An interview with: KYLE BUSCH - Winner STEVE ADDINGTON - Crew Chief J.D. GIBBS - Owner DENISE MALOOF: We're joined by our race winning team, owner J.D. Gibbs, and Kyle Busch. Kyle, a significant victory today for you at your ...
An interview with:
KYLE BUSCH - Winner
STEVE ADDINGTON - Crew Chief
J.D. GIBBS - Owner
DENISE MALOOF: We're joined by our race winning team, owner J.D. Gibbs, and Kyle Busch. Kyle, a significant victory today for you at your hometown track.
KYLE BUSCH: It was. This is pretty awesome. It's very special. You never really know how special they can be until you actually get it done.
Today was very, very cool. The last 25, 30 laps, I was just as nervous as could be. Wasn't really all that great at hitting my marks. I was hitting them good enough, I guess. Fortunately we ran that many caution laps there at the end. That helped, too.
A great day. We started out, had to go to the back. Methodically thought our way through there, fought our way through there. Just worked on everybody one car at a time. We had to work on our car a lot, too. It was really, really loose in the beginning. Wasn't sure if that was all me or if it was all car from getting loose yesterday and wrecking yesterday.
Told myself, You better man up and drive this thing or else we're not going to go anywhere. Fortunately we stayed on the lead lap the whole day, again kept plugging away, working on it. There at the end, getting those guys caught on pit road sort of helped us. Got them back behind us, got us further forward that we didn't have to race the great cars. I didn't think we were that great, but we were pretty good.
A phenomenal effort from everybody at Toyota, JGR, everybody on the team.
DENISE MALOOF: J.D. your thoughts?
J.D. GIBBS: The reality, we weren't the fastest car. To be able to take what you had, Steve and him working together, get the victory, that really I think lays a great foundation for the rest of the year. Got the pole, had to go to the back, work your way forward. I think that was as impressive as everything.
Q: Kyle, you watched the place be built. Dominated at the Bullring. How long is it going to take for it to set in, or has it, that you won at your home track?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know if it's set in yet or not, but it feels pretty damn good right now. I don't care when it sets in.
It's cool. I mean, really to go out there and to run a smooth race and to have a shot at winning the race at the end of the race is what it's all about.
Like you said, I watched this place be built from the ground up, remember when it wasn't anything but a gleam in Richey Klein's eye, all those guys that made this place happen. Never knew what it was going to be or when it was going to be, if we ever won too much, if we won too much at the Bullring. This is pretty cool here now.
Q: During driver introductions, you said what you were going to do. I was kind of surprised you did that.
KYLE BUSCH: Well, they make a lot of the polesitters thank and address the fans. I said, Know what, we're going to the back, get ready for a show, here it comes. Just tell 'em what I thought I could do. Even if I got up to 20th and then backed it in, it was still going to be a show.
Q: You're always hungry to win. When you had to start way in the back, did that give you more fire, if it's possible, in your belly?
KYLE BUSCH: Not really, no. I knew the most fire was going to be put under me was to get up towards the front, when I got to the front, were we going to be able to capitalize and be able to win? The whole day, I didn't know if we were going to be able to win the race. You never really know. You got to watch the race play out and watch what's happening, what's going on.
When that caution came and caught all those guys on pit road, it completely changed the complexion of the race. Once that happened, we knew that we were in a position to have a good day, to have a better day. Those guys restarted up in front of us a little bit there. They got back on the lead lap. But then they were going to be behind us when we came down pit road for the last stop anyway.
It worked out somehow.
DENISE MALOOF: Crew chief Steve Addington has arrived. Steve, your thoughts on the afternoon?
STEVE ADDINGTON: It's been kind of a crazy weekend and a crazy race. Kind of disappointed that we didn't start out as well as what we had practiced all weekend. The car wasn't where it needed to be. We had to make some major adjustments. Sometimes you just have to scratch and claw and kick, spit and fight for a win. That's what this whole race team did, along with Kyle today. I think they took advantage of an opportunity when it came.
DENISE MALOOF: We'll continue with questions.
Q: Addington, did you make some changes on that final pit stop?
STEVE ADDINGTON: Yeah, we made a wedge adjustment. Kyle came on the radio and said, You sure you want to do that on the last stop? He said, One round? I said, I've been doing two and three on every stop. He was like, Okay, go ahead. That was about it. We put right sides on, made a wedge adjustment, tried to get it tightened up. Been loose all day.
Q: Kyle, your first victory since last August, which seems like a long time ago. Is there anything you learned about yourself? You made winning look pretty easy up until that point last year. Anything you learned about yourself over that period that made you a better driver?
(Loss of audio feed.)
KYLE BUSCH: Not really. I think to probably take the bad days a little easier. But I hate bad days. I'm still not gonna take 'em as easy as some should, especially like yesterday. We had a great car. Should have won that race, too.
But, you know, Friday I could have threw my helmet down and stomped away, told the guys great job, look at what we did. I just went in the hauler and let those guys go to work and do what they do best. I just kind of sat there and cooled off a little bit, watched the rest of practice. Let's see if I could learn anything from watching guys on TV about practice, watching some different lines of what guys were doing in qualifying trim.
I went out there and ran a Mark Martin type line and ended up getting the pole there. That was pretty awesome to be able to do that. These guys made some good calls on what to do to the car to change it.
But from last fall, yeah, we had some bad races. It's unfortunate we weren't able to capitalize on our great season into the Chase and run into the Chase the way we wanted to. Hopefully we can build that back up here. I feel we've done a great job of doing that since Daytona. We didn't let Daytona haunt us. We went to California, ran a smart race and finished third. We came here, ran a smart race. We won the race. We weren't the best car at either place, but we were the best car in Daytona I felt like and we missed out there. This could have been a 1 3 1 season thus far. It is what it is. All you do now is look ahead to Atlanta this weekend.
Q: Kyle, talk about what you did after the race. Looked like after you picked up the checkered flag, you were going back to the car, and then you had a thought to do something else.
KYLE BUSCH: I did. Kissed the ground that this place was built on. Again, we watched it be built from the ground up. When we were racing out at the Bullring, this was nothing but a dirt lot. This was actually part of the parking lot I think for that Bullring racetrack. So it's come a long ways. I remember sitting up in the grandstands when I was younger and when Kurt and my dad were racing, turning around and looking out there and watching it.
They broke ground I think in '95 or '96 or something like that. Just kept turning around and watching it, watched the grandstands go up, the banking be put in, the outside retaining wall, the garages be built and stuff. Every weekend we were over at the Bullring and saw what was happening.
Q: Kyle, as you said, most people thought you were the guy to beat at Daytona before getting involved in the wreck that wasn't your fault. Last week you were so close to that historic triple. Did you feel through both of those weeks that you really have been one of the best guys out here to start the season, things are going to even out for you even though had you to start in the back today? Did you feel like maybe they owed you one?
KYLE BUSCH: No. You're never owed one in this sport. You always got to take what you can get. Unfortunately, some days are bad days.
You know, like I said, Steve did some great things to the car to make it run better throughout the race. We started the race, we were really, really loose. I wasn't sure if it was me. I thought that I was just the one that was scared from yesterday, from wrecking yesterday. We made some a lot of adjustments to it. Once we got it tightened up we could really drive the car hard, make up spots and pass people. That's what we needed.
Q: Steve, this morning you didn't appear to be concerned at all about the possibility of engine problems. Did you kind of have that in the back of your head during the race today?
STEVE ADDINGTON: No. I really didn't 'cause that was a surprise. It was a freak deal. We've unloaded at all these racetracks; the engine is the least of our worries with the job that Mark and those guys in the engine shop do. I don't even worry about having engine trouble.
But it happened. It was something when Mark got here, he looked at the stuff, he looked at what went on, he said if it was gonna happen, it was gonna happen pretty quick. After we ran practice, I wasn't much worried about it.
Q: Kyle, have you started a new tradition here by kissing the finish line and are you still going to kiss the bricks if you win at Indy?
KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah, I'll definitely kiss the bricks if I win Indy. This isn't a tradition here, no. It's more so of probably just the hometown guy going out and kissing the ground that this place was built on.
I seriously doubt you'll see that happen again. One time deal. If I win here again, I'll do it again here. I won't do it every week. Some of these racetracks are dirty (smiling). Just kidding.
Q: Kyle, before today, what's the biggest race you've won on this property?
KYLE BUSCH: On this property? Just a regular old late model race. I never won any of the big shows. I had a chance to win the Fall Classic is our big race out here. I think it was 2001, what was it? It was 2001. 2002 was ASA. 2001, it was the last race of the year. We knew we were moving on and going ASA racing next year. I think I qualified on the pole, led the most laps. It's 140 laps long. I led 130 laps and got wrecked with 10 to go. I wasn't able to win that one. I remember it quite vividly.
So the biggest win out here is probably my first late model race, to answer your question, that I was ever in I won.
Q: Maybe the overlooked thing in this race was you're racing Jimmie. He's trying to get his lap back. Maybe you didn't let him go, but it looked like you did, didn't mess with him. Is that a sign of development in you, learning the lessons? There are people who would say in the past you wouldn't let a car on fire go by.
KYLE BUSCH: Well, at that point we weren't sure how close we were going to be on fuel. I was just riding, trying to save a as much fuel as I could. I had a big gap between myself and the second place guy, who was Bobby Labonte at the time. I let Jimmie go. Then Bobby started running me down so I had to pick up the pace a little bit and started racing harder, getting a little bit better lap times out of the car. He started falling off a little bit. I started easing back up jump a tich, not a lot, but just a tich because I saw the 83 or 00 was coming behind him.
Yeah, I just had to roll over. It wasn't our point in the race to mess with him. He was on a different agenda than we were, so it wasn't worth it.
Q: Could you talk about the pass for the win. Looked like clearly you had the car to get by those guys. Any particular timing coming out of two there with 17 to go or was it just open for you?
KYLE BUSCH: Bowyer slipped off the bottom just a little bit. So I had my left sides right on the white line there, got a good drive through the center of the corner because it gripped good. I got right up to him. He started coming back down a little bit. I'm like, Oh, don't do that. He got loose and I got by him.
You know, fortunately it was a clean move for us. We were able to get by him. He was able to rebound with a second place finish. I think he got by Burton there at the end.
He had a good strategy there to stay out on his old tires. He knew what to expect with his car. He wasn't the fastest car because of those tires, not having any. We were able to have just a little bit better grip than he did and pass him.
Q: J.D., with the weather, have you decided yet if you're trying to get your guys out tonight or a celebration in town?
J.D. GIBBS: I think the celebration's already started. They said I'm buying a steak dinner, I didn't know about.
KYLE BUSCH: Where is the party at? You're chipping in half.
J.D. GIBBS: Half? I was going to chip in for the whole thing. I appreciate that, half. I think most of the teams are probably going to wait, go back in the morning, let the weather pass through in Charlotte. I think most of the redeye flights have been canceled. We'll be here. Not a bad place to be.
Q: You said when you first got in here you were a little nervous the last 20 or 30 laps. Is that something that's pretty characteristic of you or because of the way the race was, the way it was in your hometown?
KYLE BUSCH: I think it was just the hometown, just the nerves of winning here, not being able to relax any. The last time I had that was I think the first COT win at Bristol. I was a little nervous on that one. My first win was crazy. I mean, that thing, I was just not knowing what was going on. I didn't really know what was happening on the first win. Wasn't able to really cherish it a whole lot because I was so nervous on that whole thing.
Here today, it's pretty cool. Probably what it would feel like to win the Daytona 500, come off of turn four, leading the race, knowing you're having a shot at taking the checkered first.
DENISE MALOOF: Thank you.