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Race 2 Win's Q&A with Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
January 23, 2004 - Kyle Busch, who will be contending for the 2004 Busch series Rookie of the Year title, took his turn in the Race 2 Win Question and Answer sessions. Busch took time out of his schedule to answer the questions that were submitted by the readers of Race 2 Win.

Busch will be competing in his first full season in the Busch series this season, driving the championship-winning No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Busch drove in seven Busch races in 2003, posting a second-place effort at Lowe's Motor Speedway in his series debut. Busch posted a pair of runner-up finishes, three top-10 showings and five top-10 starts in his seven Busch starts.

Busch will also debut in the Nextel Cup series in 2004, attempting to qualify the No. 84 Carquest Auto Parts Chevrolet for six races in the sportís top series. Busch will make his Nextel Cup debut at his hometown track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.


First of all, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to answer our questions here at Race 2 Win. I have a couple of questions. Do you think you can take your brother Kurt in a fair fight? Just kidding. I personally believe that we'll be seeing a lot of great things from you, and I'm not alone in that way of thinking. Do you feel any extra pressure on you to do well? And how do you go about handling the high pressures of racing in the top divisions of motorsports? Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions. And Davina says Hi! I asked her to get one of your old Legend cars for me. I'm still waiting. LOL
Bob "Raceboy" Eaton

Thanks for the question, and for your belief in me. I donít really feel any pressure to do well, except for the pressure I put on myself. The No. 5 team won the championship last year, so some of the crew guys have been joking with me, saying they expect to win it again this year. Realistically, though, Iím a rookie driver, so Iím going to make some mistakes. Iím not going to go out on a limb and say we can win the championship this year. I just want to perform to the best of my ability, and weíll see where we are at the end of the season.

Iíd love for it to come down to the last race of the year like it did in 2003, with six teams still in the running for the championship, and Iíd love for our team to be one of those six. I think a more realistic goal is to run for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, and to maybe win a couple of races, maybe a pole or two, and hopefully a top-five or top-10 finish in the points.

As far as how I handle the pressure, I just go out there every time and try to do the best that I can. As long as I know I gave it my all, I canít ask anymore of myself than that.


Kyle, do you think that you will be getting an official web site for the 2004 season?

Thank you for the question. Iím guessing by your name that youíre a Jerry Nadeau fan, too. Jerryís a great driver, and I hope we see him back racing very soon. Iíve got some people helping me out on trying to get a website up this season, and I hope that weíll be able to announce something here in the next couple of months about that. In the meantime, you can keep up with myself and the No. 5 team, as well as my teammate Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team, at www.lowesracing.com.


How do you feel about making your Cup debut in your hometown?

Thatís a great question, Laurence. Itís going to be awesome to be able to drive my first Cup race in front of the hometown fans and my friends. I canít wait. Itís going to be a very hectic week with all the media and things theyíve got planned for me to do, but Iím going to do my absolute best to stay focused on doing the best I can in both the Busch and Cup cars.


Kyle Busch,
Do you have butterflies about your first race in Daytona?
Davina Simons
Las Vegas

Hi, Davina!
No, I really donít have any butterflies, at least not yet anyway. Iíve raced in ARCA and I have some Busch Series experience, so Iíve got a little bit of history. If Daytona were my first race in a stock car, I might be a little more nervous, but Iím more excited and ready to get on the track than anything. Ask me that question after the Daytona race is over, and then I can tell you if the butterflies showed up at some point. Thanks for the question.


Hi Kyle! What do you think of the new rule change NASCAR has made? The fans have tried to voice their opinion about it, but it didn't seem to work. None of us like the Last 10 Races idea at all. Do you think it will work or do you think it will make a lot of people mad?
Sara Determan
Arkansas City

Hi Sara! I donít really have much of an opinion on the rule change right now, just because it doesnít really affect me in the Busch Series. I know some drivers and a lot of fans are not too happy with the plan, but I think weíll just have to wait and see how it goes this season before deciding whether or not it worked. I heard my teammate Jeff Gordon say today that it should make for some exciting racing with 10 guys having a shot at the title instead of just two or three guys. He has a lot more experience and success than Iíve had, so if he thinks itíll work, then I have no reason to doubt him. I guess youíll have to ask me this question again at the end of the season.


Hi Kyle, big fan of yours, was the major deal with you signing with Hendrick instead of Roush a long term deal?
Ralph May
Daytona Beach

Thanks for the question, and maybe Iíll see you in Daytona in February. There were two main reasons that I signed with Hendrick. Roush did want me to sign a long-term deal, and I didnít want to really get locked in at one organization for that long this early in my career. Thatís not a slam on the Roush organization at all, by the way. Theyíve proven they have first-class equipment and people, but I just didnít feel comfortable signing that long of a deal at this point.

Also, I have to say that if I had stayed with Roush, I think Iíd have always been known as Kurt Buschís little brother. By being with Hendrick, Iíve hopefully started to step out of Kurtís shadow a little. Plus, Hendrick is, without a doubt, one of the top organizations in the sport. It took an offer from someone like Hendrick to entice me to move over from Roush. Iím extremely fortunate to say Iíve worked for two of the best team owners in motorsports. I know thereís a lot of guys with a lot of talent whoíve never gotten the chances I have, so Iím not taking this opportunity lightly.


Hello, Kyle I live near Cincinnati, Ohio and I know one of your biggest fans and a good friend of yours Davina, I have known her about 4 years now and she made me a fan of yours and Kurt. You and Kurt are very lucky to have a person so devoted to your racing. Her passion for you two made me a big fan. Now my question is who had the biggest influence on you?
Allen Brown

Hello Allen,
Thanks for the great question. Both my dad and my brother have been my biggest influences. From watching both of them race Legends Cars in Vegas when I was younger, Iíve learned the importance of always having your equipment ready when you get to the track. They both taught me how crucial preparation is to being successful in this sport. Kurtís an awesome talent, and heís also taught me a lot on how to get around racetracks. I wouldnít be where I am today without the knowledge Iíve gained from both of them.


Kyle with your experience at Roush Racing when you raced the 99 truck for a few races then were told that you could not drive it because you were too young. Well was Roush Racing better or worse to work with than Hendrick Motorsports?
Well good luck in the championship run in 2004.
Charles Titus

Charles, thanks for wishing me luck, and for the question. Roush is a great organization, as is Hendrick. You canít really compare the two, honestly. With Hendrick, all the teams are at one location, but with Roush, you have two teams in one location and three in another. Iím sure each of those setups has its pros and cons, but I canít say one is better than the other. I can say that Hendrick feels like more of a family organization. I didnít think I could find a situation where it felt like family, except by racing for my mom and dad. But Rick, Ricky, Papa Joe and everyone at Hendrick really make me feel like part of a family. Itís a really cool situation to be in, and Iím very fortunate to have the opportunity to race for such a first-class group of people.


How long is your contract with Lowe's?
What is your favorite track and why?
Do you want to move up to Nextel Cup anytime? If so when?
Shannon Asbury

Thank you for writing in. My favorite tracks are Loweís Motor Speedway in Charlotte, and Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Loweís is a hard track to get a handle on. Any change in the weather really affects the way your car handles there. The track is a little bumpy, and it gets pretty slick when the sun comes out. Itís just a lot of fun, and a big challenge. I really like that about it. I know some of you probably think I said Loweís Speedway because Iím sponsored by Loweís, but it really is a fun track. But, the fact that Loweís sponsors the track doesnít hurt, either.

I like Darlington because it is just an old bear of a racetrack. The surface just eats up your tires, and it gets pretty slick there, too. I guess I just love the tracks where you really have to drive your tail off to be successful. Brian Vickers and I had a lot of fun racing together in the Busch race there last fall.

As far as moving up to Nextel Cup, I think every driver will say that being in the Cup Series is his or her ultimate goal. I hope that will happen for me in a couple of years, but I just want to gain as much experience as I can in the Busch Series right now. If and when the opportunity comes to go Cup racing full-time, I want to have the experience I need to be successful, and I think the quality of the competition in the Busch Series gives me the best opportunity possible to gain that experience.


How often will you be relying on your brother for advice this year?

Thatís an unusual name you have. Thanks for the question. Iíll be asking my brother for advice at every racetrack we go to that I havenít raced on before. Heís always been great about being there for me whenever Iíve needed advice, so Iím sure Iíll be knocking on his motorhome door a lot this year.

You can bet Iíll also be going to see all my teammates at Hendrickís and bugging them for advice, too. When youíre lucky enough to be able to talk with great champions like Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte, and drivers with as much talent as Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers, youíd be pretty dumb not take advantage of it, right? Those guys will get so tired of seeing me heading to their transporters, theyíll probably run and hide from me.


Do you think you will win the 2004 championship? I wish they would bring the race to Gateway race tracks in St Louis MO, your fans are ready for you.

Thanks for your question. Iím looking forward to seeing everyone in St. Louis when we race there this year. Iíd love to win the 2004 championship, but as Iíve said, I think the season will be considered a success if the team and I can maybe win a race or two, maybe win a pole or two, and hopefully finish the season somewhere in the top-10 or the top-five in points. Winning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title would be an awesome way to top off the year, and to win the championship would be a dream come true. Weíll just take it one race at a time and focus on doing the best we can each week, and maybe we can be in the running at the end of the year. That would be awesome.


Hey Kyle! I'm a HUGE fan!! Awesome job on getting 2 runner-up finishes in the Busch Series last year! What are you're expectations for next year, not nescessarily what the team expects, but what you think you're going to accomplish? You're first Cup race is going to be in your own backyard, and you're going to be racing with you're brother Kurt. How special is that to you?
Alex Herman

Thanks for being a fan. Since Iíve kind of covered my expectations for this year in some of my other answers, Iíll talk about racing my brother. Itís going to be a huge thrill to be able to be on the same racetrack as my brother in a Nextel Cup race. I hope that he and I get the chance to be close enough to each other during the race to maybe pass each other a couple of times. That would be pretty cool for me. My dream would be for he and I to have a finish at some race like he and Ricky Craven did last year. That would be the ultimate for me.


Kyle, you are the man! I can tell that you have oodles of talent and are going to be really something special in the future. My question is this, after you win the Busch championship this year, how long do you think it will tak for you to win the Nextel Cup? Thanks for answering our questions and good luck in '04!

Thank you for your confidence in me. I think we might be getting ahead of ourselves a little bit here, though. I just want to gain as much experience as I can this season and try not to tear up too much equipment. I have a lot to learn, so Iím not thinking about trying to win a championship. Iíd love to make a run for the Rookie of the Year title and finish as consistently as I can. If it works out to where Iím near the top of the standings at the end of the season, that would be icing on the cake. As far as Nextel Cup, Iím not even thinking that far ahead yet. Iím excited to run the seven Cup races we have planned this season, but to think that I can be a contender for the championship in the next couple of years is way more than I can hope for. Iíd love to say that in five years Iíll be contending for the Nextel Cup championship, but a lot of things would have to fall into place for that to happen. Iím just focused on doing the best I can for Loweís and Hendrick Motorsports and Carquest.


Kyle, I have you favored for the Busch ROY award this year, who do you think will be your closet contender? And do you have a special burn-out planned for your next win?
Ken Scherger

Thanks for thinking enough of me to choose me to win the Rookie of the Year title. Thatís very nice of you.

Thereís several guys who have a chance at the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title. I met a couple of them at a luncheon they held for all the rookies last week in Charlotte. I think Billy Parker will be tough in Rusty Wallaceís cars, and Paul Menard is driving for Andy Petree, so heís got some strong equipment, too. It should be an exciting battle, thatís for sure. As far as a burnout, thatís not the kind of thing I plan. Iíll just have to see what I think up if and when the time comes. I donít want to be responsible for blowing up one of Mr. Hendrickís motors doing a burnout, so I may not do one at all. Letís just say that, whatever I do, itíll be a surprise to me as much as it is for all of you.


Why do people call you "Jelly"? I've heard that people at the Hendrick Shop Call you that!
Courtney Harris
Iowa City

Thanks for writing in. ďJelly,Ē huh? I honestly canít say that Iíve ever heard anyone call me that at the Hendrick shops. Maybe itís something they call me when Iím not around. I really have no idea what it means. Youíre the first person that has ever asked me that question. The only nickname I know of is ďK.B.,Ē for obvious reasons. Hmm, maybe I need to leave a tape recorder running the next time Iím at the shop to find out what they say about me when Iím not around. If I find out what ďJellyĒ means, Iíll be sure to let you know.


Will you be doing any autograph sessions here in Las Vegas in March?
Peggy Simons
Las Vegas

Hi Peggy,
I sure hope so. Itís a little too early to say, but Iíll probably be out at my merchandise hauler on Saturday morning, March 6, if Iím not too busy with sponsor commitments. You might also be able to catch up with me at the Samís Town Casino on Thursday night, March 4. Iíll be attending a ďdriver auctionĒ that raises money for the Speedway Childrenís Charities that night. Itís not a formal autograph session, but if you see me, yell at me and Iíll be sure to come over and sign for you. Also, Iím going to be at the Orleans one night, doing a radio show for PRN, so you might be able to catch me there as well. If you donít get a chance to meet me in Vegas, you can send any item you want to get autographed to the Hendrick shops in Charlotte, and Iíll be happy to sign it for you.


Do you think the new goodyear tire will be a help or hindrance in getting your car set up to your liking?
Deborah Simms

Hi Deborah,
I think weíll have to wait and see on the tire deal. I think the new body package, along with the new tires, is going to give everyone something to work on. Youíre losing downforce with the new body package, but the tires are supposed to have more grip, so itís going to be a challenge to get the car to go fast with these changes. All of us are working under the same rules, so weíre all in the same boat, though. The guys who can figure it out the quickest will definitely have an advantage. I hope weíre one of the teams that get a handle on it quickly.


Is your team basically the same team that won the championship or is there major changes in the team? Thanks and good luck.
Donald Washington

Great question! Believe it or not, the entire team is the same as it was in 2003, with the exception of me taking over for Brian Vickers. With as much moving around of team members as usually goes on during the off season, itís hard to believe that everyone is back for 2004. I think that says a lot about how much the team believes in our crew chief, Lance McGrew, and about how great the Hendrick organization is to work for. It really makes me feel good to know Iíve got the exact same team that won the 2003 Busch Series Championship, thatís for sure.


What type of music do you listen to? Who is your favorite artist and band? Thanks and good luck in the 5 Chevy!
South Boston

Hi Shannon,
I listen to what most people call ďAlternativeĒ music. My favorite group is probably Godsmack. I especially love their song, ďVoodoo.Ē I also like 3 Doors Down and bands like that. I have a pretty wide taste in music, though.


What are your thoughts on restrictor plate racing? Good luck in your rookie year.
Jeff Joines

Restrictor plate racing, to me, is more of a chess game than it is a race. Itís a lot about how you plan out your next move on the track, and trying to figure out where that move will put you in the next three or four laps. I enjoy it, though. Itís all a part of what makes this sport so cool. Iím looking forward to getting out there at Daytona on Feb. 14 and playing a little chess with the competition.


For all of you that sent in questions, thanks for taking the time to write in. I love to talk with the fans, and hearing what your opinions are on the sport. Thank you to Race2Win.net for posting my answers, and I look forward to meeting all of you at the track sometime. Also, I need to say thanks to Loweís and their vendor partners for sponsoring myself and the No. 5 team. If you get the opportunity, Iíd appreciate it if you can go to your local Loweís store and buy some Pella Windows (www.pella.com), a Shop Vac vacuum cleaner (www.shopvac.com), something from the Gladiator Garageworks line of products (www.gladiatorgw.com), and a piece of outdoor power equipment that has a Briggs and Stratton motor on it (www.briggsandstratton.com). Thanks again, and be sure to visit www.lowesracing.com. See you at the track! Sincerely, Kyle


Special thanks to Kyle Busch and Kerry Gilbert for taking time out of their busy schedules to make this Q&A happen.


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