Chicagoland: Winning team press conference, part 1

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chicagoland Speedway Post-Race Transcript July 12, 2008 An Interview With: KYLE BUSCH - Winner STEVE ADDINGTON - Crew chief THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the winner of the Lifelock 400, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, Kyle ...

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chicagoland Speedway Post-Race Transcript
July 12, 2008

An Interview With:

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the winner of the Lifelock 400, No. 18 M&M's Toyota, Kyle Busch. Kyle, tell us about your run.

KYLE BUSCH: Well, glad to see everybody again. Been a long time. (Laughter).

I don't even know where to start really. I mean, we had a decent car all night. It was not probably one of the best cars, but it was close. You know, it was a contender and that's all we needed was just one we could go out and race everybody with and try to make gains.

The 99 came up and he was good as he's always been on the mile and a halves this year for some reason and the 48 was strong there; fell back in the middle stages of the race.

But we were able to get up front there and led a lot of laps there toward the end of the race. And on that second to last restart I think is where Jimmie got by me.

I don't know, I just got a little slow into turn one or whatever, and he got a run on me and got right up to my rear bumper in turn three, got me a little loose and then got by me there.

And I pretty much had given up by that point figuring he had the race won, but another caution came out and we were able to rebunch up for that final restart and got a great restart on his rear bumper and pulled to his outside on with 1 and figured he would protect the bottom as he did on the front stretch, and I had some momentum and got to his outside on three and was able to complete the pass through four and made it to the finish line first.

Just an unbelievable year and something to be really proud of and really fortunate to be involved with everything and have all these guys on my side with Job Gibbs and JD and Steve and everybody, so it's just unbelievable.

You know, you cherish them when you can get them, and definitely this year is one to cherish.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by tonight's winning crew chief, Steve Addington. Tell us about tonight's strategy.

STEVE ADDINGTON: Turn it over to him. The cars right now with our package, we're on a high phase. We can make little adjustments and get way out of the racetrack and just tried to get back to where we were at the start of the race, and finally got closer there. And just 48 and the 99 and those guys, they were better than us on certain runs.

So we got some work to do, but that last restart was awesome (chuckling). He did a heck of a job there and that was really cool, and I'd like to thank Jeff Dickerson for getting on to him a little bit and getting him going. That was pretty cool.

Q: Two things. What did Jeff Dickerson say? I can't imagine anybody having to do anything to get you motivated; and also, the fact that you have such a big lead in the points and the wins, does that allow you to make such a bonsai run and say, we can take a chance and go harder here?

KYLE BUSCH: Well, I mean, it doesn't take a whole lot of motivation for me to get going. I mean I'm always going as hard as I can and was going to probably do what I did anyway.

Dickerson gave one whale of a speech and pretty much said: You ain't got a hair on your ass if you don't go to the outside and pass this guy. So I did what I could and tried to make his words work, and obviously they worked out for us.

And so, you know, yeah, leading the points, it definitely has its advantages. And being able to go out there and make a bonsai move like that.

But even if I did slip up or something like that, the worst we probably would have ended up was fourth or fifth or something having to catch the car, hopefully not wrecking it, but just getting loose or something like that. But great car to go to the outside with and get a run like that.

Q: When you come to a restart like that and you are the leader last week and you were controlling the guys behind you, that you've got to slow down and all that stuff, having been in that position last week and doing it the opposite way, now you're in the opposite position; can you take us through the mind set? You said you knew he was going to drag you to down slow.

KYLE BUSCH: I figured he was going to bring us down. Normally when a guy is back from you a little bit and then they start kind of closing in on you, then they get right to your rear bumper, they have to kind of lift and check out of it. And they kind of ruin their momentum and then you go, and then they sit there and spin their tires, you know.

So I made my own bed there, gaining on him like I did. And then he was watching his mirror, and as soon as I touched his rear bumper there, I just laid in the gas; and whether he was going to go or it wasn't going to go, it was going to be a whale of a restart and pretty exciting.

You know, he went and I was right there on his rear bumper, and fortunately that was our race winning move just being able to stay with him on the restart and not spin my tires and get to his outside through one and two.

You know, with that old car, you couldn't have done that. You couldn't have gotten on the guy like that, because it would have just spun him out because the noses and tails don't really meet up, but with this car, it worked out.

Q: For either of you guys, coming into this situation, new driver/crew chief combination, new engine situation, could you really realistically have imagined anything like what this season is turning out to be?

STEVE ADDINGTON: No. Not at all. We knew we were getting a great driver. I felt really strong about our race team, you know, the 18 car, and really strong about the organization as a whole just from top to bottom: From top management down to fab shop, engine shop and engineering and everything else; that I felt like we were putting good race cars out there and we were missing, you know, part of the puzzle, and never dreamed it would be like this.

You know, I felt like we could go contend for wins week in and week out getting Kyle over there, but never winning seven races already; that's just crazy. It's awesome. It's a dream season for everybody on this 18 car.

KYLE BUSCH: Same thing. I mean, just to not really know what to expect coming into the deal and knowing they have had great equipment for years, you know, with Tony and Denny both making the Chase for the past two or three consecutive years, whatever it's been, and just getting into the stuff and trying to make a home here and getting used to Steve and getting used to their way of going about things with setting up cars and with changes and what we are looking toward and with this new car not knowing what to expect on the Super Speedways and intermediate tracks and stuff.

So getting used to everything was going to be weird, but it's all kind of falling into place and fortunately, this year has been this year, and you know, if there's not ever one like it again, it's definitely something that we have to cherish now.

Q: You told your team over the radio that Jimmie Johnson doesn't lose these types of races, but you seem to lose them or don't can't win them. Are you still thinking back to last year or past years, or Nationwide races? You've won so many this year. Where does that come from?

KYLE BUSCH: Well, it comes from all the second place finishes that I've had that have been close; like Vegas last year, with Burton and myself. I mean, there's been races where I probably could have won that I've given up; whether it's been on the last lap or last ten laps or last five laps or whatever it might have been.

Just guys get a little bit better at the end of the race than I do or whatever, or we don't keep up with the racetracks or we have bad pit calls or whatever. I'm sure there's been plenty Jimmie Johnson have given up and those guys, but not one that I felt like I gave up on the restart. I felt like in the corner and got my own pace, got back on the gas, got a little tight there. But Jimmie was already to my outside and I was like, dang; or, you know, almost to my outside there, and then down the back he pulled low and almost got beside me getting into three. And I just got loose getting into three in front of him. There on that last restart, I was able to pull a Jimmie Johnson on himself sort of and it worked out somehow.

Q: Jimmie Johnson said basically that he thought it through that if he'd thought it through, he would have never given you the outside; did you have all your eggs in one basket? Was everything you did based on him giving you the outside?

KYLE BUSCH: I mean, when he went to the bottom through one and two, I figured really outside is open, that's where I'm going to have to go. You know, if he was going to go outside, then I was going to go to the bottom, and so it didn't matter where he was going to go; I was going to go the opposite way.

And somehow I just got the momentum I was going to try to get to the inside, and but you know, he wasn't going to let that go and so I just because I didn't think my car would keep the momentum and stay free enough on the outside to get up alongside of him, but somehow, it did, and I was just able to get up there.

And once I got to him, I'm like, all right, this is going to be an exciting three and four. Let's see if we can get down here, and then we were able to get by him through the center of the corner and off the exit and led the last lap there.

Q: You're really winning over the fans and they were really cheering you tonight especially in the pass in the ends. It almost feels like you're daring the fans not to like you, especially after a night like tonight where you're showing them that you can get it done when everybody else thought you weren't.

KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it's just, you go out there, I said it last night, you go out there and do your job and do what you can. You've got to stay hungry and humble in this sport. And the things that you do to try to win over the fans, they are here to support our racing and they are going to support I wish they liked me, you know, but I've got to play I guess the bad boy role and them not like me for whatever reason. I'm trying, but all I can do is go out there and win races and try to do what I can to make my team happy and my sponsors happy and everybody that supports me and let's me drive that race car.

So when the fans are out there and they are cheering or booing, it's great to have them here. You know, it's fun to have the recognition I guess that you have and all those guys out there that are whether they are cheering or booing, they are here for a reason, and that's so they can help support us.

Continued in part 2

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch