Kyle Busch is preparing to take on fellow "Big 3" competitors, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Playoffs, which begin Sept. 16. Entering, Busch leads the and is right behind Harvick in playoff points.
The No. 18 driver has six wins on the season -- one behind Harvick -- and has a strong chance to even the score at Bristol, a track where he's won two-straight times and seven times overall.
While known for being controversial among fans, Busch also is renowned for colorful M&M's paint schemes on his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Busch will roll out a new one this weekend and we got a chance to talk to him about it as well as other storylines surrounding the sport.
Here's what he had to say:
Q: AS A VEGAS NATIVE, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GAMBLING IN NASCAR?
I think it's good. You know I don't think there's a negative to it. I think you look at a lot of different jurisdictions across the country have kind of gotten into more of the casino-type atmospheres. I don't remember casinos being around Illinois years and years ago, but there's some more around Illinois and you got some on the river for Ohio there just outside of Kentucky and of course, Vegas. Being from Las Vegas, that's the mecca for gambling in the country and it's pretty neat that you have this opportunity for fans to be able to bet on your sport. I think it'll put more eyeballs on the sport. I think it'll bring some interest to the sport. I've always kind of looked at horse racing as you know, you can go out there and bet on horse racing, but why can't we bet on racing, racing. I think it's just a difference of where the world is kind of going and what's kind of happening, so I think it's fine. What that does for casinos in gambling meccas already, maybe that will hurt them a little because there may be some more online stuff that kind of pops up, so we'll have to obviously look at the economics of that, but you know, I think as far as our sport goes, it's a positive.
Q: YOU, KEVIN HARVICK AND MARTIN TRUEX JR. SEEM TO BE ROTATING WINS EVERY OTHER WEEK... THE COMPETITION HAS BEEN VERY FRIENDLY SO FAR. HOW DO YOU EXPECT IT TO SHAPE UP ONCE THE PLAYOFFS START?
I have a lot of respect for both Martin and Kevin but they are my competitors so every week I am trying my best to beat them, alongside everyone else on the track. I want to win every race and that certainly won't change during the playoffs.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE WHOLE BRIAN FRANCE, NASCAR FUTURE SITUATION?
I probably would admit that I have a better relationship with Jim (France) than I did with Brian (France). I've seen Jim around, I've talked to him a few times and he's kind of been more of the IMSA side for NASCAR and now is on our side here with the stock car side. I'm looking forward to building that relationship more and seeing what all that entails. It's very, very early and this is his first opportunity to be here at the track here this week. I believe he's here and we're supposed to meet tonight. I'm looking forward to that. I think there needs to be a good dialogue between the leadership of NASCAR, whoever that is from top through the next 10 and the drivers and the team owners and stuff like that. Hopefully Jim can be that guy to give us that type of confidence in everything going on.
Q: YOU'RE A STRONG SCOUT FOR TALENT. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A YOUNG DRIVER?
I don't want to give away all my secrets. But you have to be able to drive and drive real well. We know how competitive this sport can be to get into, there's a lot of good young drivers out there. I look for someone that has the right mentality and heart, you have to be willing to go out there and give it 100 percent every single week.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE TO A YOUNG KID LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THE SPORT WITH LITTLE-TO-NO CONNECTIONS?
You have got to have that drive. Throughout your career, whether you're getting into the sport or have been it in for a number of years like me, there will always be obstacles. The important thing is how you deal with those obstacles and come back from any disappointment or setback, no matter how big or small.
Q: NASCAR IS A FAMILY SPORT. FROM THE EARNHARDTS TO THE ELLIOTTS, WE CONSTANTLY SEE EXAMPLES OF YOUNG DRIVERS FOLLOWING IN THEIR FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS. DO YOU EXPECT YOUR SON BREXTON TO DO THE SAME?
It certainly is and you've highlighted two great racing families. If Brexton shows an interest in racing I will certainly do what I can to help him succeed in the sport. At the end of the day the decision will be up to him, I just want him to be happy and will support whatever decision he makes when it comes to racing. My dad certainly has an eye for talent and he did something right getting his sons to the top of NASCAR. So when the time comes and if Brexton shows that's what he wants to do, I'm sure he'll see if he has what it takes or help him down that road if he wants to.
Q: IF THERE WAS ONE THING YOU COULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR WEEKLY SCHEDULE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
You know, I wish I had more time in the week. We have so much going on from racing, to the foundation, that I sometimes wish we just had a little more time to do everything. If we had some more off weeks to have more family time and to get things done at KBM or other things we had going, that would be great. But that's just not how it is, so we work with what it is and try to balance the weekly schedule out as much as I can.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF M&M'S? (MINE ARE DARK CHOCOLATE MINT)
Good question. The new M&M'S White Chocolate is a favorite at the moment, and we actually have a brand new M&M'S White Chocolate paint scheme on our No.18 at Bristol this weekend. I have been always a fan of Crispy, which is now called Crunchy. I'm a bit biased since that's also the car I won the championship in back in 2015. I am also a big fan of M&M'S Crunchy Mint that recently won the fan flavor vote and appeared on the No.18 at Watkins Glen which are similar to the Crispy but with the Mint flavor.
Q: WHICH M&M'S SCHEME HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE SO FAR?
Boy, that's a tough question. I tend to have a special place in my heart for any M&M'S paint scheme that I have won in so most recently that would be the M&M'S Caramel car I drove at Pocono. There's no better feeling that celebrating in Victory Lane. For the past few seasons, we've had different paint schemes for different flavor M&M'S, and Caramel is one of my favorites since we've won a lot of races in it. As I said too, Crispy might be my all-time favorite. Anything that I've won has been memorable.
Q: WHAT'S THE KEY TO MAINTAINING A STRONG SPONSOR RELATIONSHIP?
I have a great relationship with my sponsor M&M'S and have always been a huge fan of the candy, so that certainly helps. We have a lot of respect for one another and talk frequently, I think respect and communication are certainly a huge factor to the strong relationship we have. They know me as a person no matter what happens on the race track. They are a family company and so is Joe Gibbs Racing, so there's just a lot of respect there for them and how much they have all done for my career and how many victories we've been able to celebrate together.