Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, has had a slow start to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season. After finishing fourth in the championship points last season with four wins, sixteen top 5’s, and twenty-two top 10’s, he has only posted one top 10 finish in the first three races of the season.
Despite Busch’s lackluster start to the season, success is certainly a possibility for the five-time winner at Bristol. When asked by members of the media, on Friday, why he is so strong at Bristol, Busch commented, “It’s been a real good place for me in years past—not quite as good the last couple years and we would certainly like to change that around a little bit and get back to our old winning ways here with our Skittles Camry. Put the rainbow in victory lane. We’ll see how things go, obviously Nationwide is here too and always look forward to that stuff. Looking forward to what the race is going to have in store for us here Sunday and if anything has changed from last year, which I doubt, then we’ll all be running up top and trying to figure out the new, old, old, new Bristol.”
When asked if the new aero rules were the cause of the up and down performances for Joe Gibbs Racing at Las Vegas, Busch said, “I don’t think it’s anything to do with the aero rules. I think it’s just to do with the new ride height rules. The box used to be so big and now it’s way bigger. It just allows more opportunity for teams to experiment and to come up with different things that make their cars go fast. I don’t discount the time and effort and everything that my guys put in at the race shop and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing and all the work that they do, but there’s teams out there right now that have worked a little smarter than us and figured it out a little earlier than us, but if now is the time to struggle a little bit it’s certainly earlier in the season is an okay time to do that. You do need to pick business up by at least week 10 or so and get yourself rolling.”
Having led 9,860 laps during his eleven year run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Busch commented on what it would mean to him to reach 10,000 laps led. He said, “It’s pretty neat you know anytime we’re able to set records, break records, math—however you want to say it. It’s always fun. It just means you’re accomplishing things in the sport. There’s a lot of things that I want to accomplish still that I haven’t. Whatever things come along that way that we’re able to accomplish is awesome, it’s fun, it’s great—it means you are a namesake in the sport and that hopefully things continue to go down that path. Whether it stops at 10,000 or not, I doubt it will so hopefully we just keep going.”
When asked if he expects the intensity to pick up as the Chase gets closer, Busch replied, “I think you’re going to see it pick up for sure and I would especially expect it to pick up also if there are guys that are leading races that have wins and guys that are running second that don’t have wins to get themselves in the Chase. I think you’re going to see some things happening so it’s going to be interesting how all that plays out. It’s a part of what this sport is, it’s what the rules grant it now and everybody is playing by the same ones, but some might play a little harder than others.”
Busch’s weekend did not get off to a good start as his No. 18 Skittles Toyota found the wall during Sprint Cup practice, and he went to a back-up car. He was one of five drivers to hit the wall during practice. Tune into the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday to see if Busch’s No. 18 Skittles Toyota will “Taste the Rainbow.”