Kyle Busch driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs racing entry in NASCAR's Sprint Cup, has joined RACER to answer your questions. Here's his first batch of responses. Got another question for Kyle? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How different is the handling of a Cup car to a Nationwide car, which one is easier to adjust for a given circuit or to your tastes, and which one do you think puts more emphasis on driver talent?
Grant Kershin, Omaha, Neb.
“I can actually try to explain all three. I believe there's a way you drive the Trucks and there's a way you drive the Nationwide Series cars. That's full-out, as fast as you can go. The harder you go, the faster you can go and it's such a momentum game with those two. You have to pace yourself in the Cup cars a bit. You have to slow them down. You can drive them hard for the first three or four laps. Then, you have to start backing off, start slowing down, slowing up your entry, slowing down the center, just kind of moseying around the corner, trying to make the thing stick in one particular groove.
You know, we're gaining on the car every week. But I think a lot of it is a little bit of driver. You've got to stay calm when you can. You've got to get going when the time's right and not get too excited, before then, or you are prone to make a mistake. The Cup cars are the hardest cars to drive so they're not all that fun but the greatest satisfaction comes when you win a Cup race. Just because it's the biggest of the big. You want to win as many as you can of those.”
Have you ever had a chance to check out old stock cars like late '60s/'70s/'80s era and if not, would you be interested in trying them? If so, which most interests you?
Jeff Woods, Midland, Texas
“I haven't seen a whole lot of the old stock cars in person, but I have looked up on YouTube and watched parts of some old races. I did a little of that after I won Darlington last year, actually. That racetrack has so much history to it. I don't claim to know all the history and heritage of it, but I know there's a lot to it. I know watching old videos of (David) Pearson or Cale (Yarborough) there, then watching some of the highlights of the races there, too. You think of things like Jeff's (Gordon) million, (Bill) Elliott's million. Then you've got races from before that time, when they were still running around there with guardrail walls.”
What did you think of the Grand-Am car at Daytona? Is sports car racing something that would interest you, or are you NASCAR for life?
Stu Forrest, Kissimmee, Fla.
“It was fun. I wouldn't do it again on the same day of a Cup race, especially since it was hotter than any racecar I've ever been in. But, I think I'd like to try the Rolex 24 someday. I'm fortunate to be able to work with Toyota and their Lexus brand, so you never know. It was fun, but not something that I'd be interested in doing full time. At least not in this part of my career.”
Which of the top drivers do you trust not to try and wreck you if you're fighting for the lead with like five laps to go?
Will Johnson, Laughlin, Nev.
“Actually, a bunch of guys, but certainly guys like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, and especially Mark Martin, of course. Mark is such a class act and Bristol this year proved that. He raced me hard but raced me clean, and when the shoe is on the other foot he knows how I'm going to race him the same way.”
So was all that talk about trying an F1 car, just a publicity thing, or are you serious? And is it ever gonna happen? I've got a suggestion: if F1 comes back to Indy next year. Would you be cool with trying it out for the first time in front of a crowd?
Al Mertens, Charlotte, N.C.
“The guys with USF1 were the ones that brought my name up, not me. But I was all set to go to Japan last November to test a F1 car with Toyota, just to try it and out and see what it was like. But unfortunately, I had to go to the Nationwide Series banquet and we couldn't change the test to another date, so I wasn't able to go. I'd still like to try it out someday and see if I would be any good. There are a lot of other vehicles I'd like to try at least once. But if they were racing at Indy, it would be hard to do a one-off F1 ride with how busy my NASCAR schedule is. That's where my priorities are at right now.”
Do you ever watch the races again afterward, and if you do, do you ever see things you could have done better?
Kenny Murray, Winston-Salem, N.C.
“Good question. For sure I do. I'm always looking at what I did and thinking of ways to get better. During a typical race weekend, I spend time in the hauler since we DVR each practice session, and I rewind it to see what my line was and how other fast guys are doing and what line they are taking. I think that helps me give better feedback to Steve (Addington) and the guys. So yes, I'm constantly looking at ways to improve by watching back practice and the race.”
If NASCAR was going to bring new circuits into the Cup calendar, are there any you'd like to see? Which ones would you replace? And would you want to bring Cup racing up North?
Steve Marette, Kamloops, B.C., Canada
“I really like Iowa Speedway, since its been a good track for me and it's a bit different than any other track we race on with the Cup cars. We had fun racing up in Montreal with the Nationwide Series and the Canadian fans are great and love racing, but the issue is that there isn't a Cup-caliber oval up there that makes sense right now.”