Kyle Busch has figured out Bristol Motor Speedway. After winning the Truck, Nationwide and Cup races there last August, he returned last week to sweep the Nationwide and Cup races again.
Busch, 25, talked about his dominance at Bristol, as well as the prospects of him challenging in the Chase for the Championship after Sunday's Jeff Byrd 500. Here are excerpts of that interview:
Q: Is Victory Lane at Bristol your new home?
A: As soon as I can beat Darrell (Waltrip) for most wins here (12) they can name it after me. This is his right now. This is pretty cool. It's an awesome opportunity to come to Bristol and win in front of these fans. I love it. It's a lot of fun and especially five in a row. This is cool. It was a grueling day today. I didn't feel my best, but we put it all together there when it mattered most.
Q: You seem like you're making an effort to win the fans over. Is that a good idea?
A: I don't know about the fans. I don't know if it's that easy to change opinion sometimes. It's definitely fun to have a good attitude about things and to come into this weekend and have good results, good success out of it. (Saturday) night after the Nationwide race, I had an appearance with some of my buddies and the Toyota guys out there at their station. There was a ton of people out there. So they all had a good time. It's funny, there's like 250 or 300 M&M jackets like everywhere in a glob. You think, where are all these people when driver introductions take place? They're up against 160,000 people, I know.
Q: You had a spirited battle with Carl Edwards in the closing laps, but he decided it's too early in the season to knock you out of the way as a payback for something that happened at Phoenix. What happened?
A: I have no idea what I'm owed from. You'll have to ask Carl. Normally when it's against you, you'll always remember it forever. I don't remember what I did that made him mad. Apparently he still thinks that. But it's Bristol racing. It's tough racing. It's things that you do to try to get by another competitor. ...With the competition as close as it is here, especially two cars that fast at the end of the race running identical lap times, you have to do something to get by the guy. What are you going to do? You have to break his momentum or traction. Carl was doing his part to try to do that. Fortunately it wasn't me trying to do it.
Q: Will racing with savvy instead of bravado be the key of being a legitimate contender for the championship?
A: I guess so. If you can keep it going all year long, that's the most important thing. When it gets hot and slick in the summertime, you get more frustrated that you're not going forward or you're kind of stuck running 15th somewhere. Those are the days that savvy really needs to show versus the days you're running up front, top five. It's a little easier.
Q: You, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to win on the short tracks in the last couple of years, but you still haven't won at Martinsville. Can you change that?
A: Hey, but I'm getting better at Martinsville, so watch out. I think Denny has that place pretty tapped in. He's going to be hard to beat there, that's for sure. But, you know, with my success here at Bristol, it's been great. Richmond, same thing. Denny is really good there, too. Martinsville has been getting better for us. We're getting there.
Q: Bristol hasn't had a sellout in a couple years. Jimmie Johnson thinks it's because the new pavement has taken away a lot of the beating and banging. Do you agree?
A: I would agree 100 percent with Jimmie's statement there. Unfortunately we didn't see a very packed house today. I hate that. The old Bristol was the old Bristol. We don't have that anymore. It made for some interesting moments with guys that would beat?and?bang a little bit more, rough each other up a little bit more maybe. But with the new Bristol, it's really cool for all the drivers because we have a racetrack that we can race on. We don't have to get into each other to pass each other. You can wait for the racetrack to come to you or you can make your car a little bit better in order to be better with that guy, you can race that guy. There's room here to breathe a little bit.
Q: Is it easier on the drivers?
A: I guess there's less drama, per se. I like less drama because I like less to deal with. To me it's a fun race track; it's a fun place to race. I don't know if the old Bristol with this car would be single file more, more bumper cars, which would essentially draw more attention or not. I feel like racing side?by?side is pretty cool. You can cheer a guy on to get by a guy for a couple laps, rather than watch him sit in a line and then go, Yeah, he got by the guy. The other guy is already a straightaway back. He's hung up on the outside. It's just opinion.