We recently discussed the COVID-19 hiatus, NASCAR’s return to racing and more with two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch.
It has been over four weeks since NASCAR returned to action following an unexpected 10-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Four races into the 36-race 2020 season, the campaign was suspended indefinitely following the race at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 8. NASCAR returned with a previously non-scheduled race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17 — 70 days later.
Since NASCAR returned to action, eight Cup Series races, six Xfinity Series races and three Truck Series races have been contested.
We recently discussed the unexpected hiatus, NASCAR’s return to action and more with two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch. Here is what the driver of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota had to say.
Asher Fair, Beyond the Flag (BTF): What was the best part and worst part for you personally about that unexpected 10-week hiatus?
Kyle Busch: It was great to be able to spend some more family time with Samantha and Brexton. We really enjoyed spending time together. The worst part was probably not being able to get out there and do what we love, which is racing.
BTF: Aside from fan-less races, what has been the biggest change to your experience at the race track with all the new health guidelines enforced?
Busch: Firstly I want to compliment and applaud NASCAR, the procedures and everything have been really smooth, really easy. We obviously miss having fans at the racetrack, but it’s great NASCAR got us to a point where we can come out here and put on a show for the fans on television. Obviously there’s less people at the track, smaller teams and we’re maintaining social distancing while we are there. Hopefully these steps mean there will be a little more normalcy here in, I don’t know, say a couple of months.
BTF: Would you support midweek races as regular events in non-pandemic seasons, even if it meant a shortened season?
Busch: At the moment we’re doing this out of necessity, I think it’s fine. I think once we get back to qualifying, having Wednesday night shows should be fine. We’d show up in the morning, have inspection, practice, qualify, have inspection before the race and then go race.
BTF: At what venue would you say do fan-less grandstands make the most difference from your perspective as a driver?
Busch: I would say that’s not really up to me. Think NASCAR has done a nice job of putting procedures into place to get us back racing. I’ll trust they make those calls on what venues work best for this as we go along.
BTF: You’ve now run several consecutive races where lap one of the race is literally lap one of the entire weekend. How does your mindset change going into that first turn compared with doing so after a normal practice schedule?
Busch: It’s certainly new, the closest thing we’ve got to this was Indy a few years ago where it rained and we raced on Monday without any track time. No matter what the situations are the best team is going to rise to the top. Having the experience of running these tracks doesn’t hurt either. I think we’re learning as we go and making the best of learning from each race and hopefully being able to apply that to future races, but also when we go back to that same track later in the year in some cases.
BTF: We have heard a lot about the Bundle of Joy Fund recently started by you and your wife — during the Truck bounty, your interview afterward, the Xfinity broadcast with you and your brother, etc. How can fans learn more about that and get involved in that?
Busch: We actually started the Bundle of Joy Fund in 2015, and it provides infertility education and awareness, while removing financial barriers by granting monetary awards to couples who require fertility treatments. If people want to find out more or donate, they can head to https://bundleofjoyfund.org/.