NASCAR's Kentucky 400 Winning Team Press Conference

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post race press conference Kentucky Speedway

An Interview With:Kyle Busch, Dave Rogers and Joe Gibbs


KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our post race winning team here at Kentucky Speedway. Joining us up front is driver Kyle Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers, and team owner is Coach Joe Gibbs.

Congratulations, Kyle. This is your 27th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, your second win here at Kentucky Speedway just this weekend. It's your 99th National Series win. I believe, if I'm right, the next one will be 100, right? That's pretty impressive, Kyle. Crew chief Dave Rogers, congratulations. Joe Gibbs, congratulations.

Race winner Kyle Busch
Race winner Kyle Busch

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Kyle, talk about winning the inaugural race here at Kentucky Speedway. You were asked that earlier on Friday. It's got to be a big deal.

KYLE BUSCH: It certainly is. It feels awesome to be able to come out here and run the way we did, to unload the way we did off the hauler. Dave and all the guys, all the engineers back in the shop did a phenomenal job with our racecar and be fast right out of the gates. Feels good about that.

Didn't have many adjustments to make, just fine-tuned on it through the weekend. It was definitely a special event here this weekend. We felt the energy. We saw the people. It was awesome to be able to bring it home in front of all the Toyota folks that we have here as well, too. The Camrys are built right here in Kentucky. It's a special night for us to put Camrys in Victory Lane, and David Reutimann finishing second.

It was a fun race. There were some exchanges on restarts with Keselowski and Stewart and Johnson. We were all racing back and forth a little bit. My brother led early. It was certainly a fun night for us. Couldn't be happier to be here in Victory Lane.

This one ranks right up there with the best of them. I haven't won any of the big races, unfortunately, yet. But, you know, it ranks right up there with Las Vegas being another of my prestigious wins that I feel like I've accomplished so far.

KERRY THARP: Crew chief Dave Rogers, what are some of the things you might have had to do, and let's go back to the test on Thursday. How important was that test and how were you able to take what you learned Thursday and apply it to getting into Victory Lane tonight?

DAVE ROGERS: Like Kyle said, the engineers did a great job. We came off the truck really close to setup. Sometimes that's bad. We came off the truck really close. Actually sat out a little bit, wanted to give Kyle a breather. We let Denny get in the car and drive it, see how he liked it.

Then Kyle went and drove the 20 car for a while. We started playing driver swap so the crew chiefs could compare notes down the road.

Then when we got back in the car, got Kyle back in the car, some teams had made some progress and started going faster than us and we started playing catch-up.

But Kyle did a good job during test day of talking about what he was going to need to race. We didn't focus on our lap times practicing, we focused on what we needed to race. Gave me some good feedback after the truck race, made adjustments to our primary car yesterday morning.

We were off in speed a little bit, but the car was doing one thing only, which is a good thing. Made some adjustments this morning. During the race, we didn't do much to it. Took a little wedge out nearly every stop, but that's about it.

I think Kyle did a great job of dialing this team in while we were here Thursday and Friday.

KERRY THARP: Kyle, it's your third win of the season. Also now you're the points leader by four over Carl Edwards.

Coach Gibbs, talk about this race team. Certainly exhibited a lot of resiliency out here this evening. I know being the coach that you are, that had to be pleasing to you.

JOE GIBBS: I think Kyle and Dave will both tell you it's at total team sport. When I watch these guys going over the wall, that group is awesome, I got to tell you. Dave made great calls. Certainly the whole team performed extremely well.

I talked to Kyle before the race. He said, Hey, there's about seven, eight cars that are right there together. He says, I don't know who's gonna win this. That's really the way it panned out. There were a number of good cars, very close racing.

One thing I really want to emphasize is this: this crowd, I was out there coming back in from hospitality, honestly, they were 30 abreast trying to walk up to get in the stadium. They were coming over the top of the hills. This is fun to be at a place like this. It was exciting. Everything was packed. I went out and signed a few autographs out at a video truck we had. The people were just great.

Victory lane: race winner Kyle Busch
Victory lane: race winner Kyle Busch

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Hats off to this area, the racing, people in this area, everybody that was here, everybody that couldn't get here. We appreciate being here. I think it's a huge deal. I appreciate NASCAR and everybody, Bruton, everybody that helped us get to this part of the country to race.

KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for Kyle, Dave, or Coach Gibbs.

Q. Kyle, that last restart, how much did you think Jimmie had for you? Did you think David Reutimann tie Jimmie at all and give you a chance to get away?

KYLE BUSCH: Did Jimmie and them come get tires on that one restart? I knew he had fresher rubber than I did for a restart. I tried to do the best I could at being able to get a good restart. But I overshot my acceleration just by a little bit and spun my tires a fuzz. That allowed him to get a little bit of momentum on me.

He got a good start. We had to race down into turn one side-by-side rather than me getting a jump on him. I was just hoping that the outside lane would prevail, I could get a run through there, carry my momentum and clear him down the backstretch, race him into turn three.

It was certainly a tense moment there for a second. But after I took the white, I saw the 00 coming on the 48 and getting there to make a move on him. I was like, C'mon, Reuty. If you start racing him and hold him up, that's going to help me. I cannot just cruise through turns three and four but concentrate on hitting my marks rather than seeing if somebody would get in my mirror.

It was awesome also to have a Camry come home 1-2. Home state of where the Camry is built.

Q. Kyle, did I hear you say in Victory Lane you're staying overnight and heading out tomorrow?

KYLE BUSCH: That's right.

Q. That makes you not only the fastest man on the track, but the smartest man.

KYLE BUSCH: I had this planned long ago, not thinking about what transpired here tonight. Seems like I'm pretty smart, I guess. I'm just falling into the lucky category.

Q. Kyle, you've won in four different series at this track, led a lot of laps. Talk about what it is about this track.

KYLE BUSCH: I wish I knew, you know. It's certainly a driver's racetrack. There's a lot of characteristics here with all the bumps, the way you have to run the line around, whether it's the bottom or whether it's the second lane, where the bumps are, figuring out that, whether you go through them or around them. Certainly it makes for an interesting setup, having to talk to your guys, having to work around a shock package or springs that will help your car that will make your car handle best through the turns, over the bumps. You take all that into consideration, do the best you can.

I've been fortunate enough to work with great people over the years and have won in all three of the NASCAR series as well as the ARCA series here when I was 17 or 18 years old.

Q. Kyle, can you talk about the beginning of the race there when you and Kurt were running side-by-side several laps, how that felt.

KYLE BUSCH: There at the start of the race, I started on the pole, outside of the front row. The 42 was on my outside. Kurt started third. Kurt got a good jump on the start, got underneath me coming through turns three and four. I was a little bit tight to begin with this evening. Just got a good run on him. Led the first lap to the last 30 laps still we got to the pit stops. It was a race from there.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

We started running together again. I think I got by him, took off and led much of the rest of the race.

It was fun being able to race with him. Having him stay up there all night. I don't know where those guys finished, I couldn't tell you if they finished well. It would have been cool for him and I to race each other out there like myself and Jimmie Johnson. All in all, you know, it was fun in the beginning. It was good that we were able to win.

Q. You said, Way to go, Reutimann, at the end. Given your history, were you surprised he almost blocked Jimmie to give you the lead? 199 wins, has that begun to sink in, what that means, what kind of accomplishment that is for a 26-year-old?

KYLE BUSCH: No. It was, Way to go Reutimann, just being able to come home second, bring a Camry home in first and second place tonight, beat Jimmie. He did help hold up Jimmie a little bit there through the last turn in order to just kind of solidify our win a little bit more, but also to get himself a good finish. Those guys deserve it. They've been working hard. Maybe haven't been running as well as they would have liked to this year.

Dave works really, really well with their crew chief. Reutimann and I have squared everything away. We're all good there. Talk quite a bit. So that was really good for those guys.

You know, 199 -- I wish I was 199, but 99 is certainly cool. It's definitely one of my goals. Whether it's an important one or not, you know, to me it's something that I want to do, it's something that Dave is passionate about in helping me do, Joe Gibbs, all of Joe Gibbs Racing as well. We're working as hard as we can to get as many as we can, whether it's Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or Camping World Trucks. It feels a lot better when they're Sprint Cup wins.

Q. After you got by Kurt, you just seemed to get stronger as the race went on. How confident were you that you had the car to beat tonight?

KYLE BUSCH: I was pretty confident that we were the car to beat. Whether you stay the car to beat is the next question because how long this race is, how you change from daytime to twilight to nighttime, the track goes through a lot of different changes.

Dave had to do a lot of thinking on his own that I was telling him the car is good, but he would still make a change knowing what the track is going to do. That's just experience. Knowing this racetrack pretty well, for us it worked well. We kept up with it.

We stayed up front all the night, made it seem easy, but certainly it wasn't. There at the end there was a couple tense moments, but we prevailed.

Q. You take the points lead tonight, which doesn't mean a heck of lot at this point in the season. This is a mile-and-a-half track, the bread and butter of the schedule that determines championship contenders. Do you take any confidence out of this?

KYLE BUSCH: Sure. That's something that Dave and I have talked about and looked at and know that we need to get better at our mile-and-a-half program. The 11 was certainly really good at it last year. We've been looking a lot at their stuff, trying to figure out why, what we were doing differently that we could do better to run up front with those guys.

We had it here tonight certainly. It was really good to figure this place out in Kentucky. But, you know, the next steps are, of course, going to be the Chase races that are the mile-and-a-half's, like Chicago and Texas, Charlotte is in there, Homestead is in there. Those places we've run well at in the past, but maybe not on a consistent basis. It would certainly be nice to know that we're figuring things out.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Q. Kyle, I know you want to win next week or maybe at ORP, but how cool would it be if you could get win 100 at the Brickyard since you haven't won there?

KYLE BUSCH: I'm hoping it comes at Loudon, sorry. Certainly whenever the next one is, I'll be cherishing it just as much as I did the last one.

To me, I don't want to wait that long for win 100. Hopefully we get the opportunity to run up front again and, you know, have a chance to win some other races before we get to the Brickyard.

Brickyard is still a little ways off. Maybe we can talk about 104 or something by then.

Q. Kyle, not a lot of passing tonight behind you. That being said, compared to other tracks you visited this season, how important was track position tonight?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, certainly it's an important racetrack to have track position, to start up front. There were a few cars that came from the back up to the middle part. A couple guys from the middle that maybe moved up to the top eight or something like that.

But, you know, up front, it seems like it's a lot harder to pass. There were times when I was gaining -- the 2 would get out on me and I would kind of gain on him once we got to traffic. I felt my car was better in traffic. This place is so wide and you carry so much momentum, you're on the throttle for so long that there's really not much time for you to gain on the next guy in front of you, you know.

The track was roughly two-and-a-half-lanes wide, running on the bottom two-and-a-half lanes because the top was a little slick. Whatever grind they did up top seemed to hurt it, I think, rather than help it.

You know, we'll see what transpires here. I've heard rumors of repaving this place. Hopefully they ask us before they do it.

Q. Coach Gibbs, you've been in the sport, you've seen some other inaugural races. With a sellout like this, if that continues down the road here at Kentucky, do you see this becoming one of the more marquee events on the schedule?

JOE GIBBS: I look at all of them as marquee events from the standpoint, this area, you're coming to it for the first time. I remember the very first time we came here and raced the Nationwide. I think it's an exciting area. I look at all of America as kind of our playground. I think this place is special and different.

I don't look at any one particular place. Obviously we start with Daytona, that's a huge deal for us. But I look at all the other parts of the country, it's unique getting a chance to go there, display our sport, getting a chance to be a part of that culture and that community.

Touring the race shops in Charlotte. We chart where the people are from. They're from all over. We appreciate that. So I look at each one of them as special and different.

KERRY THARP: Congratulations to Kyle, Dave, and Coach Gibbs on tonight's inaugural win in Kentucky.

By: nascar