Vegas fans supporting Kyle Busch? Well…maybe not

2 Comments

When Las Vegas throws a big party, it tends to draw in people from a lot of different places. So it goes again for this weekend’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

LVMS is considered the home track for both Kyle and Kurt Busch, who both grew up in the region. But in a presser this morning at the 1.5-mile oval, Kyle said that he wasn’t expecting to have a major contingent of hometown fans in his corner.

“This is a vacation destination for a lot of race fans, so there are a lot of out-of-towners that do come here,” he said. “It’s not 100,000 from Las Vegas that will be sitting in these grandstands. I bet you it’s like 20 or 30, but it’s just a part of the deal.”

The driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota also mentioned another reason why there may not be a lot of locals in the stands to cheer him on.

“I’ll tell you this, when I was coming up through the ranks I won a lot and probably won too much and didn’t make very many friends, so I’m not sure I don’t have many pulling for me anyways because I kicked their butt too much,” he said.

That said, he did note the multiple drivers from Vegas that are competing this weekend, including himself and Kurt in the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series drivers Brendan Gaughan and Dylan Kwasniewski (Kyle will race against the latter two in tomorrow’s 300-mile NNS race).

He had advice in particular for the 18-year-old Kwasniewski, who is very familiar with LVMS’ nearby “Bullring” short oval but is making his debut this weekend on the big Vegas track.

“The biggest thing is just trying to make a name for yourself while doing it smoothly,” said Busch, who was 11th-fastest in this afternoon’s Cup practice.

“You don’t want to go out there and be stupid and wreck a ton of guys and make enemies right off the bat. There’s been a few that have done that and it still lingers in their reputation today.”

Toro Rosso at crossroads after Kvyat’s point, Hartley’s strong debut

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In a weekend with something to prove at Circuit of The Americas, Daniil Kvyat rose to the occasion with what he called “his best race of the season for sure” at the United States Grand Prix.

But it may not be enough for the Russian to have saved his seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the three final races this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley capped off his roller-coaster debut weekend in Formula 1 with a solid 13th place finish after starting from the rear of the grid, learning as the race went on and bringing home his Toro Rosso chassis to the flag.

Toro Rosso faces a dilemma of three drivers available but only two seats to fill for the final three Grands Prix, with the Mexican Grand Prix coming up just next week.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly will be back after missing Austin due to his Super Formula commitments at Suzuka in Japan, but ultimately that went for naught as the races were canceled due to a typhoon.

Kvyat qualified 12th, was promoted to 11th by way of grid penalties and ended 10th, scoring a point for only the third race this year and first time since coming ninth in the Spanish Grand Prix back in May.

It was a weekend where he would have been expected to outdo Hartley, and did so, but not by a massive margin. And he was already coming in with a track time disadvantage, losing out in FP1 as Indonesian Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael ran in his chassis.

As it was, he rated his weekend performance highly and didn’t do his chances of staying in the car any harm.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Kvyat said, “Yeah, it was a perfect race. I did everything well. Brought the points home. It was close with (Felipe) Massa.

“We had some energy release issues on the engine. But it was a massive weekend. It was great. I really enjoyed myself. It was a good job by the team to keep it together with very limited running.

Hartley built up confidence throughout the weekend as he learned the car, the Pirelli tires and how an F1 race races versus an endurance race that he’d been used to doing for several years.

Having coming into the weekend with no expectations and just taking the race session-by-session, he felt good at the end of it.

“There’s so many little things to reflect on,” he told NBCSN. “I’ll put the eyes at rest and process it all. I did the standing start and it wasn’t the best… it’s been a long time.

“But yeah, (you’re learning) in terms of following in traffic, what 20 laps on these tires means, how much you can push it. I’m pretty satisfied. The pace was pretty strong. I made the mistake of getting passed by (Lance) Stroll. I couldn’t pass him back. Lots of challenges. I hope I can get another shot at it.

“Up until this moment… I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to do the job. I’m really relaxed. Now there might be some conversations.”

Toro Rosso figures to reveal its Mexican Grand Prix driver lineup early this week.