NASCAR CUP SERIES
TOYOTA OWNERS 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 1, 2023
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 3CHI CAMARO ZL1, met with the media prior to the NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying session at Richmond Raceway. Press Conference Transcript:
AFTER LAST WEEK, THERE WAS MORE TALK ABOUT RESPECT IN THE FIELD. WHY IS IT THAT WAY?
“I think there’s a culmination of a lot of different things, too many to list or that I can dream up and think of. Some of it stems from how these younger guys are trained to race, what they do and how they are told what to do from a young age, how to be aggressive and things like that… go out there and a take-no-prisoners kind of thing. But then I feel like there are a lot of guys that just… I don’t know. It’s crazy. A lot of them are friends off the track, too, and then they’re running over each other on the track and even teammates are running over each other. I guess there’s not enough payback per se, even though you look at the Denny (Hamlin) and (Ross) Chastain thing and they’ve continued to go back and forth a few times. It’s just not good. I think the road courses kind of (lend) to a more aggressive nature. I think it’s a little bit of the car, too, where you can just bash into the back of somebody and you don’t have anything that hurts your racecar, where the old car you’d crush a nose in or break a radiator or something like that if you were too dumb about it. Now you can flat-out punt somebody and nothing happens to your racecar. There are a lot of different variables.”
THERE’S SOME TALK ABOUT CHANGING DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS ON ROAD COURSES TO SINGLE-FILE. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’D LIKE TO SEE?
“We talked a lot about respect last year at Indy. The Indy road course is super-terrible for it because you have that long straightaway where we’re all bunched up two-by-two then you fan out four-wide and you have to come down to two-wide or even single-wide trying to get through Turn One or Turn Two. The same kind of thing happens at COTA and the Chicago road course, who knows what the hell is going to happen there. If somebody gets turned sideways in one corner, it’s going to be a track block. That’s going to be interesting. Single-file for Chicago, I think there’s no question that you can’t go without it. You have to go single-file. It would probably help a little bit just to spread some out. You’re still going to get some guys that dive-bomb and go three-wide if they’re at least relatively close enough because the car allows you to do that. The car allows you to take that chance of throwing it in on somebody and knocking into them and you don’t care.”
YOU MENTIONED THE FIRST CORNER AT THE INDIANAPOLIS ROAD COURSE. IS THERE A SOLUTION FOR THAT OR IS THAT AMONG THE REASONS WHY THE OVAL WOULD BE BETTER?
“The solution obviously could be single-file restarts. A solution also could be that when you leave – I think Turn 13 is the sweeper before the front straightaway – so between turns 12 and 13 if the leader was allowed to leave there and start building speed, you’re still going to have the tail of the field that’s braking getting into Turn 10 and have to come through that S-section before getting onto the frontstrech. So to me, that could be a solution where you’re going to break up the field a little bit and get some separation so you don’t have as much calamity.”
WOULD YOU PREFER TO GO BACK TO THE OVAL?
“Yeah. I don’t know why we ever went to the road course, to be honest with you. I don’t think it really did an up-tick or change a thing at Indy. If we can’t do a good enough job getting enough people to Indy to suffice us staying on the oval, then we need to go somewhere else. I’ll say that about any track.”
YOU’D LIKE TO WIN EVERY RACE, BUT HOW IMPORTANT IS TO THE SPORT AND TO FANS THAT OTHER MANUFACTURERS HAVE FINALLY WON RACES?
“Parity is always good, right? Last year we had 19 winners (from) every manufacturer. I think the guy who won the most races – I think it was four or five – so it’s been awhile since it’s been that few of races by the top winner of the series. Typically you see seven, eight, nine, 10 races of a guy who wins. It just showed good parity. I think a lot of that has more to do with this Next-Gen racecar than it does the manufacturers. They’re all working hard and doing the best with what they’ve got, and we continue to build on what our program is with RCR and Chevrolet. Hopefully we can keep heading in the right direction.”
IS PARITY A GOOD THING IN RACING?
“If you look at F1, I don’t think there’s much parity. You could argue that if you turn on NASCAR races, you kind of don’t really know who’s going to win each week. You know who’s good at particular racetracks and sometimes those guys – myself – will only win one race a year, so they’re not winning every single week. You turn on an F1 race and you wonder if anyone is going to beat Red Bull right now; it was Mercedes so there’s obviously a distinct difference between our two series.”
YOU MENTIONED LAST WEEK THAT YOU HADN’T HAD ISSUES WITH TYLER REDDICK AND YOU RACED HIM CLEAN. WHAT IS IT THAT HE HAS DONE WHERE YOU HAVEN’T HAD THOSE ISSUES?
“For me and Reddick, we’ve always raced around each other, we’ve always been cordial with each other and given each other room. If you kind of lay on a guy a little bit, no big deal. You give the benefit of the doubt, but you haven’t had guys that have flat-out run over you. Reddick was one of those so you kind of remember those. There are a few others on the opposite end of the spectrum that if it had been them in front, you’d throw it off in there and you don’t care if it sticks. You’d rather you stick and they don’t. So that’s just the nature of our sport and what racing has been forever. I talked about it weeks ago with the past generation of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin and all those guys on how they did things and how I remember growing up watching that and seeing that. Yeah, you had your Earnhardts out there and some of the other guys who were a little rough sometimes and you’re going to have that occasionally. But the week-to-week nature of it and the same guy being in the headlines running over somebody every single weekend is a bit tiresome. I remember Ernie Irvin back in the day who obviously did a little bit of that and had to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with the whole garage area of basically admitting his mistakes. You’re never going to see that in this day.”
IS IT ANY DIFFERENT ON HOW YOU MEND FENCES WITH TEAMMATES VERSUS NON-TEAMMATES?
“I think that has to do more with the team owner. When I had an issue with Jeff Gordon a long time ago, Rick (Hendrick) brought us in, sat us down and we talked. Myself and Denny once or twice; once for sure in the All-Star race but then after that there were a couple of speedway racing incidents where we had to agree to disagree on our philosophies on speedway racing. Obviously he’s won a hell of a lot more than I have at those, so he’s better at that. But that was where Joe (Gibbs) had to get involved and kind of talk us through our differences. That’s kind of where it lies in my opinion. When I’ve had drivers at KBM that don’t get along or whatever, I talk to them individually, then I bring them together and I talk to them together to try and go over that stuff. Last week looking at the Suarez incident and just the replay incident I saw – I didn’t go back and watch – Chastain dove it in like anyone would and ran into the back of a guy who ran into the back of Suarez. It wasn’t maliciously intent for the 1 to hit the 99; it just happened that way through chain reaction.”
WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT YOUNG GUYS COMING UP SPENDING A LOT OF TIME IN SIMULATION. DO YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN SIMULATION AND DO YOU FIND IT A BENEFIT?
“I have been in the Chevy sim more in the last two months of me being allowed in it than I had been in three years in the Toyota sim. Trying to get intertwined and engrained in the system and how our setups are, how it feels and how it drives. I did the COTA tire test and then I went in there and had to model the tire and build the tire to what I felt like the tire should feel like. We have a rotation of drivers that go in after races so I did Phoenix a little bit and I did COTA again. There’s a bunch of stuff that happens behind the scenes. What’s been most useful for us probably I would say is Fontana. Fontana was really close. It was probably closest to the sim that we had on a real track with laptimes and everything. Our car feel was right on point. We won that one, so that was really rewarding. Then we go to Vegas and Phoenix and you struggle and you can run seventh to 10th. It has a similar feel but you don’t have the same speed. Like your laptimes are off. If we were running the laptimes that we ran in the sim in real life, we’d be up front and leading all the races. But it’s just about finding that grip. Something’s not correlating between the sim and the shop and the car that gets built and brought to the track. We need to work on that.”
SO THAT’S WHERE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF RACING AS LONG AS YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT WOULD BE MORE BENEFICIAL TO YOU THAN THE SIM IS TO A YOUNG DRIVER?
“I’m the best sim we’ve got. I’m the most expensive one, too! I take pride in that because I feel like I give very detailed (information) and can explain a lot about the feedback of the racecar and what it’s doing, it’s attitude, it’s nature, what happens on a short run and a long run, all of that stuff. That’s really where you get a lot of information – the post-race meetings we have and dissecting me and basically downloading me and getting the information so the crew chiefs can go back. Last year we struggled on sim and not seeing the correlation. So a lot of times we would just go off our last race notes, what the setup was, what I said needed to be better and then just change the car around some of those ideas, not validate it on sim and go to the track and we were OK. That right now is not how we’re doing it. This year, we’re going to sim and trying to make that tool as representative as we can.”
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