Continued from part 1 Q: Why was the last month so long? Not winning for four or five weeks is almost an eternity. Coach, any idea what happened with Denny there? KYLE BUSCH: Four or five weeks does feel like an eternity, and that ...
Continued from part 1
Q: Why was the last month so long? Not winning for four or five weeks is almost an eternity. Coach, any idea what happened with Denny there?
KYLE BUSCH: Four or five weeks does feel like an eternity, and that was bad. We didn't like it at all. At least just not finishing well. I don't think the fact of not winning, you know, that wasn't what made us so down. It was just the fact of not finishing.
Texas, we didn't start the race that great. I made a dumb call, got into it with the 34 car, cut my own tire, then had to fight for two laps back. Finally got him back at the end of the race, too late to make anything out of it.
Phoenix we won really well. Probably could have won that race but I sped off pit road by .005. That was just a killer. Talladega is a crapshoot anyway. You never know what's going to happen. I'm just glad I wasn't the one in the guardrail.
Here this weekend, it was just meant to be. I kept telling myself before the race and during the race, it's either meant to be or it's not meant to be, it's either going to happen or it's not. Fortunately the Lord was with us tonight and we pulled it out.
STEVE ADDINGTON: I don't think that we've ran that bad. We just didn't get the finishes that I thought we should have got the past three or four weeks. You have issues. They pop up at different times. He was trying to get all he could at Phoenix. We had a shot at racing with Mark and Tony there for the win. Then at Texas, we passed the leader and drove off from him with two laps down. We're trying to be better and trying different things to get better as the season goes on. I think that we're headed in a good direction. We got to give up something. After last year's deal, it was just unacceptable, so we got to get better all year long and that's what we're working on.
JOE GIBBS: I think with Denny, we had a horrible pit stop. We dropped two lugnuts, I think, and it really cost us there, shuffling in the back. Then I think on a restart, when everybody kind of accordioned up there, I think he hit the front pretty good. Car started running a little bit hot. I think we also got the left fender in it. I haven't had a chance to talk to him, but I think that's probably what cost us.
Q: Kyle and Steve, I think on that last caution about 40 to go, you were asked why they canceled the race in Nashville tomorrow.
KYLE BUSCH: He did.
Q: Do you care whether you're talking what's going to happen on Sunday with 40 laps to race?
STEVE ADDINGTON: They're talking about In N Out Burger, doing dinners and stuff like that. Doesn't bother me. Keeps the pressure off me. He's not screaming at me (laughter).
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it's a little nice sometimes to alleviate the pressure of racing and stuff. During the middle of the race after I got it into with the 83, nobody said nothing for a while. I'm like, damn, they all must be mad at me or something. Sorry, you know, we'll be okay, we're coming back up through here, everything is good. It all worked out. We're smiling now and happy where we're at.
Like Steve said, I think we're all heading in the right direction. We've got some work to do still at some places we feel like. Hopefully the way that we ran at Phoenix will help us out at Loudon. We can run well there. That's obviously a part of the Chase that we need to work on. Of course, looking forward to Darlington next week and the All Star Race following.
Q: (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: I wasn't happy with that. We have to sit down and discuss what happened there. That wasn't cool.
Q: To touch on something that coach had talked about with Kyle. While you obviously wouldn't want to see Denny get a win at your expense, how much does your heart go out knowing what this place means to him and how close he's come and how good a car he's had here in the past and tonight?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I think it went out more last year because he was so close. I mean, what, we were only 30 laps from the end of the race, he had a flat right front. This year he was good. I saw that the 2 car was really good. Kurt was really good tonight on long runs. I felt like he was fast. The 5 was fast. The 2 was fast. The 11 was fast. We were fast.
Denny, like you said, he ran good again. But he wasn't in the right position towards the end of the race. They took two tires and got up in front of us, then we passed them with our four tires. So he wasn't quite in the right position at the end of the race. Yeah, he had issues and stuff, didn't quite end up his way, which stinks, he didn't get a good finish. Like I said, he wasn't quite a winner towards the end of the race, wasn't in position yet. Like I said, last year I felt for him last year.
Q: Kyle, you seem to handle pretty well the villain role when you have to wear it. If people are cheering for you when you're taking the lead, any chance that's going to make you soft?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't foresee that happening (smiling).
You know, as long as they're making noise, that's what matters most. They're coming out here and spending their hard earned money to watch us all race, us 43 hooligans. That's up to them. It's cool they come out here and support and are so passionate about this sport the way they are. Whether they wear Combos colors, M&M's colors or Interstate colors, that's what it's all about. That's why it's so colorful, why the action is so great, why the sponsors are here. You know, whether it's one finger salutes or thumbs up or whatever, you know, it's all good.
Q: Kyle and Steve, we hear a lot about drivers saying they like to get into a rhythm when they race. There was no rhythm tonight with so many cautions. Does that make it harder for you guys and is it harder for the driver or harder for the crew chief because you have so many more decisions to make, potential pit stops?
STEVE ADDINGTON: It's tough on me. I don't know what it's like for him. The cautions and trying to keep your track position and making those decisions, it is very nerve wracking.
But, I mean, you just got to go with your gut and make the call. That's just part of the job.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, there in the beginning of the race, we had a real long run. I got into a good rhythm there. Felt like we were doing all right. Then I felt like I was in a rhythm there when Kurt was on my inside, we were running down Denny a little bit before the caution came out. After that caution, I started falling back. I lost whatever I had and couldn't find it again. Fortunately a caution came out. We were able to adjust on the car, make it better for me.
You know, it's funny, for me, I just need to go find la la land. I need to go out there, put my mind to nothing. The more I don't think about what I'm doing, just think about whatever things, it seems to come to me a lot easier than trying to focus too much on hitting your marks and this and that. When Jeff tells you that, you tell him to shut up and not listen, start talking about In N Out Burger or something.
Q: Kyle, on the occasion of your 24th birthday, there aren't very many 24 year old racecar drivers who have the courage to be themselves. Young people always worry about appearances. I wondered if you thought that growing up in Las Vegas had an imprint on you, a place where entertainment is so popular, if it made it easier for you to be the way you are?
KYLE BUSCH: To be an idiot at times (smiling)? I don't know.
Q: Those are your words, not mine.
KYLE BUSCH: I'm trying to understand what you're asking, but I think I know what you're asking. I'm here to be myself, man. I am who I am. Everybody is who they are, for whatever reason. I don't think it's necessarily the way you're raised or where you're raised or whatever. I just think what you believe in, what your beliefs are, what all happens around you as you grow up and stuff.
For me it's fun to come out here and I guess play the villain role sometimes and yet be liked other times. It's always cool to have that aspect in this sport. Even if I wasn't in this sport, you know, doing something else, you got to be happy with the way you're living life and doing what you're doing, otherwise it's not worth living or not worth doing what you're doing.
Q: Kyle, aside from the obvious win tonight, what did you get for your birthday?
KYLE BUSCH: A bunch of cake, man. Everybody was giving me cake. What are y'all trying to do, make me fat? I already gained 20 pounds in the last year. Shoot, quit it. There was a lot of cake, which was good. The Combos Fan Zone thing today was fun. All the fans were out there. They sang happy birthday to me. That was cool. I haven't gotten my birthday gifts yet from the girlfriend. She left them there at home. She didn't want to bring them with. She left them at home. I got my cards. My brother gave me a 12 pack of Miller Lite. All he said he wanted in return was some M&M's (laughter). That's pretty easy for me. He's a big spender for sure. What do you get a guy that has everything or buys anything he wants? The big thing now is RC cars. I got some gift certificates to the RC place so I can buy some parts because I seem to break some stuff. Other than that, man, it was a good birthday for sure. This is the best present. It's cool.
Q: Addington, was something smoking on the car at one point? Sounded like you weren't sure what it was. Did you bet dinner on it and if so who won?
STEVE ADDINGTON: I'm going to win that bet. No, with our cars, the decel in the center of the corner, they smoke out the exhaust pipes on the short tracks. That was going on. Everybody was freaking out over brakes smoking. I was trying to figure out what they were talking about. They had it on the TV monitor and saw it, so we weren't really concerned, it wasn't a big concern for us.
KYLE BUSCH: The brakes weren't even glowing, were they? Brakes weren't hot.
Q: Kyle, it seems like you're pretty much the class of the field when it comes to restarts. How did you become that way?
KYLE BUSCH: Growing up in Vegas, I had a good racetrack to learn on. I didn't grow up on a tight quarter mile bullring where you couldn't go to the guy's outside. I grew up on the three eighths mile. You could restart and jump to a guy's outside. For me to learn that, for me to learn that, and these guys here at Gibbs Racing, they give me good transmissions with ratios and stuff that really seem to come to my style. Sometimes if they're not that great, I try to work around it. I'll either short shift or long shift or whatever.
Tonight I had two good restarts. I jumped to the outside early in the race and got by two guys before we even got to turn one. Then Jeff Gordon slowed us down, I jumped to Carl's outside and got him on that restart. It's just trying to work towards being ready for it. You got to plan ahead. You got to watch what the guys do on restarts. You got to know who's restarting and learn what they do over time. I restarted twice behind Ryan new. I think one time I was leading actually the last restart, I spun my tires bad, I blocked the outside so Jeff Gordon couldn't pass me. He pushed me all the way down the front straightaway. He held back and started creeping forward on me. Man, I got to go. I went. I spun my tires. About once in every 10 times I'll screw up, but most of the time it works out.
Q: On your wins, when you do that, do you like it better when you beat everybody by about half a lap or do you like races tonight where you have a lot of rooting and tooting and action? Also, protein burger or animal style?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I like winning, period. Doesn't matter how you beat 'em. It's more fun when it's easier on you. If it was me having to race somebody down towards the end of the race, we all saw what happened last year. You tend to wreck sometimes. This year was a lot better where you could just get out there and you can go around a guy, not have to battle with anybody towards the end. That makes it more fun.
For me, In N Out Burger, it's always two singles. One double doesn't do it, so I got to get two singles.
KYLE BUSCH: No, I don't do animal style or protein burger. Just regular. Extra pickle, that's it.
KERRY THARP: Guys, congratulations.
KYLE BUSCH: Thanks, everybody.
KERRY THARP: Enjoy your victory.