During the most recent episode of Uncut with Jay Cutler, two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch joined the podcast to talk about his life and career in racing. The race car driver and former NFL quarterback had plenty to chat about as the host picked Busch’s brain about all things NASCAR.
The pair talked about Kyle Busch growing up around cars as a kid. He and his brother, fellow NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, spent their early years working on their dad and grandad’s cars. Later, their father started his own amateur racing team in Las Vegas where they grew up. By the time Kyle was a teenager, he was competing in races and joined NASCAR’s Truck Series at only 16 years old.
He made the jump to the Cup Series at only 19, and has been tearing up tracks across the nation ever since. In fact, he just took the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway for the 9th time on Sunday. However, he and his Joe Gibbs Racing team have had to adjust to their new No. 18 Toyota Camry. NASCAR rolled out the sport’s new Next Gen cars for the 2022 season, which began in late February at Daytona. All teams are now going through the same adjustment as they continue to get used to the Next Gen rides.
Jay Cutler Asks Kyle Busch’s Opinion On New Stock Cars
During host Jay Cutler and Kyle Busch’s conversation, the NASCAR driver opened up about his mixed feelings on the new cars. He says the new and old cars each have their positives and negatives, which makes sense. Yet NASCAR is getting exactly what they want out of the new rides.
NASCAR officials have essentially leveled the playing field by forcing everyone to use the same exact car with the same exact specs. That’s adding parity to the sport while putting the emphasis on the crew and drivers instead of what team has the superior machine. Cutler asked the racer if he liked the new cars and the fact that you can not manipulate the rides like before. Kyle Busch may have mixed opinions on the matter, but he said NASCAR is getting what they envisioned out of the Next Gen cars.
“How I kinda see it is, if you had every single car the same – like the setups were the same and all that sorta stuff – then, boom, now it’s to the driver. That’s kind of what NASCAR wanted,” Kyle Busch said of the Next Gen cars. “They wanted it to be down to the crew chiefs – how smart they are. The drivers – how good they are. All with the same stuff to see who the best of the best is and being able to work with what they got.”
Kyle Busch Talks Rule Changes, Next Gen Car Differences
While NASCAR officials seem to be happy with the changes, the drivers themselves are still weighing the pluses and minuses. In the podcast, Kyle Busch goes into further detail about the sport’s new rules and the specific differences of the new cars.
In recent seasons, racers have driven NASCAR’s Gen 6 cars. Busch went over some of the major differences between the Gen 6 and Next Gen stock cars. The older rides had a traditional four-speed manual transmission with a classic “H” shift pattern. Now, they utilize a sequential manual transaxle transmission with five speeds.
In addition to the transmission change, the motors are the same classic V8s. But the new motors are capped at 670-hp for every race instead of having varied horsepower according to the track. Busch shared that he used to be able to drive upwards of 220 mph, which is the fastest he’s ever driven in a race. Yet the new 670-hp engines top out around 195 mph with the Next Gen cars.
Kyle Busch also told Jay Cutler about another major change. NASCAR used to allow teams to create as many cars as they wanted. If your team could afford them, you could build unlimited rides. Now, new rules cap teams at seven cars. Yet with parts shortages due to supply chain issues, Busch says most teams have around four or five cars they currently rotate. Plus every single team gets their cars from the same vendor now. The sport continues to evolve as drivers and fans alike get used to the changes.
Make sure to check out Jay Cutler and Kyle Busch’s full conversation in the link below, or tune in and listen to Uncut with Jay Cutler on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.