KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 1st How can you explain the victory today? "It was a great effort by this whole team. Joel Weidman, the new crew chief on board this week -- he deserves it. He did...
No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How can you explain the victory today?
"It was a great effort by this whole team. Joel Weidman, the new crew chief on board this week -- he deserves it. He did a great job calling the race today. Of course we have to say hey' to the guys at home. I have to thank Z-Line Designs and Toyota, and of course the fans that came out here today and watched on TV. It wasn't easy, but it was a pretty flawless day for us and we made it look easy."
Have you ever had such a good car?
"We've had a couple of them this year. It's definitely been a phenomenal season, and something to really cherish. We want to thank everybody on this whole team. Everybody back at the shop, and Jason (Ratcliff) and Dave (Rogers) of course. The Z- Line Toyota was awesome. It was fast."
At what point did you know your car was that strong?
"I knew it was a good race car, I was just trying to figure out where it would go. It would go anywhere. High, low, all over the place. We knew (Mike) Bliss was out there a ways, so once I got to second, I just rode there and bided my time. I knew there was going to be another caution. If not, he was going to have to stop, and I was going to have to stop under green for our final stops. I was just trying to be patient and ride our own race, and do what we needed to do to bring this thing home in first place today."
Do you think you have an advantage having Cup pit crew guys on your Nationwide Series team?
"To say that we've got an advantage -- I think that you can get a pit crew that's just as good in the Nationwide Series as you can in the Cup Series. You've got to train the guys and ultimately that's where the Cup guys started is the Nationwide Series. For us, yeah, it's our guys that we use on Sunday. I think it's four of them out of the seven, but besides that it comes down to great race cars. We unloaded off the truck and we were pretty much the fastest car here so I don't think it came down to pit stops today. We got back in traffic there when some guys decided to stay out and we were able to drive back through them. The 1 (Mike Bliss) and the 88 (Brad Keselowski) had great race cars there at the end and they were able to catch up to where we were running. They were running some relatively close lap times."
Does running the Nationwide race here help you to prepare for tomorrow's Cup race?
"I hope so. Just the different lines that you run and the different things that you do to make your cars go fast here -- you can use those for tomorrow. Where you're braking, if you need to brake more when you get into the corner and what your throttle positions are. It's not an easy track to get around. There's a lot of stuff going on inside the race car. There through the middle part of the race I was trying a couple of things seeing what would help and what would work for tomorrow. I hope our car is as good as it was in the spring. I think a couple other guys are just as good as what we were in the spring. I think it will be a little bit tougher for us to get up through there, but hopefully we've got a good day."
How does this race team continue to be so successful even though you've had crew chief changes recently?
"I think a lot of it comes down to the preparation of the shop -- the guys that come on the road and do all of the work on the road are now at the shop doing the work on the cars. So they're getting them squared away -- right from the truck they are fast. That makes my job easier, it makes the crew chiefs job easier here and it makes everybody's job easier. At California, Bristol and here we won the races off the truck, I think. We've just made minimal gains on the cars when we've gotten to the race track and made them a little bit better and we've just been able to capitalize on good track position and being able to be at the right positions at the right times at California and here. Bristol was a little bit of an issue for us on pit road and sometimes that stuff happens. Talking about disadvantages or advantages to the pit road guys -- on Cup days the lugs are shorter than what they are on the Nationwide days so they've got a task at hand that they've got to account for. And that's what got us there at Bristol. They didn't get the lugs quite all the way on or whatever happened and they fell off. So, there's sometimes that we can still make mistakes because those guys aren't the same guys that are doing Nationwide stops every single week."
Did you think Mike Bliss could catch you coming down the stretch?
"We had a good enough car to where on the long runs I could back it off a little bit and kind of save some stuff and he would catch us and run about the same lap time or maybe a tenth better but not a whole lot better. It would take a 200-lap long run probably for him to gain the ground back that he lost in the beginning of the run. Our cars were just so great on the green flag. It would just go and that's pretty cool."
Did you do anything special on the final restart?
"I had been doing a couple things special there on the last couple of starts to make sure I got good starts because I wasn't too happy with our transmission ratios there to get good restarts. So I kind of had to mix it up a little bit. Fortunately there during the burn out I broke reverse out of it so we've got to go through the transmission anyway so now I can pick my own ratios for the next one. I don't know if I planned that or not -- I really didn't. Besides that, just getting good launches off the launch pad over there in turn four and getting through one and two really quick was obviously our best thing there."
Is Steve Addington just helping out with the Nationwide Series because he supports you or because you asked him?
"I asked him to and asked J.D. (Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, President) if it was ok that he would come over and come with us on calling the race and stuff. He only came over today and Joel Weidman (crew chief) was like, Talk to him, whatever, whatever,' and Steve (Addington) was like, No man, you've got it, it's all yours.' So I didn't even know Steve was in the pits today or on the box. That was cool that he put it on Joel today and it was his race. Congratulations to him on his first Nationwide win today."
What is it about Joe Gibbs Racing that you can hop in either car and have success?
"I don't know what it is that they've found, but they've got some grip in them cars. That's for sure. The whole package of the race car is phenomenal. Just the way that they turn, the way that they grip through the corners or the way they accelerate out of the corners with rear grip. It's just a lot of fun to drive those cars because they're so fast. I almost saw myself today going faster through the corners than I did down the straight away. I was kind of like, Wow, this is fun because this is pretty cool to drive.' It's just a privilege to be able to run those cars and for anybody who's able to get in them they know what it feels like and fortunately this year for Joey (Logano), Denny (Hamlin) Tony (Stewart) and myself, it's been a great ride."
Have you lost count on how many wins you've had this year?
"I haven't. Yeah, it's 19. I was stuck at 18 for a while so I was wondering if there was something there that was going to keep me there, but I'm glad we got out of that hole and hopefully there's still a few more truck and hopefully a couple Cup wins left."
-credit: toyota motorsports