IMS Brickyard top rookie, second, third press conference

2005 ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005 Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers MODERATOR: We're joined in the Media Center now by Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, who started today's race 16th and finished...

Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005
Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers

MODERATOR: We're joined in the Media Center now by Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, who started today's race 16th and finished 10th. Kyle is our best rookie of the race. Fantastic finish for your first time at Indy. What does is feel like right now?

KYLE BUSCH: If feels pretty bad because we didn't finish nowhere near where we should have. Came in there on that last pit stop, and guys were already coming down pit road. I don't know if they changed two or four, but I don't know if our pit crew was slow or what. But Alan called for two tires, and the left front tire was already off and the left rear guy just stood there because he called for two. So we got three tires on it instead of four and got really, really, really loose off the corners because that left rear wasn't there to give me the grip that I needed off the corner. And then after that we were just trying to hang on and try to gain some spots. I was catching Mark a little bit and then once I'd get to him, I'd get tight behind them. And then knocked the left front valance in and then got real tight again and knocked the wall down about every lap and got tight even more. So I was just trying to survive and hang on there in the last few laps.

MODERATOR: I'm going to open it up for questions. Do we have any questions for Kyle in the room? No?

Looks like we're good, Kyle. Thanks for coming in.

MODERATOR: We're joined in the downstairs Media Center by Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 25 Garnier Chevy. Brian, you started today's race fifth and finished third. Your best finish here and actually your finish last year was 29th. This is a great day for the No. 25 team. What are you feeling right now?

BRIAN VICKERS: Right now I feel a little hot. (Laughter)

But other than that, we're happy. I think to say ecstatic, we would have had to have the win, but this GMAC Garnier Chevy ran well all day. I really want to thank the team guys. Those pit stops were awesome. Clean air is so important here, and also the engine department. We brought some more power here this week, a big step up from Pocono, and I'm real proud of those guys, what they accomplished there.

Q: Brian, you were a big factor throughout the race. Talk about your emotions from time to time when this -- people dream of this race and fall short.

VICKERS: Yeah, that's a great question. You know, there's a lot of races that you want to lead in your life. Leading Daytona 500 is pretty cool. That's pretty special, a lot of things going through your mind. But I'm telling you what, when you're in the middle of these long straightaways with grandstands on both sides and you cross those bricks in the lead, that's a whole other feeling. That's something special. I think the only thing that's going to beat it is to cross them first on the last lap.

Q: Brian, Jimmy had some bad luck, but when you look at the rest of the Hendrick's Motorsports Group, you're the class of the field today. Reflect on that and how does that make you feel?

VICKERS: Yeah, definitely makes me feel good. Makes the whole team feel good. Makes everybody feel good, you know, about what we've accomplished and where we've brought the team. It's really a total team effort. I know that sounds cliche, but it's the truth. You know, Rick built us a great building this year and just the nicest shop you could ever imagine. He merged the 5 and 25 teams and mixed up the personnel a lot. Some of the same personnel, also a lot of new ones. Reunited Lance and myself. And that's what really made the difference. You know, it's just the people inside. The building is nice, a lot of you probably made it for Media Day, but it's the people inside, and they're building some really nice cars right now. The pit crew is -- I work out with them when I can in the gym, you see the devotion right there. They're in there just working their butt off; and everybody in the shop, the engine department, it's all coming together and it takes everybody.

MODERATOR: Do we have any final questions for Brian?

Congratulations on a strong performance today.

VICKERS: Thank you.

MODERATOR: We're going to get started with Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. Kasey, a second-place finish for you but, gosh, there was so much heart to it. Walk us through what it was like, you were leading and Tony taking the lead. What were you thinking?

KASEY KAHNE: We were really trying to free our car up. We got it freed up there when it went green and I was watching Tony, and he was a lot looser than I was, and that's when I drove by him. From there we were saving some fuel, working on fuel mileage. We were real close. Once that caution came out, everything was good. Just the tires cooling off tightened Tony's car up a little bit and tightened my car up a little bit; and my car didn't need to be tightened up. It was perfect before that. I just pushed off all four corners after that and just couldn't get the runs down the straightaway that Tony could.

Q: Kasey, Tony was the first guy to greet you at Richmond after your win there. I noticed you were watching him celebrating there in Victory Lane on TV. I know there's some frustration finishing second, but can you talk about your emotions for him and what it's like watching him celebrate at the Brickyard?

KAHNE: I mean it's great for Tony. I heard he said he would give up his NEXTEL Cup for a win at the Brickyard. I mean, this is a place he really wants to win, has wanted to win for a long time. He's from here and has a ton of fans here. It's a track filled with history. That's what Tony likes, is this place. It's awesome to run second to him here. If you've got to run second, it's good to run it to Tony for his first win. That's a big win for him. I would have loved to win the race, but we just didn't have it there at the end. I think if I could have held him off through (Turns) 1 and 2, we might have been all right in the clean air but just not sure. He was really good at the end.

Q: Kasey, after that last restart, those last 10 laps, Tony was running a really interesting line around the track, almost like an IndyCar line. What were you thinking when he was going all the way over to the left as he was coming out of the turns and a line that he hadn't really run all day?

KAHNE: He was running that when I was catching him before I passed him earlier, too. He was just trying to break the draft. My key spots were Turn 1 and Turn 3. And Tony was breaking my draft down the straightaway so I couldn't be close enough to him to pass him through those areas. He held me off for about five laps doing it when my car was a lot better than his. That just shows Tony Stewart knows what he is doing out there.

Q: Kasey, you basically made your name in this area, although you came from a different area when you ran sprint cars and midgets around here. Without a home track in the Northwest, do you kind of look at this place as a home for you? Can you talk about the support that you get here compared to the local guys?

KAHNE: Yeah, I mean this is definitely probably the closest racing home that I have, living here for three summers and doing a lot of racing around here. This is where I moved from Washington when I graduated and raced out of Indianapolis for three years. So this is definitely a great, great place for myself, and really, I remember just growing up watching the Indy 500 and watching, before the Brickyard was even here -- or the Brickyard 400 -- and then watching the Brickyard 400. And this has just always been a track that I wanted to win at, I've wanted to even race at. Now we've raced here twice and have two top fives. It's been good to us, and it will be nice when we do get that Brickyard.

MODERATOR: Additional questions?

Q: Kasey, with your open-wheel background and mostly real short dashes, smaller tracks, what makes you so good here? Like you said, you've got two top fives in two races.

KAHNE: I don't know. I mean, I guess you can learn a lot by watching racetracks, watching certain drivers at racetracks. And I've learned a lot from Tony by watching him here in the past, watching Jeff Gordon and even Bill Elliott. But from there it's just, I think, working, driving for Ray Evernham, he's given myself, Mayfield and Bill last year great race cars. We've always been real close to the top 10 for all of us. You know, we made a lot of good calls yesterday in practice, Tommy Baldwin did, and he made some more today in the race. Just having good people and a good race team. I think our Dodge Chargers are getting better; it's probably the best they've been all year is this weekend. We just hope we can keep improving them from here and finish off the year strong.

MODERATOR: Any more questions for Kasey?

Q: Just real quick about the strategy you and Jeremy had and whether or not you had any idea that it could work against Tony maybe later?

MODERATOR: Just to repeat that question: Just talk about the strategies you and Jeremy may have had to actually compete against Tony.

KAHNE: If Jeremy was up there and running with us, maybe we could have done something with some sort of a draft, leaving someone out down the straightaway or something. But I really don't think it's -- it's so tough to do that. I think myself and Tony had the two best cars at the end of the race and nobody else was close enough to work with. So it was, you know, just try to stay behind him, get as good of a draft down the straightaways as I could and then try to get through the corners was the whole key.

MODERATOR: Are there any final questions?

Congratulations on a great performance.

KAHNE: Thanks.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers , Ray Evernham , Tommy Baldwin , Kyle Busch