It’s been a bumpy ride for the Las Vegas native-Busch brothers in the last few years. From a record number of second place finishes, to moving to a new team, comebacks and more, Kyle and Kurt, both gradates of Las Vegas’ Durango High School, are now both in the newly-formatted 2014 Race for the Chase to Sprint Cup, which has now taken the form of knockout rounds.
Kyle Busch and his No. 18 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing joins teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, the entire JGR lineup, in the Chase. The elder Busch joins the No. 4 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick from the Stewart-Haas Racing team, representing half of the team.
All contenders were asked about their thoughts on the Chase during a general post-race media session with all contenders.
Kyle Busch was asked: What are your expectations for this year’s Chase?
I have no idea, just fight every week and see what we can get and try to work hard. Tonight was a draining night, but we had good, solid run at last year’s Chicago and we tested earlier there this year, so look forward to getting back there. Hopefully we’ve got a good piece like we had last year, can run up front. Try to salvage a good run in the first couple races, get ourselves established and start moving on. I know there’s plenty of opportunity out there for this M&Ms team and this 18 car to out-perform four other guys to move on to the second round and the second round is going to be our tough boat with both Kansas and Talladega in there. Really like going to Charlotte, though, Charlotte is one of my favorite places and we just tested there, felt like we had a good test there, as well, and we’ll see if all that bodes well for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, and we’ll see if we can’t win a championship.
Kurt Busch was asked: Looking forward to the Chase, what are your expectations?
We wanted to run tonight like we were running in the Chase. What I mean by that is the chaos of win and get in, we’re going to have that a lot throughout the Chase this year, but yet consistency is still going to play a key role. We ran our own race tonight, finished 7th. If you can finish 7th the first three weeks of the Chase you’re going to advance. I think you can do that again in the next round of the Chase. Tonight was a nice feel for us to run our own race, and our team has developed over the year. We won a race earlier this year at Martinsville, and it surprised us all, to make that happen because the team was not ready, honestly. I’m glad we had the summer months to run through, and once we got to the first Pocono, it seemed like we were rolling after that, great, strong top 5s. I wrecked the car at Michigan going for the win a few weeks back, but if we would’ve run that race out, finished top 5, that would’ve been four top 5s in a row. That’s what it takes to be a championship-contending team, and this Haas Automation team is ready. We’re ready. We have a nice 10 weeks ahead of us where we’ve prepared for it. We’ve built better cars. We’ve tested Chicago, we’ve tested Loudon, going to test Miami, we’re going to test Charlotte. We’ve got a great teammate with Kevin Harvick to lean on, so congratulations to Stewart-Haas for putting two cars in the Chase, thanks to Chevrolet and Monster Energy, Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, it has been a great ride and most of all, thanks to Gene Haas for believing in me, and we’re here, we’re a Chase contender. It’s my job to get the car championship eligible, and here we are, so let’s go for it.
Want to play along with the eliminations? Here’s your blank chart to fill in and start from scratch.
The first race of the Chase is at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL this weekend.