KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 5th How loose were you during your qualifying lap? "It was wiggling everywhere. It's just another day driving the COT (new NASCAR chassis). What an effort by the team.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 5th
How loose were you during your qualifying lap? "It was wiggling everywhere. It's just another day driving the COT (new NASCAR chassis). What an effort by the team. The guys on this team worked their butts off all day long. We unloaded, we weren't very good. We changed an awful lot of stuff there to try to get our car better and try to get it turning. They got it turning for me. I told them to get it turning for me and I would get some lap time out of it. I knew that if I was going to get a good lap time, I was just going to have to mat it in the center of (turns) one and two, and hope that she held on. She wiggled a few times over there, did a couple times off of (turn) four. Four was bigger, but gas on is when you go fast."
How was your qualifying lap? "That was a bit on the extreme side of things. The guys did an awesome job working on the Pedigree Camry today. We just struggled when we unloaded here and got it so much better. That was the best it's been. That might not have looked good, but it was the best turning we've had all day. Thank the guys for working and keep digging and plugging along and make something out of nothing."
What is your mindset with two races remaining before the 'Chase?' "We either make it or we don't. It's not these two races that are going to set us in the 'Chase.' It's the races that we've had this year that are going to set us out. We haven't been up to where we need to be. We haven't quite had the race cars. I haven't quite been the driver behind the wheel I've needed to be. We've missed a little bit this year. It's not going to be these next two races that we'd fault here that's going to keep us out."
Do agree with Denny Hamlin that two Joe Gibbs Racing cars in the 'Chase' is a good thing? "He wants to be a team thing you know -- a Joe Gibbs Racing thing. It would really be good if it was just him in the 'Chase,' so then Joey (Logano) and I, we could take everyone else out and he wouldn't have anything to worry about. No, like at Talladega. It'd be good that Joey (Logano) and I, it doesn't matter if we get caught up in a wreck, but we could do anything possible to help the 11 (Denny Hamlin). That would be good for those guys."
Do you approach these next two races any differently? "Not at all. You've got to be smart. That's the biggest thing. You can't put yourself in a predicament that gets you wrecked. You can't be racing around guys that don't race very well sometimes and get yourself caught up in something you don't need to be in. Unfortunately, that's what I've done this year. I haven't been very smart this year. It's not these next two weeks that are going to keep us out, it's what we've already done."
How happy are you to be in 'Chase' contention with such a young team? "We're obviously happy to be in this position for a two-and-a-half year old team. It's pretty impressive. We know we're capable of making the 'Chase.' It doesn't mean we will. The biggest thing is to just not make mistakes and stay out of trouble. Winning this race and winning the next one would be fantastic and probably would get us in the 'Chase,' but you can't have anything worse than probably a top-10. We need to really come out of here with two top-fives or top-10s. A lot of it is going to depend on where the competition finishes. We can win both races and if they finish second, then we're still going to be out and there's nothing we could've done. We just got to do our part and not make mistakes and do the best we can."
How much do you think about where the other drivers are during the race when you're battling to make the 'Chase?' "Little to none. I'm not going to say that it won't cross my mind who I'm racing for the 'Chase' when I'm around them, but for us, we just have to focus on our race and finish the best we possibly can. Every point matters. Every spot matters at this point. Every single spot matters. You can't sacrifice one spot."
How was your qualifying lap? "I think we're okay. I think we would've liked to have qualified better of course, but compared to where we were in practice, we were really good in race trim. Really, really happy with the car in race trim. Hopefully, it will be just as good at night tomorrow night. When we switched over to qualifying trim, we kind of lost something. We really struggled. We were way too tight and we over-adjusted going into qualifying trim. I wasn't really happy with the car at all in qualifying. We made a lot of adjustments after practice, so considering where we were in qualifying trim, I'm pretty happy with the qualifying effort."
How much better is your team since the March race at Atlanta? "I feel like, as a whole, the team has gotten a lot better. I think we've made a lot of improvements across the board. We have come together as a team. There was a lot of new people on the team at Atlanta earlier this year. We have built a lot of chemistry within the team. I think the pit crew has got better. Obviously, that was a big deal for us at Atlanta last time. We had a shot at the win and probably lost it on pit road. But those guys have worked hard. Some new people have come on board, and the people that were there have worked harder and gotten better. We are really proud of how far we've come there. I think across the board, we know where we can improve and we need to get better, but it's amazing to see how far we've come as a team in two-and-a-half years, especially since Atlanta this year."
Do you think you have a chance to win Sunday's race? "I think we can. I know we're capable of it. There's so many things that go into one of these races. As you guys know, you watch them every weekend, so many factors that are out of our control. I feel like we've done the best job we could. We have a great mile-and-a-half package. We really tuned it well I think in practice. I was really happy with the car at the end of practice. It's going to be the first night race. Nobody really knows what the track is going to do. It's going to be a guessing game for everyone and we're going to have to adjust and adapt to the race track tomorrow night and if we can do that and we can have good pit stops and not mistakes, I think we'll have a shot at it."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Farm Bureau Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 10th
How was your qualifying run? "Our qualifying run was all right. I don't where that will put us because it's too early to tell. When you're third out of 10, you suspect somewhere around 15th or 18th. We'll probably end up in that range."
Was your team having any problems today? "We just haven't had much speed all day for the most part. We picked up about where guys had been picking up all day. It's tough to pinpoint exactly where our speed is at."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kingsford/Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Starting Position: 11th
Can you talk about your qualifying lap? "It was fine. We got a good lap down there. It should get us somewhere in the front half of the field. We're going to fight the weather here. It's cooling off on us in a hurry. We just got another bad draw. It seems like we've had bad draws all year."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 19th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 28th
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Polaris Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Starting Position: 29th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 34th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Starting Position: 36th
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Prism Motorsports Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Starting Position: 37th
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Starting Position: 39th
How was your qualifying effort? "My first ever qualifying run here in a Cup car in Atlanta, and we did an awesome job. We worked really hard all day to get the best that we could out of the car. Qualifying is definitely the toughest thing that I've done so far in this kind of racing. But, we are in the show and tomorrow is going to be easy."
How happy are you to make the race? "I don't want to be over-ecstatic because I'm trying to get my emotions a little bit more level, but it means a ton. We are competing against a group of people that race week in and week out. It is the end of the season. Their machines are tuned up, oiled and perfectly waxed. For us, showing up here as a one-race deal after not being here for a while and making the show, it's incredible. These guys keep improving their game, get better, get better, get better and we can't be on the track with them every weekend. We do the best we can, but our development rate is not as much as everybody else."
What are you expecting in Sunday's race? "I really don't know what to expect. Tomorrow night, I think is going to be a battle of staying on the track, of being calm. Every single car is going to feel like crap. Everyone complains about it, from the guy who's leading to the last guy. It's going to be managing the situation. I'm all in to this. For me to make the show means the world. I compare myself against guys even like Erik Darnell, who has been seven times with the truck and I'm sure he found it pretty difficult as well. I'm really proud of my progress I'm doing in NASCAR and I feel more and more like a NASCAR driver."
TERRY LABONTE, No. 08 Simo-Carter Racing Toyota Camry, Simo-Carter Racing
Starting Position: 43rd
PATRICK CARPENTIER, No. 36 WAVE Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Tommy Baldwin Racing
Starting Position: DNQ
-credit: toyota motorsports