in certain situations, but damn, man, you’re going to get surprised of a new situation and not be ready for it, then try to run through the categories of, Where does this one fall? What should I do? By the time you think that long, it’s over. You know what I mean? 

You need to be a quick thinker on your feet and just go with reaction and what you feel in the moment. 

Q. Last year you won early and often. How important is it to get that out of the way early, then concentrate on what’s next?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, winning early, man, that’s huge for your season. It kind of sets the tone, gives you a chance to know you’re in the Playoffs. You just have to make sure you keep everything else in order. 

If you’re getting into the July, August months, and you don’t have a win yet, it gets stressful. That’s not going to be a place where you want to get to. 

Q. You had two top 10s at Atlanta last year. You really took to that track quickly, the reconfiguration. Different car. What is it about it or are you just easy acclimation?

KYLE BUSCH: I don’t know. I’m not a fan of it. I don’t really like it, but it is what it is. I don’t know. 

We got lucky last year in the fifth-place finish because we stayed out on fuel mileage and then the rain came and gave up that opportunity. 

Track position is hard to get there. Hard to pass. Two lanes, two-wide… I felt really good about my car. I felt like I could go to the bottom and rip the bottom better than anybody, but then there was no room to get back in line on the top to get the straightaway speed you need. I kept getting sucked backwards every time I would try to pull out of line and try to make a move. 

The confidence I had in my car was net hurting me. Just hard to be patient in those situations and sit and ride. 

Q. I noticed the logo on your sleeve. A sports betting logo 10, 15 years ago would be unheard of. What do you see as the role of sports betting in sports?

KYLE BUSCH: It’s huge. I think there’s a huge market for it. I grew up in Vegas obviously. A lot of betting happens there. A lot of gambling happens there. It feels like I’m the natural fit for that. Thanks to Bet MGM for being associated with a Vegas cat. 

All in all, again, it’s a huge market. A lot more states are coming up with releasing the regulations and allowing sports betting to happen in their states. I feel like that’s only a good thing for the industry, just having that chance.

Q. What’s your responsibility as an athlete in all that?

KYLE BUSCH: Well, I mean, obviously I feel like for us, keeping the integrity of the sport obviously. You’re not going to do anything that hurts the things that you’re supposed to do behind the wheel. You can’t change the outcome of events, right? That’s a big piece of it. That’s what our part is. 

Also just making sure you deliver the message of safe betting as well, too. Not getting somebody too much into it, addicted to it, right? 

Q. Should we bet on you to win this week?

KYLE BUSCH: I would. Well, from what I’ve heard of a lot of other people around our industry this past week, there’s a lot of people that have good feelings on us this week. Maybe that’s a good omen. 

Q. What do you remember of your first win at Las Vegas? Being in front of the home crowd, what did that mean to you?

KYLE BUSCH: In ’09, the Cup win? 

Q. Yes. 

KYLE BUSCH: It was huge. It was big. That was a cool deal. That to me felt like my Daytona 500. I’ve had some big wins. I’ve won Indy. I’ve won the Southern 500. I’ve won the Coke 600, All-Star Race, all that stuff. But the Vegas win, it was just like such a relief, such a monumental win for me because I remember I grew up right down the street watching that place be built. 

It was pretty cool. I can only imagine what winning here at Daytona on Sunday night will feel like.

Q. Is there less pressure when you go back to Vegas?

KYLE BUSCH: Because I’ve won there, yes, there’s less pressure. But I’ve never backed it up. You still want to win there every time you go, being the hometown. I think I have four or five third-place finishes there in the last six or seven races, whatever the hell it is. We’re right there, we just don’t get it. 

Q. Of all the various places that you have finished here at Daytona, is it more frustrating to be high and just miss or to be in position and get collected, you’re down the list?

KYLE BUSCH: I think last year probably hurt the worst. We led mile marker 500, then got crashed out and finished 19th. There’s other years I got beat towards the end, finished second or third. 

Yeah, you’re pissed, but you also know that’s a good start to the year. Getting out of Daytona with some good points, a good go of it, I guess lends it to be a little easier on the feelings than coming out of here with 19th. 

Q. All the championships, the wins, the majors, do you still feel that something would be missing until the Daytona 500 box is checked off?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it’s missing, right? There’s no checkmark there. Does it do anything to solidify your career, validate the things that you’ve done or accomplished here? I don’t think so. 

I mean, I look at Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart as some greats that have blue jackets that made it to the Hall of Fame that haven’t won this race. 

It would certainly be nice to not have to worry about that going in and have this trophy at home.

Q. You’re about at the point where Earnhardt was when he won his first.

KYLE BUSCH: Trust me, I’m well aware. Thank you very much. I hope we can talk about some of the same storylines on Sunday. That would be nice. 

Q. How do you compare the level of parity in this series compared to when you first got up here?

KYLE BUSCH: Way more now than it was. Way more. I mean, back in 2005, early 2000, 2005 when I was here, I mean, you had to be in good stuff. That was one of the most frustrating things that I had, too, was I knew I was in good stuff at Hendrick, and Jeff Gordon is winning around me, Jimmie Johnson is winning around me. They’re raking up championships, top threes in points. I’m spinning out, crashing, winning only one or two races a year. It got frustrating really quick. 

Over the years at Gibbs, found my own, found my way. Now again just with the car and everything, it just feels like it’s so tough. Parity is so tight. You can go to races back in the mid 2000s and probably race against five, six, maybe eight guys. Now you go to races and you’re racing against 12 or 15 of team win. 

Here at restrictor plate races, I think it’s 30. You can literally look down the list and be, Yeah, there’s no reason why any of these guys wouldn’t win. 

Q. Do you think Chevy will have an advantage, considering the new body styles on both the Ford and the Toyota, they’re going to have to work in and get used to it?

KYLE BUSCH: No. I would think anytime you come out with a new body, you fine-tune on it and you make it better than what it was. Ours being the oldest, we haven’t had time or any opportunity to work on it to make it better than what it was. 

Those guys I’m sure are going to be fast. With all the testing and the things that NASCAR does in the wind tunnel and whatnot, they say parity is tight, it’s close. Everybody is in the same corner of the box. You don’t know till you see it on the racetrack.

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE BUSCH: So getting called to the NASCAR hauler is like getting called to the principal’s office. You have your own reasons of why or what. You really want to tell them why or what. You are better off just keeping your mouth shut and taking the beating and walking on and seeing the light come up the next day. 

I’ve had some meetings in there where I knew I was in the right, I knew I had a point, and my point was the solid, valid point. Boy, did that bite me in the ass. 

Q. It’s less haunting now than it was 15 or 20 years ago, right?

KYLE BUSCH: I don’t know. Maybe a little bit. Trying to think. Who was one of my worst meetings? 

Q. Helton. 

KYLE BUSCH: I think Helton is still probably going to be in those meetings, yeah. O’Donnell in there. Who was the director years ago, like ’05? 

Q. Darby. 

KYLE BUSCH: Those three: Darby, Helton and O’Donnell. Those were the three worst. 

Now you have Moran that’s going to be in there. Maybe Helton. Fortunately I don’t know because I haven’t been in there in a while. 

It’s not a comfortable situation. 

Q. There’s been occasions where you take it to them. You’re going to them. What is that situation like?

KYLE BUSCH: Way better. I mean, way easier, yeah. 

Q. Other people are saying they walk in and they’re all excited and fired up, walk through the door, it’s a bad idea. 

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I’ve definitely had other times where I’ve wanted to walk in there and say my piece on other things, too. Me inviting myself, not being invited. 

My guys get around me and they’re like, Yeah, I don’t think you should do that. You should let that go and don’t worry about it. 

I mean, it just kind of depends on the situation. But I haven’t been in there in a while. I’m going to knock on wood on that. 

Q. Jimmie Johnson talked about them making him wait. Him and Tony Stewart. This was in ’04. Did they ever make you wait?

KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah. They take their sweet-ass time coming down, yeah. No question. I think the last time I was in there for a big issue was me and Harvick in ’11 at Darlington. I think that was the last time, so… They just take their time. They come down here and you’re all staring at each other. Nobody’s in a good mood.

Q. What is it like sitting across from a guy that you just had an incident with, you’re all fired up, hit each other, you have to sit there and twiddle your thumbs?

KYLE BUSCH: That’s what you do, yeah. You just sit there and don’t say much, yeah. 

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE BUSCH: He doesn’t know anything about that, no. He’s not on YouTube yet. 

Q. Kyle Busch back in the day, what words come out of your mouth when Brexton is getting fired upped and hot to go after somebody?

KYLE BUSCH: Just calm down, take a breath, think about it for a second. Trust me, there’s been a couple times. Last year we were at a racetrack, he got wrecked by the same kid three times, three days in a row. 

I don’t care, you have permission to go kick his ass because if you don’t do it, I’m going to do it. The kid is nine years old. I know I can’t do it.

Q. Did he?

KYLE BUSCH: No, no. We went over there and talked to him. All right, enough is enough. One more time and the gloves are off. Actually the gloves are off now. We’re just forewarning you, if you get close, it’s going to happen.

Q. Do they know him because his last name is Busch?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah. He already has a little bit of a bullseye. But that happens. It will only make him tougher.

Q. Last year you were on a new team, new manufacturer, Next Gen car. Preparing for this year, has there been more things you’ve been able to do? Do you feel more prepared, more things you’ve been able to work on this off-season?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, working with Randall going into year number two with him and all the guys, that’s obviously better. I feel like we’ve had a really good start to the year last year, then we cooled off a lot towards the end, which was not good.

We sat down and we talked about a lot of those things like, Okay, what made us strong, what made us good, what are the setup tendencies that we ran well at each track, what are some of them that we didn’t. We tried to go through all that stuff and pinpoint exactly. That’s always kind of hard to do. 

We also relied a lot on the Team Chevy notes we have from the Hendrick bunch and Trackhouse bunch to fine-tune our stuff a little bit more to have a better idea of what direction to go this year.