Friday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, storms rolled in. The grandstands were evacuated. The threat of high winds, rain and possible hail also shut down the Cup inspection and garages. Cars were covered, and the garage tarps were rolled down. But in the center of the Martinsville infield, as Joey Logano finished his time in front of the reporters Kyle Busch sat at the back of the room, seemingly uninterested about Logano’s words or his surroundings.
As Logano’s time at the front of the room, and Busch proceeded forward, it was obvious the two Cup drivers would have to pass each other. Would there be more of a storm inside than the one predicted outside?
Everything is great
As it turns out, everything is great. The two acknowledged each other as they passed, and that was it.
Busch started out talking about the 2017 season so far for the 18 team, and when asked where his patience was on a scale of one to ten after the West coast swing. He said it was at zero.
“Every week it’s zero,” he said.
“Till I win. Then it’ll be ten.”
Patience will come into play as the season proceeds and the longer races like Charlotte’s May Coca-Cola 600 where Busch admitted you have to get comfortable and settle in.
“Don’t worry about what lap it is ever in a race. That’s the worst thing that could happen to you,” Busch said.
He proceeded to say he remembers a time at Atlanta Motor Speedway when nature called early in the race — around 45 laps in of a 325 lap race.
“It hurt really bad by the end,” he said.
“You just try to never worry about what lap you’re on or what’s going on around you. You just keep battling out, keep driving and keep your focus forward. That’s the best way to go about those long, long races.”
Other Race Series
Busch was also asked about his thoughts on participating in other series and forms of racing — not as much about Xfinity and truck series, but local short track racing — late model stocks, super models, etc. But Busch said it’s not necessary for Cup drivers to go back to their roots in those cars.
“If you love it, go do it. Try to be safe, but I think there’s a lot of risk and that’s why a lot of the guys don’t do it,” Busch said.
“Obviously if you get hurt doing that and you lose your ride for a few weeks here, and don’t ever have an opportunity to come back when somebody better than you takes over in it, then you’re out. You’ve got to weigh those consequences a lot.
Busch said years ago that he wanted to run a modified at Louden, New Hampshire. J.D. GIbbs told him no for those exact same reasons. Busch said the way he would do any of that extra-curricular racing would come after he was out of the Cup series.
Changes at Joe Gibbs Racing
Since the 2017 season began, JGR has lost a driver in Carl Edwards retirement, and now his former crew chief, Dave Rogers has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team.
Busch admitted it was a blow to the organization and to the weekly debrief sessions.
“Any time you lose good crew chiefs, you lose a little bit of strength to your company,” he said.
He said the same about losing Edwards.
“We’ve taken two big bullets here for this season,” Busch said.
Kyle’s punch in the pits targeted at Joey Logano post-race earlier in the season, and Busch’s interviews the next week where he repeatedly answered reporters’ questions with, “Everything is Great” was given some positive spin in subsequent weeks. Busch and his wife, Samantha created a t-shirt where all the proceeds are going to the Kyle Busch Foundation. The front of the shirt says, “Everything is great,” with the “is” being a stylized No. 18 and the price? Twenty-two dollars.
Busch commented on the sales, saying they’re over $30,000 in just over two weeks. Busch said they’re cranking through shirts, having to go back multiple times and reorder more shirts.
“A lot of great fan support from that,” Busch said.
“It’s been awesome — really a neat deal for the fans to be as supportive of it, whether you agree with it or don’t agree with it, it doesn’t matter. It’s just for a great cause, so we appreciate that.”
Samantha Busch said if Busch was asked about the shirts to thank the fans for their willingness to donate and support their cause via the Kyle Busch Foundation,