NASCAR Media Conference
January 31, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Jimmie, thank you for coming in and good luck with the rest of the test and we'll see you in about five weeks. We'll now bring up Kyle Busch, driver of the Kellogg Chevrolet. First off, your first day here for the test so far just talk about how your car is and how the test has gone so far.
KYLE BUSCH: It's gone well, not quite gone to expectations but we'll get there hopefully before the day is out and maybe even we'll have to work in tomorrow. But being as though it's a two-day test, we have plenty of time to work on things. There's a lot of guys that were here yesterday that have a little bit of a head start for us, so that may be why we're further down on the speed charts. All in all the guys have been gelling really well. We have one, maybe two new guys on the team, but all in all it's all the same guys from last year and everybody is working well together. We had a great Daytona test. We had a great test just before Christmas, we went to Kentucky Speedway and had a really good shakedown there of one of the cars we brought here, and everything is going so far so well, but we're trying to find a little more speed out of it as we can.
THE MODERATOR: This race last year you finished second, your breakout race, how important was this race to have the momentum that you kind of built throughout the season?
KYLE BUSCH: Coming to Vegas, hometown, of course it's always special, you always want to do well. And go out there, if you can, win; and if not, do the best you can. Obviously you also want to do it every other place but especially here in Vegas. It was a good time for us, me finishing second, Kurt was third and teammate, Jimmie, he ended up winning the race. It was definitely a good weekend for us. We didn't start off too well. We didn't think we were going to fair too well but Alan and all of the guys kept digging on the car and made it a lot better and so we were able to finish second. This year we came back here with something completely different than what we raced here last year. So we are trying to find something if we can of anything and see if we can make it work.
Q. How much more comfortable do you feel here in your second go around, as opposed to your rookie season?
KYLE BUSCH: There's a little bit more of a comfort level that's been built up so far, but this is actually my third trip here, I ran here in 84 Car Quest car a couple years ago and that was not a very good adventure for us, but last year was. Coming back this year, I've definitely got a lot more experience under my belt; and being able to run the full season last year in the NEXTEL Cup Series and do very well, end up 20th in points and all that kind of stuff. But to be able to come back out here to Vegas with the experience I have now, it makes it easier to do just a little bit better and of course being able to have a better feel for the race car. I know exactly what maybe I can work ourselves towards to make the car better.
Q. You finished second, your brother finished third last year, any little bragging rights going on and any little rivalry coming up here for March?
KYLE BUSCH: Not really. We always try to go out there and beat each other anyways, but especially here in our hometown, it's a lot more fun. Coming out of here last year, I think Kurt had the quote that, him helping me was all over. But it still goes on today. We both talk to each other. We get a lot of help from each other. And him moving over to the new stable at Penske, he's had a great experience so far and he's loving it over there. He's looking for forward to this year I think than he has ever, really, and just being able to communicate with his guys. For myself being able to go out there this year and being my second year, I think it's Kurt's fifth season, something like that, so he's got a little bit more over me. Hopefully we can outdo him every time we come to Vegas.
THE MODERATOR: His sixth year, can you believe he's been around that long. '01 was his rookie year.
KYLE BUSCH: You're right, that's too many.
Q. What did you guys learn from start to finish, what was the greatest improvement that your team made last year?
KYLE BUSCH: The biggest thing that we worked on last year was our rear package, things that we were doing in the back of the car. We had a lot of success there through -- we really started working on it about mid-April to the end of April. And then Charlotte we really showed all Hendrick cars were running up front with it and during the rest of the season, we were kind of running it until Dover and then NASCAR made the rule change. As far as myself being able to learn the different tracks and things like that, of course that's a big thing that you have to do is be able to learn what techniques are going to be needed at different facilities. But also, the patience throughout the longer races and things like that, being able to understand that if you have a 20th place car, you just need to finish 20th, run 20th with it. Besides, I mean, there was a couple races last year where we probably had about a 15th place car and I'm trying to run 10th or 11th with it and just out of control, and we end up scraping the wall or something like that and just hurting our chances to at least have a good finish. And there were other times where, you know, Michigan we were leading the race and we're so hyped up on leading the race that we have paper on the grill and whatnot and we burnt the motor up. So those are some things that we need to work on for this year and just be being able to make it to the finish, that's the big prize, not necessarily just finishing up front. Now that I've won my first race, it's a lot easier to go out there and run Top-5 than having to force yourself to win races.
Q. Your thoughts on Vegas, during your time here, are you going to visit Durango or any of your buddies or ex-girlfriends or anything like that? (Laughter)?
KYLE BUSCH: I sure hope not on the ex-girlfriends. (Laughter). Actually the friends that I do have, they just come out here and I'm able to see them out here at the racetrack, so that's pretty cool. As far as going back to Durango I'm not sure, that's more up to the PR schedule and things like that if there's some kind of deal that I have to do out there. As far as going over there just on my own leisure, not necessarily; I've got so many other things that I want to do or that I need to do or that I have to do. So being able to go out there is not necessarily what I want to do. School wasn't a priority of mine. It was something that I had to do, but it wasn't necessarily what I wanted to do back then.
Q. What was your grade average?
KYLE BUSCH: My grade average, I think I graduated with like a 3.8 or 3.7. It wasn't bad but it wasn't the best. All in all just being able to -- maybe seeing some of the teachers or something like that. But when we come back out for the race, I'll be able to do that. When my mom is here I'll be able to see the old teachers and stuff like that because she's still real good friends with all of them.
Q. Did winning at Fontana really take a monkey off your back and take a lot of pressure off you?
KYLE BUSCH: Exactly, being able to win my first race, especially on the West Coast, I was able to win both of my races last year. Being able to get out to California and get the win, it means so much, because not only you make it to the Cup level, but the next thing is to win a race. And once you win a race, the next thing is to win more, and of course, the Championship. So being able to go out there last year and win that race in California, it took -- not only did it take the monkey off your back, but just took all amounts of pressure off. Because now you try so hard throughout the year to run up front and to win that race, you put too much emphasis on being able to do that. Now that you've been able to do that, you can kind of lay back a little bit and just run your own race and do those kind of things, somewhat similar to Phoenix. I didn't think I had a shot in the world to win that race after we got two laps down. We had some good pit strategy go on and we were just able to come back up through there and race with Greg Biffle at the end, and of course win. It's a lot easier now this year to just go out and run our own races, instead of having to push ourselves so hard to win races.
Q. You mentioned that school is not what you want to do. When did you find out that racing is what you want to do with the rest of your life?
KYLE BUSCH: It was probably -- I was probably in 7th or 8th grade and just racing Legends cars and things like that. I was having a good time doing that kind of stuff. School was just, I had friends at school and stuff like that, but I never saw them outside of school. I was more so worried about racing and doing the things that I wanted to do and really concentrating and put most of my energy towards that was definitely a priority of mine. You know, every kid has got to go to school and do what they need to do there and graduate. I was fortunate enough to learn what I needed to do to graduate a full year early, and I did take some honors classes, so I was able to graduate with some honors as well, too. It had to be back in 7th or 8th grade where I decided I wanted to pursue racing for the rest of my life.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We have Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards making their way into the media center. First off, Greg, we'll start with you, just talk about how the test has begun so far today and what you guys are looking for while you're here.
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