CHEVROLET NCS AT MARTINSVILLE 1: Kyle Busch Media Availability Quotes

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 LUCAS OIL CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying session at Martinsville Speedway.  

Media Availability Quotes: 

YOU’RE 13TH IN POINTS. ARE YOU LOOKING WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS NOW OR JUST LOOKING FOR MORE CONSISTENCY?

“I think anytime you have good runs, you kind of know that the points will take care of themselves. Anytime you aren’t having good runs, you probably know that you are not in good point standing. So, definitely kind of on the back of the mind for sure. But more importantly, just trying to get our program right and up front, and in a position to where we can win a race or two and not worry about points.”

OBVIOUSLY CREW CHIEF CHANGE ON THE NO. 3 THIS WEEK. IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO BE RUNNING WELL OR BETTER, AS FAR AS HELPING ANYTHING WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE?

“Yeah, I mean I think anything for RCR is the strength in having both teams running up front. You know, it seems like there’s a comfort factor there with Austin (Dillon) and Justin (Alexander). Justin, I think, has tried to come off the road a couple times for family and whatnot, but he kind of keeps getting pulled back out of the bullpen and put in play. I respect the hell out of Keith (Rodden), Justin and Randall (Burnett) and all those guys, (Andy) Petree, too. You know, it’s not due to lack of intellect. We certainly have that. There’s a lot going on at the shop and things like that, where it seems like there’s some pretty good minds being put to use on the stuff that we do. It just hasn’t correlated to the racetrack yet.”

KYLE, AS A SPORTS FAN, I’M GUESSING YOU’VE SEEN EVENTS WHERE, MAYBE LATE IN EVENTS, THEY ALWAYS SAY THAT THE OFFICIALS CALL THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY. IN LIGHT OF WHAT MAYBE HAPPENED, WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK AT RICHMOND, WHAT NASCAR SAID – HEY, IF THIS SITUATION HAPPENED EARLIER, MAYBE IT’S DIFFERENT. FROM AN ATHLETE’S POINT OF VIEW, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BE ABLE TO KIND OF BE ABLE TO DICTATE WHAT YOU’RE ABLE TO DO AT THE END, AS LONG AS IT’S NOT WAY OUT OF BOUNDS, AS OPPOSED TO HAVING AN OFFICIAL STEP IN?

“Yeah, I kind of feel like they probably – if it was earlier in the race, they probably would have spent time reviewing it and then calling it; making it a penalty and calling a pass through or whatever that is.

But since it was the end of the race, they are a lot more prone to let things go when it comes down to the end of the race. We look at bump and runs. We look at dump and runs, right? I mean, a guy that flat blatantly takes out another guy and gets the win because they’re not going to strip that for rough driving or something else, you know what I mean?  So, I feel like that’s kind of their mentality a little bit, of just not wanting to be involved in a finish and stripping a win, per se.”

ALSO, I KNOW FOR THE MOST PART THE SHORT TRACKS HAVE BEEN PRETTY CHALLENGING SINCE YOU’VE COME OVER TO RCR. I ALSO UNDERSTAND IF YOU KNEW WHAT THE ISSUE WAS, YOU WOULDN’T BE FACING THESE CHALLENGES. BUT WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU’RE HOPING OR LOOKING FOR THAT ARE KIND OF HIGH ON YOUR RADAR THIS WEEKEND?

“Yeah, I mean to me, I feel like I know how to get around Martinsville. You know, I’ve won here before. I feel like my good stretch of races here certainly came from 2013-14 timeframe to about 2018-19, so we had some good runs. I think we won two or three races here in that time period. So yeah, the short track stuff though has, you know, been very miss. We’ve had like two hits I think, so you know it’d be nice to get more on the on the hit side and to where we have good cars that we’re able to go out there and contend and compete. So I think a lot of it is just the reliance on the simulation and what we’re being told in that, and making decisions based off of that – what makes you faster or better in the sim. And that is not transferring to the race track, so we’ve got to go about it a different way.” 

YOU HAVE BEEN CRITICAL OF THE NEW SHORT TRACK PACKAGE THIS YEAR. HAS IT CHANGED THE RACING AT ALL FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, AND DO YOU EXPECT ANY BIGGER CHANGES HERE AT THE SHORTEST TRACK YET FOR THE PACKAGE?

“I didn’t think we could make it worse, but by golly we did.. for me anyways. Maybe it’s just because we don’t have it quite figured out like others do, but I cannot follow anybody in front of me whatsoever. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the bottom lane, the middle lane, the top lane – if there is a car in front of me, I am terrible.. really bad. I will say the only positive to it is that you can slide the back of the car around a little bit more and not crash. But the front ends are just ungodly not working.”

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE NASCAR DO IN TERMS OF DEVELOPMENT DIRECTION?

“It doesn’t matter because they’re not going to do it, so it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to paint myself in a bad spot to get in trouble.”

OBVIOUSLY, THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THEY’VE MADE THE SPRING RACE 400 LAPS VERSUS THE USUAL 500. TALK ABOUT THE STRATEGY OF RACING 400 LAPS HERE VERSUS 500. AND THEN THE SECOND PART – OBVIOUSLY, NEXT WEEK WE HAVE TEXAS COMING UP. YOUR THOUGHTS, FEELS, ABOUT RACING AT THE TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY NEXT WEEK?

“Yeah, 400 or 500.. it’s still a long time. So, to me it doesn’t seem like it’s that much different, honestly.

Stage lengths are a little different. How you would kind of strategize the race might be a little bit different. But honestly, to me, it’s not that much different.

So going into next week for Texas, you know we were pretty good there last year. We had a decent car. We were coming up through the field; getting into the top-three. We pitted or we stayed out – I think we stayed out on a stop and I ran a couple laps in the spray. I felt like it hurt my tires a little bit and then I was crashed a couple laps later. So definitely learned from that.. don’t do that. But all around, felt like if we can go back there and repeat with a similar car as we had last time, then I feel like we’re a contender and we can put ourselves in position for a win there.”

MARTINSVILLE SPECIFICALLY HAS BEEN TOUGH IN THIS NEXT GEN ERA FOR YOU, BUT I KNOW YOU’VE ALSO TALKED ABOUT JUST TRYING TO FIND THE FEEL THAT WORKS FOR YOU IN THIS NEXT GEN CAR. DO YOU FEEL ANY CLOSER TO THAT FROM THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS AS THIS SEASON CONTINUES AND PROGRESSES?

“Not as much, no. I feel like one of the biggest things that we were able to work on with the old car was

figuring out ways of being able to develop some rear grip in different ways and the sustainability of the rear tires for a long run. I feel like that’s where our strength here really came in, was my ability of being able to keep the rear tires under the car and go the long distance. Myself, Denny, and Truex – the things that we would learn with each other in our meetings really translated to the racetrack. But since we’ve gone to the new car, everything’s more similar. You don’t have your play book and your tool set is way limited on what you can do in order to find that rear grip, and I have not been able to find that rear grip for here. I can probably be fast for 20 or 25 laps maybe, and then we start throwing the anchor out

and the backup light comes on. That’s been my thin, is just finding how to manage the rear tires and keep those under us.”

JOEY LOGANO SAID ON THE NETWORK THIS WEEK THAT WHEN A PIT CREW IS USED TO WINNING, WHEN THEY’RE USED TO BEING A TOP FIVE CAR, IT PUTS THEM UNDER A DIFFERENT LEVEL OF PRESSURE THAN WHEN YOU’RE RIDING 15TH TO 20TH. DO YOU HAVE TO KIND OF CONDITION YOUR PIT CREW TO GET THERE WHERE YOU NEED THEM TO BE TO BE ABLE TO PERFORM ON SUNDAY’S?

“Yeah, I mean I would agree with that. I feel like sometimes too just the nature of a driver’s name might put added pressure on a team because they’re looked at a lot more, and they’ve got eyeballs on them a little bit heavily. The teams that I’ve had in the past have done phenomenal jobs of living up to the pressure. I remember – I don’t know, how many times we go to Homestead, and there’s that late-race caution that comes out for the final pit stop, right? And the guys got to go and perform under pressure, and you’re racing for a championship. So, you know, we’ve all been under that position five years in a row. It’s been a minute, but it happened. Remember that? It happened. Nobody got it. Okay, moving on.. (laughs).

It’s tough. I’d look at the 24 bunch when William got over there, right? I think there’s different guys there now, but they probably were like – okay, you know, there’s a young kid coming in, like, whatever.. nobody’s going to have any eyeballs on us. But Kyle moving over to RCR, there are certainly more eyeballs on that pit crew and the things that they do. So I think that’s my example.”

TEXAS HAS GENERALLY BEEN A REALLY GOOD TRACK FOR YOU PRIOR TO THE NEXT GEN CAR. I’M CURIOUS, YOUR LAST TWO STARTS THERE HAVE NOT BEEN..

“I think I’ve wrecked in every Next Gen start there, haven’t I?”

PRETTY MUCH (LAUGHS).. BUT MY QUESTION TO YOU IS – WITH BEING WITH A NEW TEAM, HOW MUCH DIRECTION DO YOU GET FROM GENERAL MOTORS AS BEING A KEY PARTNER, AND HOW MUCH INTERNALLY GOES INTO THE CAR? DO YOU KIND OF HAVE A ROADMAP THAT COMES AS BEING A KEY PARTNER, OR IS THERE MORE INDIVIDUALISM THAT TAKES PLACE FROM THE TEAM SIDE?

“Well definitely, yes. We’re a key partner team with Team Chevy, so we obviously have that toolbox and the things of the sim and everything that goes along with that to compare and work with the other Chevy teams – Trackhouse and HMS. So we do that. We’ve done that a lot. We’ve done that about everywhere. There has been hot places where we’ve been really good, and we’ve done it on our own. And then there’s been other places where we follow suit with those guys, and we’ve been good or we’ve been bad. But the gist of it is to work together and to work as a team. We have our meetings afterwards, where we all kind of talk about the stuff that we fought over the weekend. What happens after those meetings, I think, is probably the utmost importance – with the engineers and the crew chiefs and stuff reading through our comments; going back to the setups and figuring out why somebody was particularly good or somebody was particularly bad and kind of dissecting that stuff and learning what to do, what not to do.”

WITH THE HISTORY SURROUNDING MARTINSVILLE, WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS THAT’S EVER HAPPENED HERE, AND WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT DRIVING MARTINSVILLE?

“I’ll start with the second question first. I don’t know if I have a favorite part of Martinsville. Winning, I guess. That’s the fun part.. when you’re going forward on those long runs and guys in front of you are struggling a little bit, and you can get to them and kind of nudge them a little and go, move on and win.

But other than that, I would say cool moments here – I mean man, some of that with the Hendrick camp and their wins here, and the history that they have here from the tragedy that took place nearby. And then I would say beyond that, further back in history – some of the Earnhardt moments are always entertaining and pretty spectacular with Darrell and those guys. The way that they would fight for wins here was always kind of intense, and it would shine a light on what NASCAR was really made from.”

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