BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch was one of Erik Jones’ biggest mentors as he came up through the racing ranks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Now that the two drivers are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, that mentor-student relationship has changed a bit.
“I’d like to think it’s still there, but he doesn’t use me as much anymore,” Busch said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway with a grin. “I don’t know if he thinks he knows everything or just doesn’t trust me.
He continued later, “He’s probably been around long enough that he’s comfortable with what he knows and what he’s doing and what he’s got going on with own team that he doesn’t pick my brain as much as he used to.”
Jones also spoke on their evolving relationship minutes later during his own media availability.
“In the Cup Series, I have asked him for help,” he said, smiling. “I still give him a call every once in a while, but I think the information is more shared now … I guess he’s not a full-on mentor like he was in Trucks and Xfinity but I still do ask him for help.”
Busch wasn’t going to let that go, though; he returned to the media center during Jones’ press conference and interrupted him mid-answer.
“How’s it going?” he asked Jones, holding up his phone to his ear and pretending to talk on it.
“It’s good, how was practice?” Jones said.
“I haven’t heard from you in a little while,” Busch said, grinning and exiting to a chorus of laughter.
“I don’t know why he’s gotta be like that,” Jones said, addressing the media again with a smile. “He’s bored.”