NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post race press conference Pocono Raceway
An Interview with: Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Kyle Busch. Kyle.
KYLE BUSCH: We had an awesome M&M’s Camry. The guys were flawless this weekend. We brought out a great car right off the truck and worked real hard at it. Certainly it was fast and was proving that for a little while. That last caution killed us. I just hated to see that. I was really hoping that we could go green the rest of the way. I felt like our car was fast out front when I can run my own pace and run my own line and then we had that restart, and I had been running lower in 1 and 2 all day so I figured that would be my choice just to stay low and I tried to get a good exit off of Turn 1 but Jimmie got alongside of me down the frontstretch and kind of bogged me down a little bit there on the restart, slowed me up. But we were able to go off into Turn 1 I think threewide and somehow I got outside. Got through it and then tried chasing down the 2. Just didn’t have enough. Kurt gave me a shot down the back there to help me clear Jimmie and that was my saving grace so I didn’t stuck back there battling with those guys. All in all, a great day to come home second but really disappointed that we couldn’t win here at one of my worst tracks, and in front of all of our M&Ms people that were here today and from nearby Hackettstown, and, you know, also getting that Sprint bonus deal for Atlanta. We'd like to get a win before that happens, and get some charity money and, of course, get some money for our race fans, too.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Kyle. Joining Kyle is Kurt Busch. Kurt drives the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge for Penske Racing. Solid performance out there, third place today.
He comes now into the championship standings fourth place in the points right now. Kurt, you led a lot of laps out there. Talk about, you had the rain delay, almost two-hour rain delay. Looked like you came back after that rain delay and that car was stronger than ever. And just talk about how things unfolded for you out there this afternoon.
KURT BUSCH: Today was definitely a hard-fought battle. Early on we were able to benefit from our good qualifying position and run up front, exchanged the lead back and forth a little bit with Logano and Hamlin. Running right there at third, fourth, fifth, just clicking away laps.
But we always start off good when the track's fresh, and then we just start to slide more and more and more as the track rubbers in.
And we were struggling just kind of hanging on to a top 10 spot. And the rains came, and we pitted right before the rain, at the time I thought my crew chief was crazy. That would have trapped us 26th if we didn't get it back underway.
But luckily we did. And it looked like the Penske guys were the smartest guys when it came to rain delay, because we came out of there 1-2 after that restart.
And, again, our car just took off on a fresh racetrack that wasn't rubbered in, and then the racetrack rubbered up really quick those last 60, 70, 80, laps and we were hanging on to it in the end, brought it home third. Good hard-fought battle for us, rooting for those two in front of me my teammate and my younger brother to wreck each other, but not to wreck each other. Of course I wanted both of them to win and I wanted to win. Anybody but the 48. And us three, we came home up front.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kurt or Kyle.
Q. Kyle, to what degree did you feel like a lion chasing down prey at the end of the race, since you didn't catch or beat Brad, how impressed were you with his performance?
KYLE BUSCH: Certainly they got track position on me and I could stay right with them but I couldn't get, anytime I got too close I'd lose the air off my car and I couldn't get a run on them. So I felt like if we would have got out front, I think I could have pulled away more than he pulled away from me but just a matter of thattrack position.
So certainly he gave it everything he had and played tough and did a good job. So it actually helps here, I think, to use less brake than more brake. So that might be beneficial to have a foot problem anytime you come to Pocono, in my opinion.
Q. Kurt, with what you overcame today to get back in the top 5 first of all, to any degree was the paint exchange with Jimmie Johnson, the way you beat him down, kind of I've had enough and I'm going to get through this day?
KURT BUSCH: Yeah, we had a good battle all day, and especially at the end with the 48.
But our car, it does really good with fresh tires and then as the track rubbers in, it's a battle. I can't explain it.
And thinking today, you know, we borrowed Brad Keselowski's setup. We put it in race morning. Went for it. And I could do nothing but smile all day to say thanks to a teammate and congratulations to him in victory lane, even with his sore foot.
Like Kyle said, sometimes you might want to use a little less brake here, and I can't, I couldn't just hold back the smile on my face to see those guys doing well.
And for us to beat the 48, I mean, we've had our battles. And a lot of times I come out on the short end of the stick. But what I saw today was good, hard racing, where one guy jukes at the other, the other guy jukes back and rubs you a little bit, that's racing. That's what race fans love to see. That's what they bought this ticket for. That's what they're sitting in the grandstands rooting on their favorite driver for is to see him get out there, mix it up clean and bring it home just like we were, third and fourth.
Q. Kurt, according to my notes, lap 1 you were three and a half seconds ahead, and you lost that all in about 12 laps, is that just -- does the car go away that fast or was there a specific problem?
KURT BUSCH: No, our car goes away that fast, crew chief reading off lap times when Kyle was behind us, he said you're four-tenths quicker, you're three-tenths quicker, two-tenths quicker, you're one-tenth, you're even, and it goes just that fast. It's just a tenth of a lap that I'm battling and I cannot figure out why.
So the rain delay really helped us today to get a top 5.
Q. Kurt, were you not upset at all with the way Jimmie raced, were you just upset with him coming to you and --
KURT BUSCH: Here we go, People Magazine. I'm glad you asked. We were racing hard. I think that's what we saw on TV and exactly that's what should be reported. There are a lot of times when the 22 is on the short end of the stick of the 48. And I raced him hard today. I'm glad I did. I have no regrets in it.
Q. Kyle, in response to Kurt's comments, would you like to see just as much of that and a little less give and take afterwards by the drivers?
KURT BUSCH: You wonder why we don't because we have to come in here and answer battled questions like this. Just accept it: It was great racing.
Q. On that same subject there?
KYLE BUSCH: I didn't see it. I didn't see it. I have no idea what happened.
Q. When there's bumping and banging, it's a natural thing to go on during the race, do you wish sometimes that drivers would just accept it as part of the show, putting on a good show, as Kurt said, and not have a problem with it after the fact?
KYLE BUSCH: Depends on how it is and where it is, who it is, all that kinds of stuff. Certainly those two may have a little bit of a history, for me, if it was Brad Keselowski and me, I'd probably be a little tweaked. But again I don't know what happened. But you'd expect it at Martinsville or Bristol or Richmond, those kinds of places. Not so much at two and a half mile or mile and a half stuff. We're going too fast.
Q. Kurt, can you talk about just the fact that you never gave up? I mean, even at a time when you guys opted to take a different tire plan than somebody else, but you were frustrated but you just didn't let it get to you and just kind of fought back for your position?
KURT BUSCH: That's what I try to do each and every week is give my best effort and not give up. No matter what comes at us. Some days it feels like we're just running an uphill battle and can't quite run the lap times that it takes.
I feel like we're a very good top 10 car. But we really have to work hard and find a unique way to get these top 5s. And so I'm never going to lay down behind the wheel. When I show frustration, people get excited oh wow he's lost focus just brought home another third place finish.
Q. Kyle, long day today, ran the two races, came up short in both. Is that frustrating to -- put in this long day and just miss out in both of them? Just kind of what your mood finishing second here two races today?
KYLE BUSCH: Certainly it's definitely frustrating. With the truck race we expected second. So that's not bad. But here, for as good as our M&M's Camry was today, we expected a little more than that.
Normally we're coming down and trying to beat the 11 car at the end, and lo and behold we have somebody come out of nowhere. I feel like he ran top 5, top 8 all day, I guess, but I didn't know that he was that good there at the end.
So certainly we wish we would have run or maybe made a little bit of an adjustment on that last pit stop to help it. But I think it's kind of ironic, the 2 won both races and the 18 finished second both races. Just a little weird, that's all.
Q. Kurt, we've seen how physically demanding this track is, and we've all seen the pictures of Brad's ankle. Can you give us some perspective as far as him racing his car to victory lane on that kind of a physical condition?
KURT BUSCH: That was like when Denny Hamlin had knee surgery won the week right after that. Those are moments in our sport that need to be documented as an ironman type day, as a day where somebody knew they weren't 100 percent physically prepared, but they went out there and overcame it mentally to win.
And it's amazing what the body can do. And for him to go through that wreck this week and to get back on his horse right away and find success, that's only going to make Brad Keselowski a better racer.
Q. Kyle, can you just describe, Kyle, after that penalty, how you made your way back up through the field so quickly?
KYLE BUSCH: It comes down to a great race car. Dave and the guys, like I said, we unloaded Friday really good. We were really good I felt off the truck and through the practice we made some changes spent most of our time in race trim. Qualifying well helped us getting that track position but then I ruined it. I just like coming from the back here, I guess, I might as well just start from there every time. But certainly we had a great car to be able to work our way through the traffic and come back up through there as quickly as we did and as smoothly as we did.
So I was kind of surprised by that, but, you know, felt really good about where our car was, when we did do that.
Q. Kyle, were you upset about that penalty?
KYLE BUSCH: For a moment. Certainly I felt like I slid across the commitment line before the caution came out, because I still heard guys racing behind me because my car was shut off. And then I heard cars lifting out of the throttle and slowing down. So I felt like we were across the line, but that's not for me to decide. I didn't see the film.
So NASCAR's got better judgment of that, and we have to leave it to them to police us and put us in the right spot.
Q. Were you surprised that he raced?
KYLE BUSCH: Who?
KYLE BUSCH: I sprained my ankle two years ago and had to go through the most retarded exam ever to make sure I could put weight on my foot. And I don't even know how Brad put weight on his foot today but he was walking around with a boot on and everything.
So, I don't know, mine was a tenth of the injury that his is, and I had to go through NASCAR physical inspection. I guess I had to make sure I fit templates. His doesn't.
KURT BUSCH: I was amazed that he raced the full race. My initial thought was we've got to get Sam Hornish, Jr. up here or Parker Kligerman to be on standby. Your first thought is you can swap out a driver here without losing a lap.
But this is a day that needs to be documented as Keselowski's win and not the feud between Busch and Jimmie, because what we do is just race hard on the track every week. And that's the way I'd like it to be documented, and if we watch the tape, we'll see that the 48 swerved into us first and I know that before even watching the tape.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.