CHEVROLET NCS AT LAS VEGAS 1: Kyle Busch Media Availability Quotes

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 BETMGM CAMARO ZL1, met with the media following the NASCAR Cup Series’ practice and qualifying session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Media Availability Quotes:

I know this is always a special weekend for you. What are your emotions like going into this weekend?

“Yeah, it’s nice to be able to get back to the hometown; have an opportunity to come out here and race again. It’s been awhile since we’ve gone to victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, being 2009. We’ve had some really strong runs here as of late. I think three, third-place finishes in the last four or five races; or four, third-place finishes.. something like that.

It’s nice to get here. Certainly wish the weather was better. Seven days ago, it was beautiful here, and then NASCAR came to town (laughs).”

Yesterday, your teammate in the Truck Series, Rajah Caruth, got his first career win in NASCAR. What were the conversations like after the race?

“Yeah, I just sent him a note late last night when we got done and was congratulating him; telling him he did a great job and how well of a race that he ran. His race craft was really good. We ran side-by-side a lot. We had an issue last year at a race that I had to sit him down and talk to him about, and it seemed like he really listened. He did a great job, and he’s well deserving of the victory. They were fast. It’s cool to see a Spire truck win all three truck races this year.”

You mentioned the weather – how much impact did the wind have yesterday, and how much do you expect it to have tomorrow?

“Yeah, I mean the wind isn’t terrible for us on the race track. It’s more uncomfortable or wears on you a little bit when you’re in the grandstands probably as a race fan. You know where the wind is blowing, so you kind of have to drive a little bit differently as you would on how you attack the corners, whether you’re in a head wind or a tail wind. And then also, just being around traffic – when you want to make your moves and what straightaway you feel like you’re best prone to be able to make that pass on somebody with head wind or tail wind.”

It’s a small sample size, but to be leading the points after two races has to be more advantageous than feeling like you have to fight your way out of a hole, is it not?

“Definitely. I’ve always been a strong proponent of getting a good start to the season; having a strong start, whether it’s winning races or just coming out with top-10 finishes to kind of build your foundation to your season. I feel like the first two weeks – if I would have restarted one lane different on the last restart for Daytona, we would have finished fourth. So we could be talking about a fourth and a third, which would be really good. And we’ve actually been collecting a few stage points here so far this year, which has been good. A little bit of a struggle today.. little behind on the eight ball and not where we want to be with our Camaro. Hopefully we can fine-tune it in for tomorrow. There’s really not much we can do with impound and going into the race, but we’ll go to work.”

You talked a little bit about Rajah Caruth. Several of the Cup drivers have said that he’s come to them for advice and has been willing to listen. I’m curious, with Brexton coming through the ranks, how important is that for a driver to take that feedback and make something into it? Is Brexton spending any time iRacing.. is he ready for that yet? We see Rajah and William Byron – is this just going to be another tool in the toolbox to get young drivers up to speed?

“Yeah, definitely. It certainly is. With the release on iRacing coming this week of our home track Millbridge and the micro program being on there as well, he’s going to get a lot of seat time on iRacing to be able to prepare himself. The season there starts up in a couple of weeks.

Just talking with these young guys – we’ve been through it with Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and the Bubba Wallace at KBM, and now Rajah is just another one of those. Being in the driver’s meeting with him this past week and trying to talk through some of the things he learned last week or he had questions on – I first saw him on pit road over there yesterday after qualifying and he’s right up on me like, ‘hey man, what do you think? What do we have to do.. what’s this, what’s that.’

He’s good. He doesn’t ask dumb questions. He’s like, ‘this might be a dumb question’, and I’m like ‘actually, it’s not’. So you kind of get an understanding, and being in that boat for me for 12 years, I kind of know where some of these kids are coming from with their inexperience.”

Looking at your upbringing, coming up through the ranks of racing – how would an iRacing simulator have helped you along the way? Are you kind of sad that you didn’t get to do some of the stuff that these young guys are doing? Do you think it will help them in the long run and getting more into the sport?

“Well Jerry (Jordan), I’m not that old (laughs). They had this thing called NASCAR 2000 on Papyrus, if you remember. I burned laps on that thing like it was nothing. The ‘R’ button was my favorite button.. restart, restart, restart. I think I was so good at restarts throughout my entirety because I would restart, restart, restart (laughs).

But no, if I didn’t qualify good on a race or something, I’d always try to figure out how fast I could get to the lead and pass cars. I wish I could turn the competition down here in real life, you know, and get back towards the front again, but these guys are tough.

I did some of that stuff. I remember being a kid.. I think I was 13 or 14 years old and just starting racing legends cars. I ran a full season on the Cup calendar with the Cup cars. Like every Sunday while the Cup races were happening on TV, I’d either be watching or I’d be running my own, you know what I mean. It was always pretty fun that I got a chance to do that after our Friday and Saturday nights of racing right over here at the Bullring.”

What were your thoughts on Atlanta? From a mental standpoint, were you exhausted after the race? How do you feel about going back there for the playoff opener in September?

“I think I was too mad to be exhausted. Being that close to winning a Cup race is certainly one for the books, but also a bit frustrating. Obviously just not being able to execute everything I needed to do and I thought about doing, I just didn’t think of it in the moment. I knew ahead of time, but just wasn’t able to get it through when I needed to.

But looking back on it.. seeing it as a finish, the attention that it got and some of the media stuff that I did during the week – it was really cool to get some notoriety and get some for our sponsors, as well as our sport. To be that close in a third-place finish.. again, it stings to be third. I’d much rather be the guy on top, being able to take home a trophy.

It was an intense race all throughout. I don’t think you really saw much lollygagging like we did at Daytona.. you know, a lot of part-throttle, saving fuel and all that sort of stuff. We didn’t get a chance to see some of that at Atlanta, really. There were some crashes.. single-car stuff and a couple-car stuff. Obviously the first lap.. if that didn’t happen, I think you would have had everything that a race would need.”

Do you think it will be more intense in the playoff race?

“It’s the playoff opener, right?”


“No.. you would think that these guys would make it less intense because it’s the playoff opener and you don’t want to knock yourself out or take a chance of ruining a points day. It becomes really important to get points. I think early in the season, like that race right there with Daytona and Atlanta to kick-off the season – everybody is going for broke. They all know they have a chance to win. You’re going to see anybody and everybody try to score a win, right? And so, when you get down to that Atlanta race in the playoffs… yeah, guys that are outside of the playoffs still want to win to make their year, but I would think it would be a bit calmer.”