There’s no hotter driver in motorsports today than Kyle Busch, who currently leads the Sprint Cup Series point standings by 142 points after 13 races entering Sundays’ NASCAR race at Pocono.

Busch has driven his Toyota Camry to four victories this year, including three in the last five races. And that’s just in the Sprint Cup Series. He also has four Nationwide Series victories and two NASCAR Truck victories this season. Unfortunately Busch’s hot streak ended at Pocono where an early crash doomed him to last-place finish.

But when he’s not busy traveling from race to race—he competed in all three NASCAR races this weekend in three different states–Busch relaxes by playing videogames. He recently attended the EA Sports NASCAR 09 launch party at Whisky River in Charlotte to check out the new game. (The game will be available on June 11.)

What games did you play growing up?

I was a big Nintendo guy growing up with the Super Mario Bros. games and all of that stuff. Over the years I became interested in computer gaming with the Papyrus games like NASCAR Racing 3 and now I play Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I played mostly racing games growing up.

Did you get into the Mario Kart games?

Oh year. There was definitely some Mario Kart going on with my brother {fellow NASCAR driver Kurt]. We played almost every night after dinner when we weren’t too busy working in the garage or something.

Who was the better gamer, you or your brother?

I’d say we were both pretty good. We’d both beat up on each other pretty good. I guess it just depended on who’s day it was.

When it comes to the racing games, how far have the racing games come?

They get better and better each year. Years ago they were just racing games and they weren’t necessarily what real racing was like. But now with the 360 and the PlayStation 3, the graphics are pretty good. The driving simulation isn’t as close as the real thing is. You try to race NASCAR 08 from EA Sports you go down a straightaway and you spin out, which isn’t very realistic.

They actually fixed that with NASCAR 09.

They need to have some of us racecar drivers try out the game beforehand, I guess.

Have you ever heard of NASCAR drivers trying out a new track in a game before driving it in real life?

I’ve heard of it. NASCAR Racing 3 is the game that everybody’s still using. They’ve continued to support that game with new codes and set-ups that include the new cars through patches to make it more realistic. I haven’t played that game in a long time, probably since I was 16 years old.

Do you think the hand-eye coordination necessary for videogames helps with driving a real car?

It helps a little bit. It keeps your senses going and keeps you on top of your game. Playing sports and playing videogames as a kid really helped me keep everything together and kept me trained to what my hands and feet were doing at all times.

How popular are videogames within NASCAR?

They’re pretty popular. Just about everybody has a system in their motor home, whether it’s a 360 or a PS3 or a PSP.

What do you like to play?

I like the PlayStation 3. They have more options of games that I feel are better games like the Formula 1 game, MotorStorm and Dirt and the NASCAR game. I play a lot of football games like Madden and NCAA Football.

What role do you see the NASCAR videogames playing in growing your sport?

It’s great just to get that out in the public eye. Kids love it, so they pick them up and play them and they’ll look for the real thing in real life, whether that’s watching the races on TV or going to races. There are a lot of NASCAR families out there who like to play videogames, whether it’s father and son. I think videogames bring out the recognition of the sport in any sport that they’re made after.

What’s it like for you to see yourself in the NASCAR videogames?

It’s kind of weird. Most of the time I’ll pick somebody else to race against myself to see how well I do. I don’t ever race as myself in the games.