Kyle Busch says that cutting down the number of races he runs in other levels of NASCAR will help him focus more on winning the big prize – the Sprint Cup. This comes soon after Carl Edwards announced that he too will cut his Nationwide programme in order to work more closely with his Cup team.
“The focal point needs to be on the Cup deal and trying to win a championship there, of course, and put my primary focus into that,” Busch said.
Busch, 26, won four times in the lead up to the Chase in 2011, but failed to even come close when it really mattered. In contrast, champion Tony Stewart took all of his five wins in the Chase, having not won all year previously.
“I think it's been most frustrating for me because I'm getting more and more into my Cup Series career and I have yet to win a championship. For me, you get down to the end of the season and the first 26 races go well and then you start the Chase and you kind of fumble a little bit and you're chasing a ball sometimes.
“We still had a shot – we were running fourth or fifth in points at Talladega and then got crashed out there. Then we're fifth in points or something like that in Martinsville and we get crashed out there. Your whole season's shot. It's not like one week's gone – like you didn't win that race or something. You've got to wait all the way until next February to start a whole new year in order to get down to November. Think about it – when you throw a whole year of your life away, it's like, damn, this sucks.”
Busch's crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, Dave Rogers, said that he wholeheartedly supported the decision.
“Each year Kyle gets older and older and he gets more mature and more dedicated. I think he re-dedicates himself every off-season and he's made some personal decisions this year to free up more time for him to focus on the Cup program and help us get to where we want to be. I think he's doing a good job of it. I think cutting out some of the Nationwide races and taking a step back – he's hired some really good people that can give [Kyle Busch Motorsports] direction with a little less involvement from him. The less time he has to spend at KBM working on that deal, the more time he has for Joe Gibbs Racing and the 18 and I think that is going to add up at the end of the year.”
Rogers added that the loss of extra running time would probably benefit his driver mentally.
“I do think Kyle will have more time to just relax and spend some time with Sam [Kyle's wife] and freshen up a little bit. That is going to help us out.
“I think if you look at it – Carl Edwards is backing off, Kyle's backing off, Jimmie Johnson hasn't done it – those are the guys you are going to have to race against. Denny Hamlin hasn't done it. They're all freeing up their schedule for a reason. It's not because it's a competitive disadvantage. That's the way I look at it.”