At the Las Vegas test for the new aerodynamic package, Kyle Busch stated that the new rules took driver skill out of play. Wednesday, at Daytona 500 Media Day, Busch talked more about the new package as well as what he wants to accomplish before the end of his career.
Here are some of the notable quotes from Busch’s session:
“Tapered spaces are still restrictor plates. I certainly wish that we didn’t have to deal with those things, but I do understand where back in the 70s and the 80s they were at 500, 600 horsepower – 700 maybe. Now we’re pushing 900, 950 and so I understand kind of that we go too fast, but how fast it too fast? I don’t know. It’s all about throttle response and crispness of the engine and what we’ve already known and what we’ve become accustomed to and now we’re kind of taking a step back and going back in time a little bit. I say all that because you’ve got tapered spacers on trucks and Xfinity cars and Cup cars. They’re all kind of that way. We’re reducing horsepower across the board to slow some of these things down, but the mechanical grip and the aero grip of these things are so great that some of these tracks that we go to, you’re wide open. You’re able to just cruise around there by yourself and then when you get into traffic, you’ve got the draft which is going to play a role and there’s some interesting variables that are going to come out with this new package.”
Will the dominance of the Big Three – you being one of them – transfer over to this season?
“I’d like to think that the good drivers and the good teams and the good cars will still be able to excel eventually. We’ll be able to figure it out and kind of get to the point where you can be the best because you are the best. As it sat in Vegas, I think with our test in Vegas it was just a matter of who got out front and who was able to get single file and pull the train fast enough once that kind of settled out that’s kind of what you had, so it could have been anybody. I think Bubba (Darrell Wallace Jr.) led one of the races. Austin (Dillon) led one of the races. It’s interesting second or third on back, but first to second is still that bubble that we can’t break.”
How do you guys get the message out for things you want to see on the track?
“We’re just race car drivers. We don’t know anything. We just drive what we’re given to drive and what the rules and the rules are. Our team’s got to go to work and build around that what they know how to make speed in our cars in order to go out there and beat the rest of the competition. That’s how I look at it. It’s not that it’s fallen on deaf ears. The problem is still creating something that’s viable for the fans to see excitement. When you have a guy that’s leading the race that’s out front by six seconds, it’s not excited. I get and I understand where we’re going and what we’re doing. It’s just frustrating as a driver to know that’s what we’re doing and how we anticipate all the races kind of playing out at the 1.5-mile and above race tracks.”
How do you feel about the new leadership in NASCAR?
“I think with (Steve) Phelps and Jim (France) – I think Jim has done a tremendous job of at least being around. He’s always carrying a pen, he’s always carrying note book. He’s always taking notes. He’s always listening to people, talking to people. He’s in the garage area. He’s down in the trenches. He’s figuring it all out and trying to make some moves for the betterment of the sport and that’s what we all want. We want somebody that’s involved, that’s into this as much as we’re all into this and care about all of this. I think that we’ve seen some positive out of all that. Now whether or not Jim is a proponent of this car or not, I don’t know. I think that it’s for all of us to take with an understanding that we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to put on a show and do a good job of creating excitement that’s on the race track as well as the race tracks being able to create excitement around the race tracks and have a good time for the people that come to the events – to not just sit out in 95-degree weather with the sun beating down on them and watch a race. There’ smore to life than that these days.”
You’ve won at every track now, what is next on your bucket list?
“There’s plenty on there for sure, but the biggest one, the top item is the Daytona 500. I would certainly like to knock that off a lot sooner than later, but hopefully – eventually, whether it’s the last year I do it, I can get one but that’ll be seen later on.”
Is 200 wins on your bucket list?
“Yeah, I mean 200 is another item that is on that bucket list and that checklist of what we’re looking to do. I hope that that comes this year. I think there’s a great opportunity for that. I’ve got five truck races slated, seven Xfinity races slated and of course a full Cup schedule, so a lot going on in all of that and looking forward to being able to produce results and wins and again compete for a championship?”
Do you think you’ll ever compare to Richard Petty with his 200 Cup wins?
“No. Absolutely not because his number is obviously Cup wins and mine’s not. I feel as though I’m chasing Jeff Gordon or maybe even David Pearson. Maybe – I don’t know if I can get there. I like to think I can get there. I’m at – what is it 51 or something? I’m at 51 right now, so if I can get another 50 in the next 10 years, that would certainly be nice to go out with 100 Cup wins. Nobody will ever touch 200.”
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.