Kyle Busch is one of the first people young NASCAR drivers go to for advice.
It’s no wonder, given that the younger Busch brother has won 170 combined races in all three of NASCAR’s major series, as well as the 2015 Sprint Cup championship and the 2009 Xfinity crown.
Busch knows the drill all too well: The young drivers want to pick his brain by asking questions, seeking advice, ask for tips on how to drive a certain track, how to set up their race car better and so forth.
When Joe Gibbs Racing elevated Daniel Suarez to full-time status in the Xfinity Series in 2015, the Mexican driver asked Gibbs for advice and how to acclimate himself to NASCAR’s junior league.
We’ll let Busch – as late broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say – pick up the rest of the story:
“Coach (Gibbs) said, ‘Daniel, go to your teammates,’” Busch explained during Tuesday’s Media Day session in Charlotte.
“(Suarez) is very eager, that’s for sure,” Busch said of Suarez wanting to learn everything he can. “He definitely was either told by Coach or Steve DeSouza (JGR Xfinity chief) or both, ‘You better go use the resources as much as you can, so go use Kyle’ because we were teammates in the Xfinity Series.
“So his rookie season in Xfinity he came to me every single Thursday. It was set on the calendar, ‘Daniel Suarez, phone call, 3 o’clock!’ And we’d talk about that weekend’s racetrack, about what to do, about what to expect, this and that, practice, tire wear and everything else.
“Then during our (at-track) practice breaks with Xfinity, if I didn’t have to go back to a Cup car, he’d come over to my hauler and he’d be right there. He wore me out, that’s for sure. It was a good thing, it wasn’t a bad thing. But then we started getting to the racetracks for the second time, I was like, ‘No, no, you can’t do this again, you already were there once. I already gave you everything I knew the first time’ so no more. I told him he has to cut it back a little bit.
“Then this past year, he came to me a couple times and I said, ‘You know, you don’t use me as much as you used to.’”
Busch, who will now be NASCAR Cup teammates with Suarez as he replaces the retired Carl Edwards, then attempted to imitate Suarez’s reply, saying with an accent, “You told me not to.”
“And I said, ‘No, I didn’t say you couldn’t,’ I just said ‘Use me sparingly, like once every five weeks is ok.’ Now that he has me, Matt (Kenseth), Denny (Hamlin) and Martin (Truex Jr.) to go to, I would be once every five weeks again, so I’m like that works, that’s good.”
Obviously, the 25-year-old Suarez learned his lessons well from Busch: He won the NASCAR Xfinity Championship in 2016. This year, he’ll be going for NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year honors.
When media session host Doug Rice thanked him for attending the session, Busch slipped back into his Suarez accent and quipped, “No problem, man. Adios.”