KYLE BUSCH, No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports Finishing Position: 1st How did the final lap of the race feel? "That just happened - unbelievable. I owe everything to Aric Almirola today. Sticking with me from...
No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports
Finishing Position: 1st
How did the final lap of the race feel?
"That just happened - unbelievable. I owe everything to Aric Almirola today. Sticking with me from that last pit stop to the end, I told him if he just stayed with me they wouldn't be able to beat the 15 (Almirola) and 51 (Busch). Awesome job to Aric (Almirola), he can take my half of the pay after today. I don't get paid anything. I don't know what Billy Ballew will work out with him. What an awesome truck - this Miccosukee Tundra was great today. The guys did an awesome job building it. You can only go as fast as what it's built from the shop so obviously a lot of work went into this thing. Toyota clinched the manufacturer's championship - that's awesome. Thank NOS Energy Drink, thank the fans - it was a lot of fun today. There was a few moments that maybe got a hairy and a little sketchy, but overall it worked out in the end for us so that's awesome."
What were you able to say to Aric Almirola in the closing laps of the race?
"I need a more private channel so not everybody hears it. Basically, I had to tell him just the ways that I've been here in the past. Last year I got beat. The first year I was horrible. We won't go there, I think I was eighth or ninth, made a lot of mistakes. Last year I saved a lot of that till the end of the race and didn't quite get in the position that I needed to be in. Today, I had Aric (Almirola) behind me who really helped me and being able to just talk through him and telling him what to do - if we just stayed together. The biggest patience in this race, I know it was 94 laps today, but there was 93 laps of patience and a one lap free for all that wins this thing. Aric (Almirola) did an awesome job."
Were you worried that you were making your final move too late?
"No because I wasn't yet to the 30 (Todd Bodine) - I wasn't sure of what direction I needed to go, I wasn't sure if he was going to block. I sort of started up high slow to see if he would. Aric (Almirola) was bumping me there so I didn't want to be too jerky on the wheel and spin myself out on his truck. I just pulled up nice and smooth and Todd (Bodine) held his line and we just went around the outside of him. I was kind of surprised by that, but I guess he learned from my own mistake at Daytona, when you try to move up in front of a train that's coming - you're going to wreck. We've seen that the last few times here, Carl (Edwards) tried to do the same thing with the 09 (Brad Keselowski) or whatever. I guess when you're the leader coming down towards the stretch you're better off to just hold your line and take what you're going to get."
How much did bump drafting play a role in today's race?
"It definitely played a role because you never know how close you are to NASCAR's line of going over of being too aggressive. Earlier in the race the 30 (Todd Bodine) and the 25 (Terry Cook) were teamed up pushing each other down the backstretch and the 25 (Cook) got crossed up getting into turn three and they gave him a warning. Then five laps later, he's doing it again - all the way down the backstretch. You can bump draft is fine, apparently, but push drafting is what the problem is. I don't know if there needs to be a new term laid out there, but I think I just did it. The push draft is the problem and that happened a couple times today. I never did it - I was bump drafting the five (Mike Skinner) when we were getting up towards the front. I would always bump him, get off him, bump him, get off him - it would help the row along, but it wasn't like two trucks get teamed up together and just push draft all the way around the track. I don't know where that line is. I don't know - you warn a guy once and he does it again and you don't post him or don't do anything about it then what's the penalty. Apparently everybody was supposed to be warned in the driver's meeting, but I guess you can still get warnings out on the race track. It's a hard situation to understand, but Aric (Almirola) and I, we saved it for the last lap, from turn four on to the start-finish. I think we played it out nicely."
What would you like to see NASCAR do about 'push-drafting?'
"What I would like to see is if NASCAR issues the warning in the driver's meeting tomorrow then that's your warning. If you do it and cross their line, their aggressive driving line they've got, if you go over that then I would like to see a drive through penalty - you get posted, black-flagged, drive through penalty. Then you have to come down and do your penalty. How long can you push a guy? On the Cup side, Denny (Hamlin) has actually been practicing that in practice the past few years here. His time is two laps - he can push a guy for two complete, full laps and then he starts to get about 250 degrees on water temp, which is about too high."
What is the difference between a 'bump-draft' and a 'push-draft?'
"You don't really want to push or bump draft through the corners, that's the thing. Here you can get away with doing it because there's so much grip. The push draft, when you get up on a guy and just start pushing him and you start picking his speed up, you actually start lifting him up off the race track and the back of the truck is just sort of sliding around. It's like a wheel barrel, you're just up on the front two tires like you're just steering it like that. The bump draft, if it's gentle enough, if you're not Juan Pablo Montoya and just plow a guy and if you just bump a guy, you can keep that row going. It's just little bumps, it doesn't lift your tires off the ground, it doesn't do anything and it gives that guy a sense. When you bump them straight on, he might have to move the wheel a little bit, but he's not chasing the back of his truck all around when he's getting a push draft. He just gets a bump, figures it out and he's back on the ground. It happens quick enough where everything settles out."
-credit: toyota motorsports