KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st What was the race like tonight? "What an awesome race car -- what an awesome group, these guys here. I owe it all to them. It's great to be able to...
No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What was the race like tonight?
"What an awesome race car -- what an awesome group, these guys here. I owe it all to them. It's great to be able to come back here and finally get this monkey off our back or whatever its been. I want to thank the fans and everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), all the guys at the shop. They do a phenomenal job for us. NOS Energy Drink, Z-Line, Marquis Jets, Gillette and Toyota --everybody that makes this possible for us. It's been a hard couple weeks. I'm out of breath -- that was a lot of running right there. It was fun. This night was good. (Brad) Keselowski was better than us at the end of the race, but I was just trying to be conservative and not let anything happen -- again."
Are you happy to finally win at Nashville?
"What a great place to do it at. This is the team -- this one here is for the team. I told them I was going to give them a piece of that guitar. I can always buy another one so I gave them pieces. I want to thank the fans. It's great for them coming out and sticking around and NOS Energy Drink, Z-Line Designs, everybody on this whole team, guys at the shop -- they do a phenomenal job for us. We unloaded and we were good, not great, made it better and fortunately there we had just enough laps to hold off the 88 (Brad Keselowski). He was fast, he was coming."
Did you hear every little noise in the last five laps of the race worrying about what has happened to you before?
"Yeah, I heard some tire chunks coming out from underneath the back of it, but it was just rubber falling out of the back when it gets collected up in there after long runs. I heard it falling out and I'm like, 'Man I hope I just didn't run over something.' But we just kept it cool and kept running my lap times and trying to do what I could do to run what I needed to run at my pace to keep the 88 (Brad Keselowski) back there."
How excited are you about this win after some disappointing finishes recently?
"It was fun. It was a good day overall. We had the opportunity to come here yesterday and get some practice in with the rain that happened in Pocono and then Pocono practice went decent today and I felt alright about it. We had a great race car here that was able to sit on the pole and the one that led the most laps I believe and was fast upfront there. I know (Brad) Keselowski was fast coming there at the end. He had a good car and they've got some good stuff figured out on the concrete tracks. He won last week at Dover, was third best to Joey (Logano) and myself. Today I felt like he was the fastest car. We just had the right stuff go our way. We were upfront and got out a ways on a long run from him in order to have a good pit stop and we tightened the car up a little bit there on the last run just to try to make it go a little faster on a short run, and maybe it was a little too tight and that's why he was running us down. Still an overall great race for us. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made great calls there last night to make some adjustments to the car for today and the race went well. I wasn't sure how the strategy was going to work out with everybody getting off there for a while but it turns out it came back to us and everybody was able to get back on the same strategy there towards the second to last stop."
What happened on the last pit stop?
"For me, my job was mostly just getting onto pit road smooth and clean without getting a penalty there. I felt like I left a little bit out there coming to pit road because I should've charged it a little bit harder the first green-flag start but I didn't want to make a mistake that late in the race and screw our finish up. Slow and steady won the race tonight and just being good with it and being smart about it. The pit stop was good. The guys had a smooth four-tire stop. Quick times are sometimes like a 13.8 or 13.7 but a 14.3 is right there with the Nationwide Series so it was good on that last stop and nothing out of the ordinary."
Are you relieved to get this win tonight?
"It's mainly relief. You think about it and it's been a while but it really hasn't. For us, we felt like realistically we can win every single race out here in the Nationwide Series. Our cars are that good, our guys on pit road are that good, Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) makes great calls all day. We had a good day that went smooth today and we didn't have any issues. We've had smooth days that were going great the past few weeks -- just at the end it comes down to something taking us away. It was relief today. I was actually nervous coming down to the end of the race because I wasn't sure. I was like, 'Something might happen, you never know.' It would just be a never-ending saga really, but finally we were able to knock the monkey off our back and get a win here. For me, especially to get my first Nationwide Series win at Nashville. My second guitar -- I won an ARCA race here. It's been a long time since that day. It was very cool."
Do you think your attitude will ever change when you don't win or do you just like that 'bad boy' attitude? "I don't know. I'll grow up someday. I just turned 24 so I've got an excuse at least, I say. I really don't. I'm a sore loser -- always have been. I'll throw the Monopoly board when I lose at Monopoly. It's just that simple - it's not very fun to lose. My regular Nintendo systems back in the day took a beating from the controllers flying at them. It's just not my style."
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What was your strategy during tonight's race?
"You look back and this track typically has some long green-flag runs and that's what we saw tonight. The strategy was pretty simple. Just trying to keep up with the race track and never got really crazy as far as having to make a call on whether to pit or not to pit because of the long green-flag runs. We did some air pressure adjustments on the first stop and that was a good direction for us. We were pretty successful all night on our adjustments. The guys did a good job on pit road. We would pick up about a second every time we came down pit road under green. Like Kyle (Busch) said, there were some other guys out there that were definitely fast, we just had a good strategy. We were fast when we needed to be and good over the long runs. Not too slow at the front of the run and not too crazy at the end of the run. I felt like our air pressures and adjustments were good all night and was glad to see it go green there at the end."
What adjustments did you make on the final pit stop?
"In advance we sit there and talk about our adjustments. Like Kyle (Busch) said, we knew it was going to be a much shorter run than we had seen all night, probably a 35-plus lap run. So we tightened it up and I probably went overboard with it. I wanted to make sure I got it tight so we could take off good there. My hope was it would go green and it did so it worked for us."
-credit: toyota motorsports