Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch was made available to media prior to the Dover Motor Speedway race this Saturday:
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
What expectations do you bring into this weekend at Dover?
“It’s hard to exactly decipher that. You try to think of the right setup and the things you’ve done here in the past with loads and simulation and put it towards what the new car is and how you can apply that. I think everybody does that every week, so I don’t know if that is any different, but trying to fill out those philosophies to what has made us successful here in the past.”
Is this the last race that doesn’t compare to a track you have been at this season?
“No, I don’t think so. I would say this sister place to this, being Nashville, is going to be another place where you haven’t had somewhere that you’ve run before. Then I look to Michigan as well too for some place that you haven’t run before. Even though California is a two-mile, I don’t think they are at all close. I think you’ve still got to play that some of these places are different than ones that we’ve been to.”
Was there any discussion with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota this week after your comments last weekend?
“Yeah, there were some discussions and such.”
Do you think you’re in a better place?
“There is nothing to elaborate on. It’s all good.”
What criteria makes you a Hall of Famer and do you think you have achieved that?
“We’re all drivers and when you get voted in the Hall of Fame, you are a Hall of Famer, right? That’s the way it happens. Am I one? How many years do you have to wait once you retire? Is it three or five? (Two). It’s two. Thank you. I guess I will know in about 12 years.”
Does it benefit John Hunter Nemechek and Chandler Smith to run races at Sam Hunt Racing when they return to your trucks?
“Thanks to Toyota that’s an opportunity that those guys have to be able to get more seat time. Whether or not there is seats available at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), I know that John Hunter (Nemechek) has been running some races at JGR as well too, but it’s just an opportunity to get in the series. With less Cup guys running over there, it kind of opens up the playing field more for guys of that and teams of Sam Hunt’s stature to go out there and compete. I think the team is getting better and that’s allowing the drivers to get that seat time in maybe not the best equipment to show their skill and get a good assessment of how good they are versus just being able to go jump in the best stuff and go contend for a win. I feel like it shines a light on what they have at my place, in my opinion, that it’s better than we think it is, hopefully.”
Do you think you are starting to make some gains?
“Yes, short answer. COTA, we were probably poised for a third or a fourth there and got crossed up with Christopher (Bell) there on the final lap, so that kind of ruined that and then somewhere else, we were running decent and thought we had a decent finish rolling and something happened. I can’t remember what it was. It’s not due to lack of effort. That is for sure. We’re still not the dominate force of being able to go out and lead laps and beat the competition into the ground, like we would like to do. It would be nice to get back to that footprint, but I don’t know that I’ve seen somebody that necessarily is doing that. There are a couple of guys that are running a little bit more consistent, little bit better average running position during a race than us, but we are able to claw our way to get finishes.”