Sunday, Oct 01

CHEVROLET NCS AT WATKINS GLEN: Kyle Busch Media Availability Quotes

What exactly were you guys battling last weekend at Indianapolis (Motor Speedway Road Course), and were you guys able to diagnose it this week?

“Yeah, unfortunately just broke a valve spring. Not sure what or why or anything like that. There was never a mis-shift – there was a couple high-revs, but nothing higher than any of the other guys. We had a whole data set from all the rest of the ECR engines, so unfortunately I just drew the unlucky straw.”


These last five races, really since Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway), obviously haven’t been a good stretch for you. What’s the mindset been this last month and how do you wipe that going into the playoffs?

“Yeah, I mean the mindset is to stop the bleeding. You know we have to figure out a way of being able to bounce back in races, which we were. We had some good luck on our side, some good fortune. Maybe we used it all up, but the fact of the matter is when things kind of go awry, it just seems to snowball from there and we’re not able to stop the bleeding. That’s kind of been our way. We were third in points – 30 (points) from the lead and looking for the regular season championship seven weeks ago, and now I don’t even know where we are. I stopped paying attention because I know it’s not good.


But I just know that we need to have a good race – a good, solid race. And we were looking for that last week and I thought we had that. We got, I think, fifth or sixth in each stage. We were running fourth in the running order and I felt like our lap times were comparable to the leaders – probably better than third place. I’m not sure about being able to catch the No. 34 (Michael McDowell), but that would have been a solid day.. one that we needed and just didn’t get it.”


As a parent, you have to teach children the responsibility on social media. How do you deal with this with Brexton and eventually with your daughter, and do you go back and show them anything you’ve done earlier in your career that is still out there, to show them how everything stays on the internet?

“Well I mean there’s two sides to that and probably more. Yeah, I mean the social media piece, that’s tough. Honestly I hate social media. I wouldn’t be on it if I didn’t have to be on it. That’s just the nature of our business and what we do right now with sponsors and everything else.


As far as teaching our young ones, Brexton is only eight. He doesn’t really know what it all is or see it. He does ask how many followers he has, but obviously his account his ran by his mom. When that rein gets turned over, it’ll probably be a long, long time from now. We’re still trying to decide on when he’s old enough to get a cellphone.. I say 16 (years old). I see a lot of kids much younger than that getting them and I don’t see why.


But anyways.. going back and seeing stupid things that I’ve done - YouTube is a dangerous place, man. There is way too much evidence on that site that I’m not going to be able to control, so he’ll see a lot I’m sure at one day in age. It would be funny if he’s pulling up videos, seeing videos or whatever and then he like sends me the link and says – ‘dad, what the hell were you thinking’ or ‘what was this all about’. And I can be like – ‘alright, so here’s how the whole story goes.. let me tell you’. That would be pretty good.”


Goodyear is going to have a new tire at Bristol (Motor Speedway), Phoenix (Raceway) and Martinsville (Speedway), so that’s potentially two cutoff races and the championship race. What does that mean for you and the thought that there would be a new tire for Phoenix for championship weekend?

“Yeah, I mean I guess it just lends itself to those that did the test, right? Having a little bit of a leg up.. so whoever was at Bristol (Motor Speedway) and did the Bristol test, has a leg up on what that tire is going to look like or be like. Same with Martinsville (Speedway), same with Phoenix (Raceway).


(No Mic.)

“Got it.. so they’re just going to take the Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway) tire that they came up with there and then they confirmed at Richmond (Raceway). But yeah, again, RCR wasn’t there for any of those tests, so we’re going to have to rely on our Hendrick Motorsports partners on figuring out that.


Variables is what our sport is all about, right? So just trying to find some consistency in that, but yeah, we’ll take it for what it’s worth and do what we’ve got to do with it. Nothing we can do to change it.”


Do you like the idea of a potential change for Phoenix (Raceway)?

“Yeah, honestly the racing at Phoenix (Raceway) is a struggle already. So if it’s an opportunity to make the racing better there, great. I don’t know that the tire was really a magic ticket for Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway). It seemed like Loudon was a dominating race by the No. 19 (Martin Truex Jr.), so it all just depends on who hits it anyway.”


Obviously you’ve raced with Hendrick Motorsports and you’ve won championships with Joe Gibbs Racing. How do you see your team going down the stretch, head-to-head with them, and racing with Richard Childress Racing and being able to do that. Is there something you look at and say, ‘we need to do this still’? What’s your confidence level?

“Yeah, I mean my confidence is high. I like the group and the stuff that we do - the philosophies, ideas, what we learn and all that stuff. Like it’s all really good, it’s just a matter of putting it all together and having it just run smooth. And that’s not due to anybody’s fault.. it’s all a lot of circumstances. Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway), we struggled.. we missed on that one. We completely missed the boat on that one. But then we had a full-fledged effort, work in the simulator and everywhere else on what we can do to figure out Richmond (Raceway) - to not have that same thing happen again and we had a solid race at Richmond and we ran third. So there was a playbook there that we were able to get a fix, and that is, to me, encouraging.


To me, the struggles have just kind of been the ‘stop the bleeding’ pieces. Just stuff out of our control that kind of keeps happening, which I guess some of it was in our control. Pocono (Raceway), for instance, we just had really bad pit stops all day. Every time we thought we had an opportunity to jump some guys and get forward a little bit, we had a 15-second pit stop. So just stuff like that.. we can’t keep beating ourselves.”


You had tweeted after Indianapolis (Motor Speedway Road Course) – ‘I just don’t know anymore’. I was curious, is it things where you guys know you need to be doing better and you’re just not executing, or are there things that you’re genuinely not sure that you’re doing right anymore? But it sounds like, as you said, it’s a little bit of both.

“I think that more so came from the frustration of just life in general – luck, karma and whatever all the rest of that stuff is. Like I just don’t know anymore.. I don’t know what to do to change it. There’s all the rabbits’ feet in the world, all the four leaf clovers and everything else – a lot of people say that they don’t believe in luck.. there is luck, trust me. I know.. I’ve been in this a long time. We had four or five weeks where we had really good luck. Like we stuffed it into the tire barriers and we didn’t break a radiator or anything like that at the Chicago Street Race – we came back and we finished fifth. Like that was a lucky day.. we stole one on that one.


It's just stuff that we kind of burned all of that up there and now we’re paying the price for it over here. So it’s like how do you turn it around and get it headed back in the right direction? I’ve had talks like this with (Matt) Kenseth before and Carl (Edwards) before – where you go winless seasons and you just wonder what’s not working and there’s nothing that you can pinpoint yourself to. Martin Truex Jr., him and I talked about it before, where it’s like – man, you just have to wait.. you just have to wait until it turns around and eventually it’ll turn around and it’ll be fine. I guess look at Truex and the struggles of last year and then his turnaround for this season – like they’re not wrong, but I’m a very impatient person and I’m ready for the results to be indicative to how I know they should be.”


We’ve now gone through a bunch of road course races this season without the stage breaks. Physically behind the wheel, has that felt any different? You look at last weekend and we only had the one caution, so I’m just curious from a driver’s perspective, not having those expected breaks this year and now a couple road courses in, has it felt any different for you?

“Sonoma (Raceway) was a little long feeling, but not too terrible. Last weekend, I only really ran half the race (laughs).. my second-half of the race was way off pace, so throw me out on that one. I heard Austin (Dillon) got a little smoked last weekend though, so not sure if his shirt didn’t work or what. But I think it’s fine.. I think it’s OK. You know, it lends itself to the strategy game. It lends itself to not being so hooky on restarts with guys running over each other. I feel like there’s going to be pluses and minuses to it, but that’s the same to be said for oval racing, as well. So I’m OK with it.”


So you feel like you have the ingredients at RCR – with you being at Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing – of you know what it takes to run upfront and contend for a championship? Do you feel like you have all those ingredients at RCR, you just need to execute on all that stuff moving forward over the next 12 weeks or so?

“Yeah, exactly. That’s the way. Coming here to Watkins Glen (International), they had a good race here last year. I think they finished third – the Hendrick Motorsports cars were really good, but if we can piggy-back on that. Last year, they won at Indianapolis (Motor Speedway Road Course). I felt like we were going to be a third or fourth place car there, so we were going to be close.. fine, good, it’s what we need. When you can run top-four, top-three each week, the wins will come. It just seems to be a lot harder to do that in this day in age with this car, the competition and everything else week-to-week-to-week. It’s a little bit more randomized than maybe what it used to be. But when you’re a really good team and you’re hitting on it all like William (Byron) was for 20 weeks, right? They were super strong. The No. 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) was super strong. So it can be done, it’s just a matter of doing it.”


You’re back in a Kaulig Racing car this weekend. What’s it been like driving for Matt Kaulig and being paired with Chris Rice? Do you feel like you’ve contributed to the organization this year?

“Yeah, I’m excited about getting back behind the wheel of the Xfinity car. It’s been a long time. I always enjoy coming to Watkins Glen (International). It’s always been a cool place. Still to today, I still wish I would have won here in Eddie D’Hondt’s car, that No. 92 car. That was a really fun race, just as a one-off, non-fulltime team. We were trying to pass for the win and spun out, but anyways.. probably would have won that if I was older and more experienced (laughs).


But yeah, just having the chance to work with Alex Yontz and the guys on the No. 10 Chevy. They’ve seemed to have done a really good job this year. They’ve won with all of their guys, expect me, so that’s kind of weird.. the winningest driver can’t win. But no, that’s not any fault of theirs. We’ve just been working on some different packages - some different ideas, philosophies and stuff. So I’d like to think that I’ve given them a little bit more to think about and a little bit better ways of going about things. They’ve been successful week-to-week, so that’s been pretty cool to see.”


Obviously there’s never a good time to have a stretch that you guys are having right now. But being that it’s not in the playoffs and you’re leading into it, what have you learned about yourself or as a team, what have you guys learned together as you just try to work through all this adversity?

“Yeah, I mean just the opportunity of being able to sit down and talk through it. There’s really, like I said, there’s not a whole lot we can do to change some of this stuff, you know? Breaking a valve spring.. about the only thing you can do is just move your shift markers down a little bit and we did that for this weekend just to make sure. So other than that, some of the other extenuating circumstances – we missed at Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway).. some other stuff, right?


Just a good group of guys that we’re all fighting hard. We’re all pulling the rope in the same direction. We’re all trying to continue to make sure we evolve forward and get ourselves where we want to be. Seven weeks ago, when we were third in points – if we could have taken third-place points into the playoffs.. those playoff points that you get with that, that would have been phenomenal. I don’t think that’s achievable today with where we’re at, but we’re going to go give it everything we’ve got to try and get back up the ladder a few in order to get some of those points because we know how important all that is when it comes to playoff time and each round gets reset. We’ll push hard and try to get back on track.”




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