All the talk about a "new" Kyle Busch? Don't believe it, according to Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
Moments after saying Busch has "gotten better at getting decent finishes when he doesn't have the best car," Hamlin was asked about the "new Kyle" that Busch mentioned after winning Richmond last week.
"There is no new Kyle," Hamlin said firmly. "That's just a complete myth. I think y'all need to look back at your stories over the last two years, and everytime he wins, y'all say it's the 'new Kyle.' And whenever he loses, you say it's the 'same old Kyle.'
"I think we only hear about it when he wins."
Hamlin seems to be the one driver who isn't afraid to take jabs at Busch publicly, perhaps because of their relationship as teammates. During an online chat last week, Hamlin said as much to Busch's face and teased that his favorite races were the Nationwide events when Busch leads the most laps and then loses both the race and his temper.
"Half of my entertainment in this sport comes from Kyle Busch," Hamlin said, grinning. "I love having him as a teammate."
Other topics Hamlin addressed on Friday:
• The quality of racing in the Sprint Cup Series. "This is the best racing we've had in any season," he said. "If ratings are down or anything, we need to work on the marketing side of the sport because the racing itself can't get any better."
• The physical hardship endured by drivers at Darlington. Hamlin said after the Darlington race last season, he passed out in the shower. "This is the most physical, demanding race that we go to all year," he said.
• Hamlin said his poor run at Richmond may have been due to overuse of a particular race car. Hamlin said the Richmond car was used effectively last season during several events but did not perform well in two races this year. "That was the most races we've ever put on a car, so there was something to that, possibly," he said.