Chicagoland: Winning team press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: When Jimmie passed you with 16 laps to go, you said on the radio, "Race over." I guess not. Why would you give up like that, I guess, and did you is surprise yourself with being able to come back and win? KYLE...

Continued from part 1

Q: When Jimmie passed you with 16 laps to go, you said on the radio, "Race over." I guess not. Why would you give up like that, I guess, and did you is surprise yourself with being able to come back and win?

KYLE BUSCH: Did I surprise myself? Yes. Without that caution, the race was over. I mean, just judging by what was in front of me and what I knew at that given particular point, the race was over. Jimmie was going to lead us to that checkered flag without that caution.

So when that caution came out, it kind of changed everything, and just trying on that restart doing whatever I could to get back by him. The car stuck on the outside and I just drove it for all that it was worth and gave it everything I had, and I know Jimmie gave it everything he had. If the roles were reversed he would have done the exact same thing and I probably would have been pretty TO'd.

It's good to be in this position rather than his, and I've been in his position before; he's been in my position plenty of times before, too. There's role reversals all the time and fortunately for us tonight, you know, the lords were praying down on us.

Q: Has there been a time where you said, "race over," or you thought it in a type of situation, and have you had a situation like that where you maybe thought it and came back and won?

KYLE BUSCH: Not really. I mean, typically last year and the year before, whenever we saw Jimmie Johnson coming with about 100 to go, 80 to go, 50 to go and he would take the lead, I was always like, "Race over," and he would go on to win and I was pretty much right.

I think this is the first time I said "race over" and Jimmie Johnson didn't win. You know, sometimes things change and that's why you never give up in this sport, I guess and you always keep working.

And there's guys that are running tenth or 15th that could some day probably just go out there and whoop our butt every week. That's why we have to keep ahead of everything. We weren't the best car out there tonight especially during some runs and we have to make our car to make it more "mo" better I guess, to be able to go out there and compete and try to lead more and win.

Q: Last year you mentioned this, too: Jimmie Johnson passes everybody by and it's race over. Tonight the story that probably 80 percent of the people was: Jimmie Johnson says not so fast Kyle Busch; I'm still a two time defending champion, yada, yada, yada; was this a sort of you and him stare down? Because he's won the championship the last two years and you've been the story this year. Could this be a race we go back to and say, right there is sort of where the gauntlet was thrown down?

KYLE BUSCH: I don't think so. I mean, we can go on into Charlotte, Texas, Atlanta, anywhere, I mean, anywhere from here on out and I could be leading the final restart and Jimmie do the same thing right back to me. He's got experience at that.

So for me to just think that it's going to boil down to us two, that's silly. We have others guys to worry about: Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, everybody; Denny and Tony, I'm sure they will have some good runs in the Chase.

You know, Jimmie, being a defending champion I have ultimately the most respect for him, Jeff Gordon, anybody in this sport and to go out and beat guys like that, it's something that's pretty special and I really cherish that. And being able to have the competitive nature that I have just to go out there and try to see wins and get wins, it's all about it.

Q: Do you think having intimate knowledge of being around Jimmie and that organization for three years, that you kind of expect or have a better idea of what he's going to do? Do you feel like you have a better idea that you can defend what he's going to do, had you not spent the last several years at Hendrick?

KYLE BUSCH: In this case it didn't really help me much, but in other cases, yeah, it really helps out, because I know sometimes what they do at restrictor plate tracks; I know what they are going to do at restarts there at restrictor plate tracks, not tonight.

There are sometimes where you're not sure exactly what's going to happen and, tonight you just had to think it all through and play it out by ear. You could have planned that restart 100 different ways, and it could have turned out so different. Fortunately for us, it was the right way to do it and put us in the right place.

Q: I know it's hard to quantify it, but is this the most satisfying or the best win of the season for you, just the way you did it?

KYLE BUSCH: Not necessarily. I think Infineon was a big one. I think Talladega was a big one, and even Atlanta, just being the first one for Toyota and first one for me at JGR and stuff.

This was a big one. I felt like it was a great chance for me to get out there and beat the two time defending champion and being able to out race him or out duel him in the final two laps and get the job done.

I know there's going to be plenty of more times where it will be reversed and I'll have somebody doing that to me. But you know, it feels pretty good to be on the other side of it for once.

Q: Can you talk about how you became so good at these restarts? When you were younger, you probably focused on it; talk about getting to this point where you're just darned good at these restarts.

KYLE BUSCH: Well, I mean, you try throughout the years my dad was probably my biggest influence on restarts and helping me. You know, there's some keys to it that help you out and I'm not going to tell you. I'll keep those for myself and for my dad, he'll know.

Besides that, it's just about anticipation. It's about visualizing something that's not yet there, but just trying to think of all the different scenarios that can happen, and with all the different type of racing that I've done over the years, whether it's been dirt or legends cars, late models, everything, there's been so many different types of restarts that I've ever had that ultimately, you know, you start to see a trend or you start to see something, and you know, very rarely do you see something that hasn't happened yet.

But you know, there's still plenty of times I'm sure I can learn something more. Just having the right anticipation and being able to get it through the gears right.

Q: Can you talk about where you tapped the wall during turn four or nudged it; what happened and did it affect your car in any way?

KYLE BUSCH: Just loose off. We couldn't get the loose off out of it. I think I was leading. A few laps later, I don't know, ten, 15 laps later Carl came by me there. I was just over driving the car a little bit, not getting it down in the corner and bottom of the racetrack and getting the four tires stuck to the track before I would accelerate; and when I would not do that and accelerate I would be all over the racetrack on the exit and I just slid up too high and just nudged the wall there.

I don't think it really affected much or changed it much. Once I calmed down and cooled the right rear tire down when Carl got by me there, I got back into a rhythm.

Q: For a long time, the 18 was kind of the bread and butter of Joe Gibbs Racing. I was wondering if you could just talk about not just with JD and Joe, but the guys on the team, what they are feeling like this season to have the team back as the No. 1 team at Gibbs.

KYLE BUSCH: All I see are smiles, man. They are just so ecstatic. That's great to see and that's a great feeling for me to have guys that can get as worked up as I can about racing. And you know, not just because we are winning and we are running well; we are communicating and talking and working well with each other and we are able to be friends off the racetrack, too, and go out and celebrate, have a good time, and yet still focus on what the job and the task at hand.

That's the best part, and I mean, there's so many great guys and girls at Joe Gibbs Racing that work there, and work so hard every week. And whether they are in the marketing department, the machine shop, anywhere at Joe Gibbs Racing, they are there for a reason and that's to win and win championships.

So for me to get there and for this thing to be as special as it is this year is just great, because it means so much to those guys, not just to me but to those guys and their families to know that their hard work is finally paying off.

And Tony had a great run tonight, too. I want to say that; that he looked really, really strong and I thought he was going to be the Job Gibbs car here tonight to beat. Unfortunately, I don't know if they made an adjustment that didn't work out or what but still, he had a good run.

Q: You sounded so humble on the radio after you won, is this season, what's going on, having that effect on you?

KYLE BUSCH: It is. I don't know how to put it, but it's just so different I guess, you know, with being able to win one race a year or two races a year, you know, you try so hard and yet you get so down on yourself because you can't and now this year, it's just like, wow, this is something that's crazy. You know, this doesn't come along very often.

I know Jimmie won I think ten races the past two years and Jeff's done it in the past, and you know, this to me, I never dreamed of it for myself. You always see it happen with somebody else and you feel good about them being able to do that and Jimmie last year, you know, I was over there and I was just like, man, what do we have to do to get some wins here, he's just taking them all.

Now that that feeling has come upon me, I know how he felt you have to stay humble and yet stay hungry and go out there and do what you can in order to survive in these races and to survive up front and try to win. Somehow, it's paying off and it's working out and I'm just so proud of the effort.

Q: You've won some races this year with great cars and great driving, tonight you got some luck on your side. Are you starting to feel this is a charmed season for you; do you have a gut feeling going here that this may be the one?

KYLE BUSCH: I really don't know. I mean, I think somebody said to me last week, do you feel like you're going to wear it out, you know, because Jeff Gordon I guess, he had the beginning of the year the first 26 races just sewn up and was gone, and then in the final ten, he finished second in points, which wasn't bad, but he didn't just quite had the luck or spark that he had in the first 26.

I'm hoping we don't lose it. There's definitely been some luck in this first part of the season. You know, you've got to have some of that to win some of these races. Some people say you would rather be good than lucky. Some people say would you rather be lucky than good. I would rather have a little bit of both and be able to go out there and capitalize with all of it on your side.

THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thank you, and congratulations.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing