KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS AND HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TEAM OWNER, RICK HENDRICK POST RACE TRANSCRIPT: THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Kyle Busch, winner of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300. Kyle, tell us about your day. KYLE BUSCH:...
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS AND HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TEAM OWNER, RICK HENDRICK POST RACE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Kyle Busch, winner of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300. Kyle, tell us about your day.
KYLE BUSCH: The Kellogg's Chevrolet was basically strong right off the truck. Tried to keep making it turn better through the center of the corner. We did that all through practice, and then here again in the race, we did the same thing. We just wanted to bide our time, run our own race, and make sure we did what we needed to do, not make too many mistakes, which we were able to keep down to a minimum today.
Guys were giving me flawless pit stops. Alan had flawless pit strategy, really. It was great. We were always able to keep our car up front and out of the pack, and out of trouble. So the only time we ever got back in the pack was when we came in under green for that pit stop and then the caution came out a couple laps later. We had to restart behind some of the tail?enders. That was really the only time that we got back in traffic any.
So car handled very well, turned very good. Very fortunate to have the guys that I have make that that way.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined in the media center by team owner Rick Hendrick. Rick, tell us about your view of the race today.
RICK HENDRICK: It was a great race if you are a fan. I mean, it was kind of a ?? I didn't mean to say that exactly right.
It was an awesome race. You would never ?? with the pit strategy like it was, cars were back in the pack, cars that were leading were out front. Then you were on pins and needles to try to make sure you weren't caught up in something.
I think it was one of the most competitive races I've seen up here. I can't remember one any more competitive with that many cars that could run out front. So it was a great day.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open up to questions from the media. As a reminder, please, as a courtesy, state your name and affiliation.
Q</I>: Can you just tell us when you pitted last for fuel and how much fuel did you think you had at the end and how much did you have at the end?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, there was a caution that came out I believe on lap 290 or 280?something and we knew we couldn't make it till the end from there. Alan was wondering if I wanted to come. I told him, No, there's no point in coming now.
Then a caution came out 12 or 15 laps later, which was the window that we needed to be in, which was lap 306 or 308. That gave us just enough of a window where we could come in then and fill up our gas tank and go on to the finish.
When we did that, I asked whether or not we were going to be okay for the overtime if there was gonna be any. Alan told me, Yeah, we should be okay. I guess we weren't expecting to be overtime quite as long as what it was, some of those caution laps at the end.
So NASCAR did a great job on getting the track ready to go. I called for that sweeper truck there when the 07 wrecked. There was a bunch of stuff on the back straightaway there. They got that done in one lap, which was good. Michael Waltrip, I don't know what happened to him, I don't know if the radiator busted or what that was, it was out of the groove where they didn't have to put any oil sweep down or anything, they could just go.
Q</I>: With a couple laps to go, when you had the extra caution, did you think anyone, or was there anyone you thought might be dangerous and might have enough to come up and make a run at you?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I thought maybe Carl Edwards would probably be the biggest threat. Nothing against Denny Hamlin. It looked to me like Carl was coming a little bit harder than anybody else was back through traffic. He might have worn his stuff out getting there.
So, you know, Denny, he ran an awesome race, being the rookie that he is, I commend him on that, as well as Reed Sorenson, he came up and passed me in the middle part of the race, led for a little bit.
There towards the end with that green light checker restart, I knew if I could go off into the corner, turn one, run my own line, give it just enough brake to slow it down, turn the wheel, hopefully it would turn and then, you know, get the drive off that I needed.
On restarts, you're on pins and needles. I mean, you're just driving on edge because the tires, they have a chance to cool down, and then they don't really have the grip that they would that you have in the long run. It's a little bit edgy on restarts, any restarts, whether it's new tires or old tires.
Q</I>: Kyle, you climbed from 8th to 4th in the points. Tony Stewart fell out. Kind of comment on the way the points are looking to you.
KYLE BUSCH: That's how close it is. That's how tight it is. I mean, any little mistake and you can put yourself right back out. Yeah, that's great that we moved from 8th to 4th, but the biggest thing with that is the points difference between 4th and 10th. Who's to say next week we make a mistake or something, and we're out.
We just need to keep doing what we're doing, running our own race. If we keep executing the way we need to and just running our own race and making our own, you know ?? you can set your own destiny, and that's what we've pretty much been working on, and trying to make sure that we finish the way we need to. We can run strong, but, you know, sometimes our finishes haven't shown for that. So here, as of lately, we've been able to cash in on the deal really.
Q</I>: I heard you say afterwards that you wished that Tony Stewart had been around to race you. You really are the only guy who was running near the front at the beginning and all through the race. How did it feel to have all the people that were fast early in the race long gone by the time it ended?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, it made it a lot easier, I'll tell you that. The biggest thing was, you may forget the 25 car, Brian Vickers, he blew by me like I was tied to a post, went on, led some laps and stuff like that, too. He was very strong. I'm not sure what happened to him. I didn't keep a close enough track.
The 20 car, I saw him get spun out there, I'm not sure what happened. The biggest thing was that they got taken out of today's race and it would have been fun in order to race him at the end of the race and seen what our car could have had against his because I'm sure we'll be racing him again when we come back here for the second race.
Q</I>: You mentioned Reed and Denny. You won the race. Some of the younger guys are making an impact today. Kind of comment on maybe a changing of the guards to the usual faces we are used to.
KYLE BUSCH: I wouldn't say that it's anything unusual. I mean, we've been seeing them up front here as of late anyways. You know, Denny, he won his race at Pocono, which we're going to next week. And then Reed, he had a strong finish last week, top rookie, I believed finished 6th or 7th. The biggest thing is those guys are really putting it on here in the second half of the first half of the season.
We've just been concentrating our own game, but those guys have been, you know, right there with us.
Q</I>: Two years ago your brother came here, won this race in July, kind of set himself up for the September race to start the Chase, which really seemed to set the foundation for his championship. Do you look at this race as it's gonna carry over for you in September when you're hopefully starting that championship run?
KYLE BUSCH: I think so. I mean, any time you have a good run at a race track, you can sort of come back and unload with the same thing and just work on it from there even further.
To where we finished out the weekend as far as car setup from where we started, you know, if we can do the same thing next time, then we might be even better off than what we were today.
But the biggest thing for us was just to work on our race car through practice and make it what it was there for the finish of the race. Started out the race a little bit too loose, then went a little bit too tight. We kind of found the balance there I believe with air pressures and things that brought it more consistent throughout the whole run.
Q</I>: You've had three very strong finishes in three races. Is there anything you can point to, any factor or thing you're doing with Alan and the team you can point to that's brought you this run of good results?
KYLE BUSCH: If I did that, everybody would find out. No, I'm just kidding.
The biggest thing for us, like I keep saying, week in and week out we come to the race track, we work on our own race car, don't worry about anybody else, what they're doing, how fast they are, where they're running during the race, whether or not they've been taken out or not. Yeah, we see it. We don't pay attention to it, we don't dawn on it, we don't, "Ooh," we just go on and do our own deal.
For myself, you know, lately, I would have to say from the beginning of the year, you know, I've been more conscious of trying to points race, trying to put my car in the right spot, not trying to overdrive it in anyway. Last week I overdrove it in qualifying and we ended up 23rd instead of maybe in the top 10. There's definitely areas I can improve on. I'm sure there's areas where the team can improve on. I'm sure there's areas where our cars can improve.
As soon as we get all those solidified and knocked down to minimum amount of mistakes each week, we'll be a force to be reckoned with.
Q</I>: You referred to this earlier, too, the fact that you let other teams make their mistakes and just worry about your own problems. Is this something that was a problem for you in the past or for you and your team in the past, that you worried too much about what other guys were doing out there?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, last year we started very early in the season. I mean, we had our good run at Vegas. Then we had a couple bad races in a row. I believe it was Martinsville and Bristol, we got taken out of both of those, then whatever happened in the middle part of the season. We kind of lost track of what we were doing and we were more paying attention to what everybody else was doing. That kind of made us just struggle along last year and we missed the Chase by a lot.
This year, just concentrating on our own deal, not really worrying about what everybody else is doing. Practice speeds, whoever's got the top car in practice, I mean, you know, they might struggle in the race. We're just worried about car feel and how the car drives and how it reacts to changes and things like that. And that's what a lot of the big?name guys are doing and that's why they're up where they are in points.
Matt Kenseth, he does it every week, you hear it from him. You hear it from Jimmie Johnson. You hear it from Tony Stewart. If you keep paying attention to what everybody else is doing, you'll find yourself worrying too much about them and not about yourself.
Q</I>: I just wanted to ask, your car was fast?fast. Can you explain why?
KYLE BUSCH: The driver. No, I'm just kidding. Really, I'm kidding The car was very fast.
I tell you what, just it goes back to my guys. I mean, I'll come in and tell them what I need in order to make the car go faster. They'll sit there and think about it and work on it. You know, they'll try anything.
I mean, yesterday, we went out, ran 20 straight laps in the first practice for the first Happy Hour Session, and then we came in and we made such a major change we weren't able to get back out until after five minutes after the second session had already started. That's how big of a change we made. We went out, ran another 20 laps. We felt like it was better and we came in, made a couple more minor changes just to see what they would do for the race today, went back out, ran 10 laps and we were done.
We felt like we had a good car from when we unloaded here. Yeah, it was a little bit tight throughout the whole weekend but it was still fast the way it was.
Continued in part 2