Fontana II: Winning team race interview, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q</I>: You were talking about your grandmother there in victory lane, how nervous she was? KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah, grandma. She probably was 50 million times worse than I was inside the race car. It just comes...

Continued from part 1

Q</I>: You were talking about your grandmother there in victory lane, how nervous she was?

KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah, grandma. She probably was 50 million times worse than I was inside the race car. It just comes down to that point, I remember watching Kurt race in the Truck series days when he first started in Cup and stuff and he's had good runs and stuff and sitting there and grandmother would be watching and stuff like that and I would be cheering him on and if something bad happened or a caution came out and he's leading or something like that, she would throw her arms up in the air, "gosh darn it, what are we going to do here, let's get something to go right here once that while." I knew her nerves were just absolutely rolling. I just wanted to tell her I knew that and I was thinking of her during the race and I knew how I was feeling in the race car and how she was sitting at home. I bet she wasn't even sitting, the dogs were probably barking; probably wore out right now.

Q</I>: This is the first win for the 5 and 25, winning in the five car, what that means to you, can you talk about that a little bit?

RICK HENDRICK: I guess the last couple of years, we would say the 48 and the 24 run so well and the 5 was our first car, my first number. And again Ricky and I talked about it and designed a shop, put our offices in there and we got Brian Weitzel who was an architect really of the 24/48 coming together. When we put the two teams together, we promised him a bonus when they won their first race and they worked together as one big team with two cars.

You know, to see both cars run well this year, you know, it's really outstanding. I mean, looking at the youth with Alan and Kyle and Brian and Lance and then Brian Weiztel, it means a lot because we know the equipment is the same, and these guys have really just done an unbelievable job. I didn't know it would come together as quick as it has this year. 5 was kind of the car that was my rookies and 25 and those two cars, Pop's and Ricky's, they are here, BCI has done a super, super job.

Q</I>: Kyle, did you talk to Kurt?

KYLE BUSCH: He came over and got in the window and said "congratulations, I know how it feels," and he asked me how it felt and I just told him, I can't believe it. I mean, it's kind of like this championship, we shared emotions there, we couldn't believe it that he was able to come through on that day and I was able to come through today. I also told him it was a blast racing with him, it's so much fun racing with him and Matt Kenseth, the 9 car was up there a little bit and of course the 6 as well. It's just so neat to be able to race those guys and Kurt and I traded positions a little bit and I was getting aggravated and finally took off, and I had to chase him back down and wasn't quite able to do that. That's the answer to that question, but I want to talk one second about what Rick had to say. He came up to us at the beginning part of the year and told the team, Brian Vickers and myself or the crew chief, we're not in on that, we're not in on that award. Rick will give $100,000 to the team if we're able to win a race with 5. If the 25 wins as well that's another one 100,000 or both of us were able to get in the race to the NEXTEL Cup. We know that's out now but that was going to be another $100,000. So the guys all had a chance to win $500,000 including the 44 if they were able to win a race.

Q</I>: One of the perks of being the winner is that you don't have to worry about the shootout, you're in the Nextel All-Star Challenge.

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, exactly. I finally thought about what when I was giving the speed interview, so overwhelmed here, not thinking straight about anything. The coolest thing, I don't have to worry about the Nextel All-Star Challenge. I'm in that thing. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully will be able to get a piece there next year like we have this year.

Q</I>: As thrilling as the win was tonight with this team, the 24 team had struggles again, outside the Chase; what do you think needs to be turned around?

RICK HENDRICK: I can't get a break. I can't keep the bumpers together. You know, it's driver comfort and searching for different setups, and you know, I think all of the ingredients are there, the setups tonight, they looked okay, not as good as Kyle down the stretch or even Brian. We just got to go back to the drawing board.

You know, really when we run like we ran tonight, we don't need to be in the chase. It won't make any difference. If you can't be in it and win it or have a shot at it, you know, I think it's more important for us to find the handle and get the momentum back in these last ten and I think we've been trying some different things and trying to get Jeff the feel that he wants and we just have to go figure it out. All of those pieces are there, these two cars running well and we share everything, setups and the whole deal, just have to get that feel that the drivers want. So we've got some work to do.

We started off so well and we had this terrible luck, you know, run going and wrecking, running second out here and wrecking a motor. That team shouldn't be -- that's what's driving us nuts right now, we'll fix it. We talked, we've got a lot of good people and we'll just kind of suck it up and go to work.

Q</I>: Kyle, when you're young and talented, there's a tendency that you want to win so bad that you stick your nose in and try everything that you possibly can, but when you do that, first of all -- you try everything, and patience is -- are you still going through trying to curb your aggressiveness on the racetrack?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, being a rookie you try to find all of the edges you possibly can so you can get it out of the way. The tough races are putting yourself -- either wrecking or getting loose, spinning back and doing whatever you do. Here today, I was able to have a piece where it was underneath me and tonight was on the restarts, Jeff let me go on the straightaway and I thought that was awfully nice. I would rather pass him the right way but you always try to learn as much as you can and week in, week out you learn so much, like here tonight, I didn't really have a good line in practice, I didn't really have a good line in qualifying and screwed ourselves up there. And here tonight I was just running around there a good part of the race and kind of clicked on something and I just kept on digging with it and it kept on working and I stayed with it. It's just one of those deals where I was able to find that luck for me and it worked good enough where I was able to keep it up front.

Q</I>: I can remember when you came on as screw chief and they were like, "who is that kid who is crew chief," and we often celebrate the driver who wins, but this is a big win for you, too, will you walk taller in the garage now that you have your win?

ALAN GUSTAFSON: I don't want to think that I will. It's so much of a team sport and Mr. Hendrick should be the one walking tall because he gives us the opportunity. It speaks volumes of Hendrick Motorsports that a rookie crew chief and driver can come in here and win. The chassis department, all of those 500 employees, that's what makes this so special, that is what makes this so good. That's why you tee these running better, I count my blessings every day that I have it and just proud to represent Kelloggs and Hendrick Motorsports.

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Brian Vickers
Teams Hendrick Motorsports