NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Watkins Glen International post-race transcript August 10, 2008 An Interview With: KYLE BUSCH STEVE ADDINGTON THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our winning race team here today. That's Kyle Busch, driver...
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Watkins Glen International post-race transcript
August 10, 2008
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our winning race team here today. That's Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota and his crew chief Steve Addington. Congratulations, gentlemen. This is Kyle's eighth victory in the 2008 season. He makes NASCAR history today as he becomes the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road courses in the top three national series in the same season, sweeps both of them in the Sprint Cup Series.
Kyle, you know, you just ran almost a flawless race out there. Your thoughts?
KYLE BUSCH: It was a great race for us, and this whole M&M's Toyota team and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing for all their help, thank those guys. You know, to be able to come out here to Watkins Glenn and start up front from the pole, we've got to thank the good Lord for raining down on us on Friday there; that made it easy. And just being able to have a good run here today, just being able to keep it up front and keep it on the track all but once and making all the shifts, it's just fun to be able to race on a road course because I have a good time doing it, enjoy being able to do it, and fortunately now I'm not too shabby at it, so it makes it even that much more fun.
THE MODERATOR: Steve, someone mentioned in your interview that you might have said that you won a race in three or four weeks and people thought you were in a slump. Your thoughts on the performance out there today of the No. 18 team?
STEVE ADDINGTON: As far as the team goes, I think that these guys worked their tails off this weekend. When we unloaded we weren't very good. We made great changes on the car. Kyle gave great feedback with what he needed in the race car, and those guys that work on that 18 car, they don't fuss or fight about what they have to do, they just work their butts off, and that's a big plus and that makes you feel good that you can ask them to do anything and they don't frown on it. Hats off to Wesley and that gang on that car, and they do an awesome job.
Today Kyle did an awesome job. We talked on the radio, keep to the red brakes where we needed them and keep them cooled off, and he did an awesome job, just drove away from everybody, and that was really cool to sit and watch.
Q: Kyle, for a guy who's supposedly in a slump, you've won out of the last seven races. This year you have 14 top 10s, 13 in the top five, and eight of them with wins. You're not very good at points racing, are you?
KYLE BUSCH: We're setting up for the Chase, man. We were setting up for the Chase from Daytona. I'm just kidding. It's just crazy the way everything has kind of come along this year, but we were fortunate it's come along on us. The good Lord is praying that we're able to keep our car up front every week. We've just been fortunate to run as well as we have at places and yet we've struggled at a couple others. We've got some work to do. I heard earlier today that the 48 has been testing like 18 times this year and stuff, and we've tested a couple places but nothing like that.
So we're looking forward to the next couple weeks. We've got some tests lined up and we're going to try to learn something and keep our mojo going and keep it going through and into the Chase.
Q: When you guys first sat down you kind of looked at each other like two frat boys out for the weekend at the beach like you can't believe that you're having such great fun and all the girls are coming in your direction. What's this ride like?
KYLE BUSCH: Shh, the girlfriend is outside.
Q: What's this ride like after a couple of weeks where there was maybe a little bit of, well, we might have been off our game a little bit. What's this ride like?
KYLE BUSCH: It's fun. I said from the beginning of the year that we just wanted to keep riding and keep going in the way that we have been, and fortunately we've been able to do that. Yeah, there's been a couple weeks where, yeah, you might fall back a little bit.
But you look at Pocono and we were running fourth before we ran out of gas. Whether we didn't get it full on that last stop or whatever, it was unfortunate there.
And then at Indy, we were running in the top 10 much of the day, top five, we led some, and probably had probably a fifth through tenth place car, and that's where we were going to end up coming out of that final pit stop but my guys got run over and launched underneath the car by the 88 so we just had to wait for them to get back out. We missed our shot there at a Top 10.
You've got to keep it going in the right direction, you've got to look at what you can do and what you've been able to do and just try to keep doing it.
Q: Kyle, Jeff Gordon was in here on Friday and said that you guys were showing weakness. What kind of statement is this in response to that?
KYLE BUSCH: It's a head game, and we're playing it. I mean, we're just out here to race our race and concentrate on making our car the fastest in practice and fastest in qualifying as best we can do and make it handle for happy hour and then go out there and try to race it and race with the rest of these guys.
The 48 is strong, we know he's strong. He's been strong since probably the sixth or seventh race of the year. It took him a little bit longer to get going.
The 99 car has been strong. He's probably been the best car season long at being able to run up front and capitalize on the big tracks and the big ovals and the flat tracks, too, so they've got something figured out.
We're working towards that. The 9 car, he's had his bright spots, and Tony, I wish he would get a win so everybody would quit asking him about it. You know, he's been close, I think second like four races or something like that this year.
You've just got to keep going, and those statements will be made, but you can't concentrate on that, you've got to concentrate on your effort.
Q: Talking about Tony Stewart's road racing prowess, he's sitting right behind you, it's going to be a five lap dash to the finish. What's going through your mind and can you take us through the restart?
KYLE BUSCH: I knew Tony was going to be good. I knew that I had to get a good restart, and then I knew getting down into Turn 1 I had to get down there far enough where he wasn't going to run on me and get to my inside and then concentrate on exiting that corner and then to the esses.
When I got a good restart I kind of mixed it up a little bit back and forth a little bit, whichever which way, and he didn't expect me to go that soon and when I did I got a good launch and just concentrated on my exit of Turn 1. I didn't get in there too hard, I didn't wheel hop it or nothing, I just blew the entry, and then just to get off the corner and get up through the esses and into the inner loop. That's probably where our race was won, just on that restart.
Q: You beat a legend of the Glen today. Near the end of the race were you looking in your mirror wondering if he was holding anything back and was there ever any doubt you were doing to beat him?
KYLE BUSCH: There was a little bit, not a lot. He kind of ran up on us in the middle part of the race, I don't remember when. But he was catching a little bit, just a couple tenths a lap or sometimes a half a second if I missed my mark. He was fast, so I knew he was going to be good.
When we got the lead and got out front there after we both came into our pits, we both came in together and we left together, and that was probably the winning the win right there is being able to beat him off Pit Road. And once we did that, I kind of got up through the esses a little bit better than him and we pulled away the last few laps, then he kind of gained on us, then we pulled away from there. So just hitting your marks and being smooth here is what it's all about, and Tony is obviously real good at that, and today we were, too.
Q: For both Steve and Kyle, just your thoughts waiting patiently through a nearly 45 minute rain delay while in the lead and having to think about what was going to happen after it was over.
STEVE ADDINGTON: My worry was we were on 26 lap tires and sitting out there and letting them cool down and running through the debris that was laying there from the wreck. So I was just a little nervous there, and after he got through Turn 1, I was like, okay, that's pretty good, good job, and he got going there from Tony. But a little nervous sitting there because you never know what you've got when you go off in that first corner after sitting there like that on the tires.
KYLE BUSCH: I was a little nervous just having Tony behind us and sitting there for so long whether the tires were going to have a flat spot in them from sitting there or whether the air pressures were built up on one side from the other and what you were going to do and how you were going to get good on the restart and when to turn the brake fans on and what to do when you get to Turn 1 if somebody is alongside you.
There's just so many thoughts to go through your mind and what you can try to visualize in your mind and see what you can do if it does happen.
Fortunately it was the easy way, and we were able to just get a good restart and get a good launch and pull away from there.
Q: Looking back now, with qualifying being rained out on Friday, it allowed you to start up front, and you started the race with track position. Looking back now, how important was the rain and your starting position?
KYLE BUSCH: Track position was important. We had a fast car. I felt like when the field got spread out there when it was going green for the first 35, 40 laps, whatever it was, the field was kind of spread out. Luckily we had the track position we did, but we were pretty quick, too, that we felt like maybe if we had to, we could pass some guys. But when you get to a guy and you don't get by him right away and you start following him, then you start learning his line and then you can't pass him because then you're trying to do something better than him, which is what he's already doing, and then you start over driving your car. Fortunately, we didn't have any of the that to go through, but still, I felt like we had a good car, one that was turning pretty good and one that was exiting the corners pretty good and one that we could pass if need be.
Q: For both of you guys, winning today clinches the top spot going into the Chase. What does that mean? And Kyle, you mentioned that you guys have a little bit of work to do. Does knowing you're going to have that cushion give you a little comfort going into those final ten races?
STEVE ADDINGTON: You know, it feels good to clinch a spot in the Chase to begin with after three years. The 18 car has been through a lot since I've been there. But you know, like I say, the 48 and the 9 and those guys have picked up their game, and I think we've got to get on top of it and we've got some stuff coming that we're going to try at testing. It feels good to go in on top, but it's a lot of work to stay there. This team will dig down deep, and I think that we'll be just fine, but we've got to work hard to get there.
KYLE BUSCH: Same thing. It's great to be able to have the top spot in the Chase and whatnot, but there's still four more races to go, there's still more opportunities for us to be able to win another one just to increase our point total for the start of the Chase. Having this much room just allows you to kind of buffer through the Chase a little bit more.
Before maybe to win the championship you'd have to finish fourth every week, and now you can probably for us we can probably finish eighth every week and give up a couple or whatever.
You know, we don't want to do that, but the room is there to kind of give and take a little bit and race a little bit more when we need to and when we don't need to.
Q: Kyle, obviously it's been a dominating season, but to do what you've done on the road courses, is that something a little bit more as far as respect in the garage or deflating your competition to stomp them on the road courses, because it's not just the ovals. It kind of takes a special kind of talent to be on the road courses. Do you get any sense of that at all, that you've stomped and deflated them in that manner?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't think so. I think it just gives them more reason for them to come out here and look at us to try to beat. Jeff has always been great at the road courses and so has Tony, and Jimmy has always been good. He's never won I don't think, but he's always been good. He's been fast, so he's hard to beat.
We just were able to hit everything right today and win. But I don't think that sets a precedent any different than any other week that there's no road course races in the Chase, so it doesn't mean much there, but it does for everything leading up to it at least.
Q: You do set history today; you make history today. What are your thoughts on that?
KYLE BUSCH: That's cool, that's pretty neat. To always have guys that win both of them, they can sweep a season. I think I'm the fourth driver or something to do that. That's pretty special to me, and to, of course, I guess, be the record holder for winning three in a season, we probably had a shot for that yesterday to win four, but I missed out a little bit, so unfortunately Burton and I got together there.
But it was a great day yesterday. It was an excellent day today, and to win on road courses and to run up front on road courses and to be a force to be reckoned with means a lot.
Q: Last year you were part of the hottest organization in NASCAR, but you weren't really the guy pulling the train. This year you're once again with the hottest organization in NASCAR, but you're the guy pulling the train this year. Your comments on the change in the viewpoint from one year to the next, being in a different position?
KYLE BUSCH: To me everybody is equal at a team. There's no one team that's above the other, there's no one driver that's above the other. That's how I treat everybody, that's how I view it. Working with Jeff and working with Jimmy and Casey, you know, I never saw one team or one driver above the other. They just had more success than the other. That was about it. They were able to capitalize more and put things together better.
Here this year I don't see myself as being any better of a driver really than Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin, it's just we're able to put things together and were able to do things a little bit more than they have this year. You've got to go out there with the confidence every week that you can outdo all those guys, but it doesn't really set forth to me that I'm necessarily the leader of Joe Gibbs Racing or following Tony or anything like that. Denny is just as much of a part of this organization as I am.
Q: When Tony was in here a second ago, he said that he doesn't not only does he think the pressure doesn't bother you, but he thinks you thrive on it. He thinks the more pressure there is, the more people doubt you, the better you are. Do you feel like that as driver and as an athlete that when people start questioning whether you have the experience or when pressure will get to you down the stretch that you get better?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know. I mean, I was trying like hell last year to win more races than just one, and I'm trying like hell and I'm finishing 15th. So it doesn't matter where you're at, what day it is, what you're doing. You just I keep trying.
Whether there is pressure from anybody else, I believe that I've got the most pressure put on myself. I miss a corner or miss a braking zone or something like that, it's like, come on, you idiot, let's go, let's fix it. We've got to keep going here.
Sometimes it's just the way of life, but for me, I guess you could say I thrive on it, but yet I just go out there and try to do my job every single moment.
Q: How bleak did things look yesterday during practice? I know that there was an issue, I guess, where you guys might have hurt the motor when you went off course. Did it look like for a little while you guys were going to have to change engines, go to the back?
STEVE ADDINGTON: I think they were looking pretty bad there. We got the pole because of the rain, and then going to have to start in the back. Got on the phone with Mark Cronquist and stuff, and we went through the procedure that he wanted us to go through and stayed on the phone with him, and he gave it the thumbs up.
So anything that man tells us, that's what I believe in. After he told us it would be fine and we went through his procedure, then I felt pretty good about it.
KYLE BUSCH: I was glad it was (laughter). I didn't want to have to come through anybody.
Q: On Friday Tony Stewart was named the driver of the past decade for the track here at Watkins Glen. What would it mean to you, if anything, if over the next ten years you ended up being the driver of the decade here?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, it's the start of the decade so I've got a long run ahead of me and a lot more races to win here. I mean, it would be special. It would be something that's pretty cool. To be on any Hall of Fame or anything like that obviously with your name and your face or whatnot, it would be special in anybody's book, and to me especially special because you thrive so hard and you do so much to try to make it in this sport, and when you're recognized for doing something so great or something so special, that means a lot.
Q: Is that Formula One test possibly still on the docket for you in December? And if it is, does winning on the road courses this year, does that kind of build up your résumé and your confidence if you do get a chance to go into that test, or does it help you get the test?
KYLE BUSCH: I believe the test is still on. It's slated for the weekend after Homestead, I think, as a matter of fact. You know, winning the road course races here just means that we were the best this year of this car, and going over there and trying to run that thing, it's going to be an animal to try and have to learn.
From what I'm told from Scott Speed and Juan Pablo and some of the other guys that have run those type of cars, the engineers and everybody, that sort of set it up and they sort of drive it for you. They tell you where to brake, they tell you how fast to go through that corner and stuff, and you're just the dummy and they're going the motions. If they tell me to go wide open through one corner then I'd better hope it sticks because I'm going to do it.
It'll be fun, and I think it'll be an experience, and that's all I'm looking forward to doing is just experiencing that.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, guys, we'll let you go. Congratulations, appreciate it, and good luck the rest of the season.