By Pete PistoneHe's won twice in the Sprint Cup Series and continues to show that perhaps this is the year he finally can contend for a Sprint Cup Series championship. Kyle Busch dropped by Sirius NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" in the wake of last Saturday night's win at Richmond International Raceway:
The high lane didn’t seem to work for some people Saturday night but it worked for you. Why was that?
Well it didn’t work for a little bit at the beginning of the race it was just really lose up there for some reason. I tried it a couple times actually, I got three wide with Denny (Hamlin) and got up there in the marbles. I think part of it was just the race track wasn’t wide enough and the other part some guys ‘ racecars just didn’t like being up there. Mine was a little bit loose, when the track kind of cooled off and got a little bit closer to nighttime it seemed to tighten up for us so I could run up there a little bit, it was hard to make time. You know at the end of the race we had fresher tires than some of those other guys so it kind of magnified the problems...the speed differences I guess you should say over what we had over those guys.
I’d like to know how difficult it is with everything you just described going on in addition to you have to save fuel. How do you do that?
It’s challenging but sometimes you’ve heard (former crew chief and current television analyst) Larry McReynolds when he talked to Davey Allison he tells him to save fuel save fuel and he starts to go faster. It kind of works that way it’s weird, you slow down to go faster. You know you’re trying so hard and pushing everything you’ve got and try to not burn up your brakes and all that stuff and you get to the last lap of the race you got to save fuel because it’s gonna be a long run or it could be a long run and you start backing off a little bit, you save your tires a little bit, you save your fuel a little bit you kind of save your equipment a little bit and lo and behold you’ve stretched it out.
It’s been well documented that early on in the season your team has had some problems. Overall in your opinion how are things now with the Joe Gibbs Racing team?
I think overall they’re turned around well. We did start out the season with a few issues but sometimes that’s to be expected. You’d rather not see them but better to go through those things now than at the end of the year. We’ve got time to bounce back from that, Denny has times to bounce back from his problems and Joey (Logano) does too. We’ve got to get those guys back in the frame of mind and get them back running like they did this past weekend every single week. It was good to see the 11 bunch run strong, the 20 was doing well and then had problems with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and still came back for a solid finish so that was good to see. So you know with the engine problems and some other problems we’ve had at Joe Gibbs Racing we’ve worked as hard as we can with our partners at Toyota and everybody at Costa Mesa and TRD to make sure we can put all that stuff behind us and move along and attempt to have the best product moving forward.
The attempt is to put those things behind but has that happened or is this in slow recovery mode?
We’d like to think we’ve put things behind us but anything can pop up. We did run the race at Texas, we ran the race at Talladega and things were good. We didn’t have any engine issues there, we typically don’t have them at the short tracks anyway so I feel confident in our guys…and all the Toyota people and we can work feverishly to not see any more of those issues this year and hopefully keep the engines running strong and hopefully find a little more horsepower. That’s where we are, we’re trying to keep up with the guys at ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing), we know they have the best engines and horsepower so we’re doing our best to keep up with those guys and are working hard to do that. When you make more power you produce more heat and that’s when things fail and that’s what we’ve been dealing with.
We saw a lot of high emotion on Saturday night with a number of drivers getting together and perhaps the “Boys Have at It” 2011 edition. What do you make of that style of racing that was so prominent in 2010 and now has made a return this year?
I’ve been there and I’m glad it’s not me. That’s all I care about; I’d rather not have any part of that. I’m glad I can keep my nose clean, that’s been the best part of this year so far. We’ve been a pretty good job at trying to be able to do that and we’ve had some success in these races so that’s good. But you know man; it’s frustrating to see that sometimes when it happens behind you. I think Jimmie just made a small mistake there; it was no harm no foul. You know it did cause Joey to spin but then the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya ) and the 39 (Ryan Newman ) you know to be honest with you, the 42 hit the apron coming off of turn two and needed the whole race track to slide. He was counting on being able to slide out to the wall and then the 39 was on his outside so you know so that’s a spotter error. If Juan needed to be mad at anybody it may have been his spotter not necessarily at Newman. Whenever anyone gets into that 42 man it’s just like what Denny said he was 100 percent on, he’s coming back at you. You push him down the front stretch in order to gain a spot he’ll do the same thing back to you.
You’ve won two times now this season and you’re comfortable at the front of the Sprint Cup Series standings. What’s your confidence level about winning a championship for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Cup Series?
It’s pretty good. You know I feel like we’re right there. We’ve had opportunities the past couple of years to get it done we haven’t just been able to get it done late in the going at the end of the year. We’ve made the Chase; we just haven’t been able to put together a strong last ten races for whatever reason. I like what’s going on this year, working with (crew chief) Dave Rogers who does a great job and the guys putting together great race cars first back at the shop and then brining them to the race track and unload off the truck really well, that’s god to give me a comfort feeling going into the weekend. Those kinds of things just kind of set well so so far we’ve had that and we’d like to keep it going.
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