Toyota NSCS Pocono Notes & Quotes: Kyle Busch

The hottest driver in motorsports – Kyle Busch

How much momentum does your team have at Pocono after winning four of the last five races?

"I'd say we're certainly doing the right things and our momentum is certainly high at this point. The guys have just done a phenomenal job both at the shop – everyone there at Joe Gibbs Racing as well as here at the race tracks that we've been to. I can't say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody on this team. They continue to fight and each week it seems like everything just continues to get better and better for us. We'll hopefully have that continue not only through these next six weeks before the Chase starts but then end of the final 10 weeks as well. I look forward to continuing on our Chase march here and then once we get to Chicago being able to capitalize on this hot summer to have a continuation of that into the Chase."

Where do you think you would be if you weren't hurt?

"Well, I don't know where we'd be if I wasn't hurt. I don't know if we'd be – obviously I feel like we'd be in the Chase but I don't know whether or not we'd have four wins like we do or we'd have none. I don't know. The point of all of it is that with the injury and everything that I've gone through and my family and my team has gone through this year I think that we've all just kind of grown a little bit more together and I think all of those things have certainly helped. Through the times of adversity you never really understand why the Lord put you through that plan but honestly it could be for greater things down the road. We obviously, when I was laying in my hospital bed in my living room, Samantha (Busch, wife) and I weren't sure what was going on. We didn't know why. We didn't know what the lesson was. We may not still yet know but certainly we're just going through these steps and these stages each day and continuing to try to evolve."

How uncomfortable are you still in the race car?

"I feel good in the car. I'm fine there truthfully honestly. I feel like there's times when I get out of the car just putting weight back in my feet and sometimes it hurts after race days and stuff like that. I imagine – well this week – Monday didn't feel great but then Tuesday was fine. Yesterday I walked around M&M's all around all day long and I was fine there. With Watkins Glen coming up next week that's going to be another hard one to get through so that's going to be a tough challenge for myself and the left foot but we'll make it and I'm sure we'll be okay just like Sonoma. It will be sore on Monday afterwards and we'll continue to ice it and make it feel better."

How important is it in this time period for team owners to be able to have a value to what you have as opposed to property?

"It's obviously a way bigger deal at the Sprint Cup Series level than it is maybe for the XFINITY or for the Truck Series levels. Just speaking of what ownership may be on the Sprint Cup Series level obviously I think it would be a huge benefit if there was more attached to these car numbers, owners, whatever it might be. The only thing that's valuable is the contracts from sponsorships. When you have investors come in or when you have people that come in that want to buy out another race team essentially all they're buying out are those contracts. That's what they want. In order to try to figure out how they're going to be able to still maintain that race team but yet maybe take a little off the top for themselves. But, to be in a family type organization with Joe Gibbs Racing I'm fortunate to know that Joe Gibbs has made his money elsewhere and has got his family well taken care of in that regard that he allows all that money strictly to the race teams and being able to get performance out of our cars and making sure that we have the best possible equipment out there on the race track every single week. I would say Roger Penske is the same way. Rick Hendrick is obviously the same way. Richard Childress is probably the same way. Those owners obviously have been around for a long, long time and when it is time for whether they want to sell out or get out or whatever it might be, yeah the only thing they've got is equipment which is 10 cents on the dollar and land and buildings and shop equipment and everything else which is 50 cents on the dollar, there's really nothing worth value besides those contracts from sponsors.

How tough is it to be a car owner?

"It's a tough business to be a car owner. You worry about all of those people that work for you. There's certainly been some times at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) where it has been really tough. Unfortunately we did kind of fizzle out the Nationwide plan over there and put it back to Joe Gibbs Racing, but we did absorb those people back within the company. We went to four truck teams I think so then we had an opportunity there where we had to get rid of a couple or transition through that, but some more of them actually went to go work for me at Joe Gibbs Racing on the XFINITY car or at my Cup car. There's plenty of times where people move around all the time, but it's stressful. There's nothing easy about being a car owner. There's no easy thing that you can put your finger on and say, 'Oh yeah, this is going to be simple. We can do that.' If anybody thinks that way you're going to run 20th no doubt about it. It's certainly a lot more challenging to be one of the best and run upfront and run for wins."

How has the role of your spotter changed and how is your relationship with your spotter Tony Hirschman?

"Spotters, they are very important in our business and we rely on them probably a heck of a lot more than we probably should. Sometimes you trust those guys with everything and that's when you have the spotter wrecks, because the driver didn't double check where he was or what was going on and the spotters man, sometimes – look at here at Pocono – they're up on the tower there and heck it's three-quarters of a mile over to the backstretch in turn 2 — and you put your life in those guys hands sometimes. Tony (Hirschman, spotter) he's been a huge asset to our team. He's been a great help. I've gone through a couple spotters years ago and my dad being one of those. The problem with my dad is he would watch my brother and me so sometimes he was spotting for my brother while he was supposed to be spotting for me. And, he's like, 'Car outside outside,' and I'm like, 'What?' So I asked him, I said, 'Is there a car outside Kurt (Busch)?' Oh yeah. He didn't work out too well. But, no, he got me to where I am today so he was a huge asset. Other spotters I've had over the years, (Jeff) Dickerson and I've had Eddie D'Hondt. Sometimes you really click with those guys and other times you just – it's like man, I'm just not getting quite the right information that I want. And, Tony, his first year he did really good. There was certainly things that I talked to him about that I needed help with and wanted differently and he's always listened and he's always done anything that I've ever asked of him. He does a great job. I think the cool thing about Tony sometimes is he's starting to get into the wheelhouse where it's more of he'll calm you down sometimes, he'll pick you up sometimes, he'll tell you you can do it. Just you need that cheerleader aspect sometimes. You can't overdo it, that's for sure. I hate overdoing of the cheerleading. I let them know. Overall, it's something that's worked and he comes to me every year around Chase time and he's like kind of quiet and he's like, 'Hey are we okay? Are we going to do this again next year?' I'm like, 'Dude, if I don't fire you then you're going to be onboard then it's fine. Don't worry about it. You're not going to lose a job.'

Is Tony Hirschman considered part of your 18 team?

"Oh, for sure. Tony (Hirschman, spotter), he's a huge part of the team no doubt. Some weeks when we have two spotters – I have Frank Bolter who used to spot for me too at Billy Ballew's, he'll help us out at Indy last week he was there and then of course next week at Watkins Glen he'll be there too. Sometimes you have those double spotters as well that you still have got to have a relationship with those people too."

If you can describe this track in one word what would it be?

"I think it's self-described, tricky. It's certainly a different type of race track. It's got a lot of speed. It's very fast and yet it's challenging as well. To be able to get the correct balance or the perfect balance in every single corner you're not going to be able to do that. So, the driver has to be able to manipulate himself and his setup to be able to get through these three distinct turns better than all the rest of the drivers. So, I think that's kind of why you see sometimes a driver will hit on it in a particular year and other times you might not see that guy in here for another four or five years and somebody else kind of hits on it. It's all dependent in this business because the sport and the cars they change so much so fast that coming here today we're not even running something that we ran here the last time we were here. You've got to kind of move on and change with the times a little bit. Those guys that have sweeps at these places, it's pretty remarkable that they can just because of the fact that everything changes so much even though it's only a short month, month and a half since we've been here."

How much confidence does it give you to win with three different rules packages?

"With the different aero packages, I actually was pretty excited about it. I kind of like change and I feel like I'm the best at being able to adapt to it the fastest before crew chiefs and engineers get too much of a understanding and a basis of what they've got to work on to make those packages better in order to get their driver better or their cars better to be able to keep up with me. I kind of like the change. The lower downforce at Kentucky was fun. It was definitely a lot harder than what the other mile-and-a-halves had been this year. I hadn't run in a whole lot of them. But, just from the driver's sense of what I got, the off-throttle time was a lot more. Everybody enjoyed it a lot so we hope to continue on down that path. The higher drag package that we had last week again it was definitely different and you were definitely able to gain time on the straightaways for sure — sometimes not as much as if you were in a pack. Like if you were third of five cars you know those two through five they would gain at kind of the same rate. You weren't really just going to pull out and pass that guy in front of you. But, you had to use all of that to your advantage. I felt like I was maybe one of the best in traffic. I felt like that was because we just had a really good car. The thing we didn't like about last week was just the difference that you had from being by yourself in air through the corners to being in traffic in air going through the corners. The closer you got to that car in front of you, you just got looser and looser and looser. Yeah, I think the only thing that made the race worthwhile for us drivers to not wreck through the corners was the adjustable track bar. I heard guys going as much as three inches on that thing just to be able to get through traffic. Crazy the way it all played out, but we had fun with it. I enjoyed it and again I actually wouldn't mind if we had that higher drag package here at Pocono. I think here would definitely be a race that you'd want to see it with these long straightaways. So, that would certainly make for a really interesting race."

Do you feel like you've got a good shot to earn your fourth straight win this weekend?

"I certainly hope so, no doubt. I never won at Pocono Raceway and I hope that's about to change. We've certainly had some good runs over the years sometimes in the spring race and sometimes in the summer race but overall I feel like our team has really come a long ways and I like where we're going and where we're at and so I can just hope that we can continue here this weekend and get ourselves a win and make it four in a row."

What are your simple joys after your injury?

"First of all I think I'd say my son (Brexton Busch). I think being able to have him come along and join us in this world through all of the things that we go through in order to conceive to have him. That was a challenge but yet it's certainly well worth it in the end. He's the joy of our lives right now. He was already up this morning laughing and he was smiling and just playing all morning long. So, he's a really good baby. Just the other day – not last night but the night before – he's two months old and he went from 9 to 7 so I can't ask for anything better than that. He's an awesome dude. Past that of course my wife (Samantha Busch). Just being able to have the both of them to be able to travel the road with me every week we're blessed to have that opportunity to have our motor home and to be here and share all of that together. That's really fun so we're not separated or he's not allowed to go or whatever. It's good to have that we're together."

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