KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 2nd You were up there in the front of the pack all day, you didn't win, but you must be happy with your finish out there today? "It was a good run for us in the...
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 2nd
You were up there in the front of the pack all day, you didn't win, but you must be happy with your finish out there today?
"It was a good run for us in the Interstate Batteries Toyota. It's just a shame to come in second with such a great race car. I had a good time out there and had a great race car definitely. It went wide open all the way around the race track. It was definitely a lot of fun to have a car that was driving that well. We just didn't have the speed we needed. The good thing is that we had a good enough car to stay up there all day. Congratulations to Tony Stewart and guys, they deserve it. That is why we built this car to copy their car so we knew it was better. I've got to thank the team back in the shop -- I'm proud to see a Joe Gibbs car in victory lane even though it wasn't us, but I wish it could have been us there. If I win tomorrow I'm going to be the happiest man alive. That is what I'm saving my win for -- tomorrow."
Can you tell us about the run today and your second-place finish?
"It was a good run for us in the Interstate Batteries Toyota. Had a good time out there and had a great race car in the long run -- it was the best thing here. We could run all day long with it, wide open, all the way around the bottom of the race track, top of the race track, anywhere it wanted to go. So that was pretty cool. It was definitely a lot of fun to have a car driving that well. It reminded me of our car last year. We just didn't have the single-car speed built into it. (Tony) Stewart's car was awesome and we knew that down here testing. That's why we went back to the shop, cut our car up in order to try to match his a little bit. His was too slick to run on the bottom in the long haul to have a good-handling race car. His car was not handling very well. He got a lucky break there with the amount of laps of tires we had on it and how many laps to go. We were able to pit there -- that kind of paid dividends for him. Luckily we had a good enough car where we could stay up there all day, keep some good pushers behind us."
Martin Truex complained you were blocking him there toward the end. Can you respond to that?
"What else you going to do, man? Shoot, he's pushing me through the tri-oval, wanting to spin me out. I'm sorry I saved it and kept it in front of him. Grow up, Bud. What do you want me to do, pull over?"
At what point do you stop trying to win and start trying to keep Tony (Stewart) up front?
"Dude, I was trying to keep myself where I needed to be. I was getting passed left and right all day long when I got out of line. I was just trying to stay in line. He got a run on me, tried to pull low; I blocked him low. And then he tried to pull high; I blocked him high. That's what you have to do if you want to finish up front in these restrictor plate races instead of laying over and letting those guys go by you. Then you get hung out to dry and you fall back. Junior made a move there to pass Tony for the lead I think on that restart with about nine to go, or pass me or something like that, and Stewart came and helped me. He got hung out and went all the way back to 12th place. What are you going to do? You're going to sit up there and try to do what you can in order to not only get get yourself propelled to the best possible finish you possibly can. I didn't have a car that was going to win the race. Stewart was far enough ahead where he was going to win already. Hell, I blocked him through three and four. He about spun out through three and four too and you don't hear him complaining."
Can you talk about that last block against Dale (Earnhardt), Jr.? That was pivotal for Stewart to win.
"I think if (Dale Earnhardt) Junior would have got up to my quarter panel and up to my side, we would have bogged each other down enough where it would have brought the rest of the guys behind us up closer to us. We would have had a heck of a shootout for second. That would have given Tony an even bigger win. It wasn't that I blocked for Stewart to win any more than I did just to keep myself propelled in second."
How did the truck race and today's race help you prepare for the 500?
"I've gotten one hell of a feel for the tires so far. They're junk. Last night was terrible -- today was terrible. So I expect tomorrow to be a lot of fun and exciting. It's just been fun for me, I like racing and that's what I'm here to do, that's what I want to do. That's what I've grown up doing. Why not just, instead of laying back on the couch watching it, why not be out there participating in it? That's my philosophy."
Looking to tomorrow, is there any reason to think it won't come down to Hendrick/Gibbs, other than anything unforeseen?
"I saw the No. 41 (David Stremme) that was pretty strong in Dale's duel, and the No. 12 (Mark Green) looked pretty good, too. In ours, I forget who it was. The No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) was pretty decent up there, the No. 99 (David Reutimann) was pretty decent. So I think it's anybody's race. It doesn't matter. Last year who would have thought Kevin Harvick would have come from 12th the last lap or eighth and win. It all depends on what happens throughout the whole event, how many cars get tore up through the race, who keeps their head on their shoulders and whatnot."
What have you learned watching the veterans race?
"I mean, they're both really, really good at the restrictor plate stuff, Tony (Stewart) and Dale both. I don't know how Tony does it. He doesn't have anybody talk to him on the radio all day long. He's just sitting there driving. Looking up in his mirror. I guess (Dale Earnhardt) Senior was that way, too, Dale's father. They're both great talents on the restrictor plate stuff. Got a great feel for what they need, how to use the draft, how to utilize the draft. I've learned from them over the past in watching them and also racing with them, and that's what the Nationwide Series is about, is being able to learn that kind of stuff, for the younger guys. I picked that up when I was here in the Nationwide Series and stuff like that. I got to the Cup Series and learned even more. If I didn't know what I knew in the Nationwide Series going to the Cup Series when I did in 2005, I would have been out to lunch. I mean, having those guys race here is fun. It's cool just to see what all they do inside the race car and whatnot."
-credit: toyota motorsports