An interview with: GREG BIFFLE KYLE BUSCH KERRY THARP: We are pleased to be joined now in the infield media center by our third place finisher in tonight's Coca Cola 600, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M Toyota. As you look back on...
An interview with:
KERRY THARP: We are pleased to be joined now in the infield media center by our third place finisher in tonight's Coca Cola 600, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M Toyota.
As you look back on this 600 miler, what are your thoughts?
KYLE BUSCH: Just a long night. But overall we came through a lot of adversity. Thought we had a right front tire going down. We got caught a lap down. Made our lap back on the racetrack. Then caution came out. We were able to circle back around. Had to fight the battery problem the whole night. No fans, no blowers, no nothing. Kind of made for a long race.
Finally the battery just took a die there at the end final stages. I think it was like lap 300 or something like that. We had to come in and change it, get two new ones in there. We were able to come back through traffic and everything, get back up towards the front.
Thought we were going to be able to finish third there. Tony had his issue. Sorry to see that. I wish those guys would have been able to win and bring home a JGR win here for us in the Coca Cola 600.
Then we were battling with Carl there. He raced me hard enough where he ran himself out of gas, allowed Greg Biffle to catch up and get by me.
Just a battle all night long. But soldiered on.
KERRY THARP: Let's take questions now for Kyle Busch.
Q: I don't know if it's the nature of this race or because it's 600 miles or what makes it such that it seems like this race goes through so many ups and downs. As a driver, do you just have trouble keeping up with all that or do you drive your own race and not worry about it?
KYLE BUSCH: You pretty much drive your own race and you worry about what's going on with yourself for at least 500 miles. Then in that last hundred miles, you start picturing where you're at, what you need to do to get further up front, what kind of pit strategies you can play out.
There at the end of the race, there were some guys taking two, some guys just gas, some guys staying out. It was a whole different scenario for everybody.
We were on a good end of it, I guess. We were able to come home third, so it was a good solid points night for us, but not quite the finish we wanted to have. We just weren't good enough in the long run. We were really good in the short run. You know, just missed it a little bit.
KERRY THARP: We have our second place finisher in here right now. That's Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Dish Network Ford.
Greg, your thoughts about that 600 mile race out there tonight. Definitely an endurance.
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, it was. You know, I experienced some things with the car that was kind of new for me. We made some slight adjustments, put tires on it. The thing got so loose like something was broke on the thing, I couldn't drive it. I almost wrecked in front of a couple guys and felt like I had maybe a flat tire and pitted under green. I think we tightened it up a little bit just for precautionary measures. You know, it was a little bit better.
It just drove completely different from one run to the other. I think we got some issues going on maybe with the way the car lands in the corner or bump stops or something. So we'll, you know, go look at that some.
But other than that, it was kind of uneventful. We were in the top 10 most of the night. Had to work our way back from that getting a lap down, got the Lucky Dog, got back on the lead lap, just kept chipping away at it. You know, seemed like it was hard to pass. Lap cars are difficult because they're just fast enough to, you know, make your aero tight. Hard to get a run on the guys.
I was a little bit too loose up on the top sometimes. It was hard for me to get up there and get a run at some of the lap traffic. I was kind of stuck to the bottom.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for either Kyle or Greg.
Q: Pretty simple math, but correct me if I'm wrong. The fuel tanks are smaller and this race is the longest. Not surprisingly the odds are greater that such a race would be decided on fuel, as it has been for the second year. Also with smaller fuel tanks, the odds are greater at any race that fuel will play a role, don't you think?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, it's kind of odd that, you know, fuel will play a role like that. But caution flags are really what creates it. After 600 miles, most of the guys kind of got their rhythm down and we don't see a lot of cautions in the last stint. But, you know, I don't know if Kasey pitted or not, but I think most all the cars pitted. Last year a guy was able to make it without stopping and won the race. I think this year everybody had to pit, you know, which made it a little more even for everybody. But it is odd that you have a fuel mileage race at a mile and a half track.
Q: Along the same lines, a couple of the last races here, this and Richmond, the winner has inherited the win, so to speak. Does that affect the way you guys as competitors view the winner? Does that piss you off, We could have been in position for that, as far as your crew chiefs, or does it matter?
KYLE BUSCH: No. I mean, his name's in the book. Doesn't matter how you get it, I guess. You know, they deserved it last weekend. They got a win. And they did it again this weekend. Obviously they're a force to be reckoned with. It wasn't like they just backed into it.
I feel like they did a good job having a good racecar tonight. They passed for the lead, then they were up there running up front. Then Tony passed them in the pits, had his issues. So they got the win that way.
But, you know, he had a fast enough car tonight. So, you know, if it was a guy who was a back runner who was running 10th, 11th, 12th all night, stayed out on the last run and won the race, it would mean a little bit less.
Q: Greg, you talked about the fine line this car has in trying to find the right setup to go. Is it a little bit surprising or frustrating the way this car seems to suddenly fade, given the fact you're walking such a fine line?
GREG BIFFLE: Yeah, it is really, really hard because it is frustrating. You feel like, when the car is pushing, you know, Kyle will tell you, you have one arm tied behind your back. If it's too loose, you're about ready to bust your butt every lap. You know, you're holding your breath. You can't drive around other cars.
So it's so hard, you know, to get it right. You get it right for about eight laps and you're thinking, Man, this is great. Look out, here I come. Then you about spin out and wreck. Then you're loose, then it starts tightening up because you start closing your corner up. It is hard to get it balanced for a whole fuel run. And really you can't because the fuel cell's in the back of the car, holds 18 gallons of fuel, burns it off, and it gets harder on the front bump stops. It's just that simple. Then the thing's hanging behind the rear axle when it's full of gas on new tires.
It's hard to get the car to drive reasonable the entire fuel run. Some guys are better at the end. Some guys are better at the beginning.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it is. I mean, tonight I battled through loose, loose, loose. Then we made a couple swings at adjustments, then we were plowing tight the last stint. Just unfortunate that, you know, we couldn't get it worked out.
But, you know, felt like the 9, he was more conservative I guess you'd say as far as being able to set up looser there at the start of that last run, and then just waited and bided his time in order to come up through there. And I was so loose the run before that I had to do something to tighten it up. We just went a little bit too far with I think a half a round a wedge. We just went from wrecking about a five or six loose to a plowing 10 tight with half a round. So just picky.
Q: Kyle, just wondering what did you have to say to Jeff in pit road after the race?
KYLE BUSCH: That conversation will remain between Jeff and I. Thank you.
Q: Greg, I heard you say you would have liked to have had 650 miles tonight. With 50 to go, you were running sixth. Would you have been satisfied to end up there the way your night went? As the race ended, were you seeing de'ja vu chasing Kasey?
GREG BIFFLE: Two races in a row we end up second to Kasey. You would think 600 miles is a long enough race to get it done. It took us that long to get our track position. We just kept passing cars and passing cars and passing cars. You know, guys would take no tires and gas and get back in front of us again. So it was a little bit frustrating.
But overall I was probably more frustrated last week, you know, not getting the win because I felt like I had the fastest car. Tonight it didn't feel like I had the fastest car. I had a really good, solid car. Just kept passing and got the track position we were at the end.
But I would have liked to have had a chance to race Kasey. We got pretty fast there. Last 50 laps of the race we were really fast.
Q: You had setbacks earlier in the race. How do you pace yourself when you have problems that early in the race to come back and finish where you are sitting right now?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, for myself, I had the tire issue kind of early. We just changed right sides. I got out about a straightaway behind the leaders and we ran them down, got by them before the caution came out, luckily. Then, you know, we got our track position. Sort of back through a couple pit stops, got back up towards the front. I think we were running third or fourth or something like that when the alternator started giving out again and the battery was completely dead, it started missing. Fortunately we got the caution. Unfortunately it was Dale Jr.'s caution. So we were able to come down pit road and change the batteries out and get back going. Knew we had to restart at the end of the longest line.
But just felt confident in our stuff that we could come back up through there. Just had to be patient, you know, not go up there and try too hard to get up to the front too quick and wreck your stuff. I've done that here before. Knowing that there was still I think 90 laps to go, so I figured 90 laps, if we couldn't get it done in that time, then we didn't deserve it.
KERRY THARP: Guys, congratulations. Have a good day off tomorrow.