Las Vegas native Kyle Busch participated in a NASCAR Nextel Cup teleconference March 1.  Busch will attempt to qualify for the March 6 Sam¿s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series event in the No. 5 Team Lowe¿s Racing Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, and will also attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut in the March 7 UAW 400, driving the No. 84 CARQUEST Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

Moderator: Kyle, thanks for joining us and first and foremost, why don¿t you tell us about your feelings and your excitement being a hometown boy trying to qualify for that first NEXTEL Cup race.

Kyle Busch: Well, thank you very much, I appreciate it and having me on today. We¿ve definitely got a great opportunity here going into this weekend in Las Vegas, and the CARQUEST folks are really excited to get their season started and kicked off with the No. 84 Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. You know, of course everybody on the No. 5 Busch team as well, with the Lowe¿s Chevrolet, is excited as well getting out there to Las Vegas. We had a great test out there about a month ago with both cars, and we¿re really looking forward to getting back there. We made some changes to the setup, so hopefully we¿ve got everything we need to do ready, and the hometown fans are ready to get started too.

QUESTION: You finished ninth in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas in 2001. That¿s quite a debut. Does that give you any confidence coming back?

Kyle Busch: Oh, it definitely does. We had a great time running in the Craftsman Truck Series a few years back. You know, to be going back out there to Las Vegas once again, I believe we qualified third in that race and we were able to come through and finish ninth like you said. We¿re really looking forward to running in the NASCAR Busch Series as well as the NEXTEL Cup Series out there, so it definitely brings a lot of good feelings back to going home, and also having all the fans there and everything else.

QUESTION: What it is like coming back to your home track, and what has been the response from the Las Vegas people?

Kyle Busch: It¿s definitely been an awesome response from all the Las Vegas folks I¿ve been associated with. I mean, it¿s definitely a lot of fun to go back to your hometown and race in front of all of the fans that supported you throughout the years when you were racing Legends cars and such. To be able to go back out there and meet and mingle with some of the people that helped you come up through the ranks, that definitely means a lot to me as well. I want to thank those people again, just by being able to meet with them again, to let them know that they¿re the reason why I¿m here in the NASCAR Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series is because of all their help and support that they¿ve put me through and given me through the past years in local racing.

QUESTION: Will you have your eye on that Roush car driven by your brother (Kyle¿s older brother, Kurt, drives the No. 97 entry for Roush Racing in the NEXTEL Cup Series)?

Kyle Busch: Hopefully we can run up near the front where he¿s going to be, and try to at least get some pictures out of the deal if not anything else. We¿ll definitely be wanting to run against him, side by side with him, and the other 41 competitors that are going to be out there as well too. We¿re definitely going to have a great time running against each other, but like my brother said earlier, we¿ve definitely got to worry about those 41 others as well, too.

QUESTION: Why did Hendrick choose this race for your debut? Is it just because it¿s your home track?

Kyle Busch: Pretty much, I believe so. It¿s not only a great track, but being in the hometown as well, and also it¿s kind of like one of the tracks that I excel at. If you think about 1.5-mile tracks like the Chicago¿s, the Kansas¿s, places like that, it¿s really one of those places I really like, and I try to excel at.

QUESTION: There will likely be three Las Vegas natives starting in Sunday¿s race (Kurt and Kyle Busch, and Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 77) Is there anything in particular about the racing scene in Las Vegas, or is this just a coincidence?

Kyle Busch: I guess it¿s just kind of coincidence, but honestly, there is a lot of great talent that is still left in Las Vegas with young kids that are growing up and doing all that they can do, exactly what Kurt, myself and Brendan have all done, to try to get their names recognized and get up there and race with the best of us. I mean, there¿s plenty of kids all over the whole nation and the world that are definitely great talents that could be here as well, too.

QUESTION: How many Cup races are you going to do this year?

Kyle Busch: We are going to run seven NEXTEL Cup races, first one being at Las Vegas, and then we¿re going to go to Texas, Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, Michigan, New Hampshire and California. Those are all going to be our Cup races this year. (NOTE: Kyle Busch will also attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway,  which accounts for the seventh race he was referring to).

QUESTION: A lot of people say the 18-year old rule that NASCAR implemented a couple of years ago was aimed at you. How did you feel when that rule was implemented, and how do you feel about it now?

Kyle Busch: Well, I wouldn¿t say that it was really ¿ I was in the main spotlight of it, I guess you could say, but it wasn¿t that it was exactly aimed towards me. I would have to take that more as, you know, I was running in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the time only being 16 years of age, and there was a couple of issues that came up at California Motor Speedway, but ¿ you know, NASCAR did what they had to do in the topic, and they made the correct decision, I believe. I mean, at the time I was very devastated, and I figured, what else could go wrong. You know, we were fastest in practice, and we had a great shot for the pole. But, to have to go home and reevaluate things and go run ASA was definitely a bigger learning experience for me going to run ASA I think, than it was running my Late Models at my hometown. So, it gave me a lot more experience I needed to know before I got into the professional racing of NASCAR, such as the Craftsman Truck Series or the NASCAR Busch Series. Not only was it a little bit of a setback, but it was actually a help in propelling my career to a little bit better.

QUESTION: So you see their (NASCAR¿s) point now?

Kyle Busch: Oh, I definitely see their point. I mean, like I said at the time, I didn¿t at all, but now going back and evaluating it, I definitely see what their point was. It wasn¿t necessarily that it was 16 was too young as far as it goes, it was just kind of the Tobacco issues that rose up and a couple of other things. But, it¿s just one of those things where you look back now and you kind of go, well, it set me back, but it gave me a lot of great experience that I needed before I got jumped in here, too.

QUESTION: Young kids in Vegas are inspired by you. Are you aware of that inspirational factor there is for you this season for young people around the country, and do you have a lot of mail and stuff that reflects that to you?

Kyle Busch: I¿m definitely realizing it every day. I mean, to not only be here and have the great opportunity that I do with Hendrick Motorsports, and of course Lowe¿s and CARQUEST, the great folks that are behind there. I definitely do realize there are plenty of kids out there, and I could be an ¿idol¿ or a ¿hero,¿ sort of say maybe, years down the road. It definitely shows myself that it¿s been a lot of hard work to get up here, and it definitely sets in that all the hard work that you¿ve done, it definitely means something for not only yourself, but of course for other kids that are down the road just looking up to you and seeing how well you¿re doing and what you¿re doing on how you get there and how you handle yourself, too. It definitely makes it worthwhile to be here, not only just for myself but for all those other people out there as well, too.

QUESTION: Talk about the growth of NASCAR in Las Vegas. How big has NASCAR gotten the last few years, compared to other things going on there?

Kyle Busch: It¿s really gotten huge. Way back when when my dad was running at Craig Road Speedway it was just a little quarter-mile racetrack you¿d go to and kind of mess around on the weekends. Ever since they¿ve opened up the new speedway, and ¿The Bullring¿ at Las Vegas, the big track then got built, then NASCAR came to town, IRL came to town, it¿s definitely been growing ever since. I believe the first Busch race was in 1997, it was, and Jeff Green won that race. Everybody was ecstatic that the NASCAR Busch Series was in Las Vegas, Nev. Who¿d have ever thought? But then in 1998, NASCAR announced that the NEXTEL Cup Series was coming to be coming to town, and that just jazzed everybody up. That place has been sold out, I believe, every single year that NASCAR has been to town. It definitely shows you that there is more action, and there are more things to do,  than just to hang out downtown and on ¿The Strip.¿ It definitely kept not only myself, but my brother and all the other racing kids in Las Vegas, out of a lot of trouble that they could probably go get into with all their friends at school. You know, go downtown and hang out or whatever. But racing definitely becomes a part of our blood, and you want to keep racing and doing the best job that you can, so you don¿t have time to go do that kind of stuff.

QUESTION: You¿re a young kid yourself. Do you find it at all overwhelming to know that youngsters are looking to you as far as a hero, a mentor or what have you?

Kyle Busch: Well, I would say that they probably look to me because I¿m the closest relation to what their age is. Just seeing how I act and what I do is probably more of how they¿re going to act and what they¿re going to do. It definitely makes me realize more that there¿s not only a lot of young kids looking up towards me, but it also shows me that I kind of need to do what I need to do as far as racing my cars and acting the way that I need to act as well, too. It definitely proves that it¿s not only adults that are just watching you, but it¿s young children and other teenagers or whatever, if you will, that are watching in order to see what they have to do to get up to the big ranks.

QUESTION: Can you compare and contrast yourself and your brother as racers and as people?

Kyle Busch: I¿d like to say that we¿re great racers and we¿re great people, but there¿s a lot of other people that know us, too, that know us as that, but there¿s a quite a few people that don¿t know us that would say differently. We¿ve definitely been brought up the same way, from Las Vegas, Nev., with the same parents. We even went to most of the same schools. There¿s definitely been a big learning experience on things that you do in order to grow up and come up through and become professional race car drivers, but you just kind of sit back and realize what exactly brought you up here, and you just kind of have to think about it and realize that you¿re not only here for the long haul, but the way you¿re brought up was definitely a good way.

QUESTION: Describe yourself as a racer, describe your style.

Kyle Busch: I¿d have to say that I¿m more towards the cautiously aggressive side. You want to go out there and be aggressive and do the best job that you can do every week in and week out. Also, you want to be cautious about it, too, so you don¿t get yourself into a lot of  trouble, as far as on the racetrack. I¿d have to say that being able to be that kind of driver just shows that you can definitely be fast and be aggressive, but you also have to be caution and know exactly what could happen if you get yourself in a certain situation.

QUESTION: Were you able to learn from some of your brother¿s mistakes?

Kyle Busch: Oh, definitely I was able to do that. Growing up and racing in Las Vegas with him and seeing how he raced and what mistakes he made on the racetrack, I was able to learn from those and not try to do the same things that he did that would get him into a little bit of trouble as far as getting into wrecks and stuff. The more the he got up into the ranks and the better he did, I was always watching and learning from him. Not only him, but the other drivers, too. To have him as a teacher and a mentor, with me being the follower to him, it definitely makes it where it¿s a lot easier for me, because I have the close connection to him where I can go up to him and I can talk to him about certain things and ask him about certain situations, where he can give me his response back and I can realize it and understand it a little bit more.

QUESTION: Coming up in a racing family, was there ever a consideration of another career outside of racing itself?

Kyle Busch: When I was really young, in like sixth grade, I was probably wanting to be a baseball player, because that¿s what I was doing at the time. As I got a little bit older and saw what Kurt was doing in the racing scene and saw how much fun he was having and how well he was doing, it definitely set in that hey, maybe I can be doing exactly what he¿s doing and be just as good as he is. I kind of wanted to try the racing thing, and if it didn¿t work out, I was always working on the race cars, so I could either be a part of a race team or work on them, or I could kind of just go back and either go to college and try to get a scholarship or something like that and become a baseball player, or even have to go get a real nine to five job such as a lawyer or something like that.

QUESTION: Realistically, what would spell success for you this year in your seven NEXTEL Cup races?

Kyle Busch: Pretty much, to try and go out there and make every race. That¿s our first goal, to get int. Then, just to try and make every lap. I mean, if I can go out there and make every lap in a NEXTEL Cup race, that would be awesome for me, just because the series is so darn tough. You know, maybe there¿s a couple of chances where we can squeak out with a top-10 finish, or a top-15 finish. Even if you want to go so far to say that, knocking on wood, you can get a top-five finish, maybe we can do that. We¿re definitely going to set our goals realistically and just try to the best job we can and run every lap and be competitive.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much for joining us, and wish you the best of luck this weekend.

Kyle Busch: I appreciate it very much, and thank you.