• Camry driver Kyle Busch won Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch crossed the finish line .019 seconds ahead of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano marking the closest finish in Bristol history.
• Busch’s win marked his 50th career NNS race win in 219 career starts -- becoming the leader in all-time wins in the series.
• Tonight’s win marked the third consecutive NNS win for Busch at the half-mile bullring.
• Busch started tonight’s race from the pole and led a total of 186 (of 250 laps). Logano led once for 12 laps.
• Michael Annett (sixth) and Brian Scott (10th) also finished in the top-10 for Toyota.
• Camry drivers Steve Wallace (14th), David Reutimann (20th), Joe Nemechek (21st), Kevin Conway (29th) and Kenny Wallace (36th) were also in the field.
• Five Camry drivers are currently in the top-15 in the unofficial NNS point standings following 25 of 34 races in the 2011 season -- K. Wallace (seventh), S. Wallace (eighth), Scott (ninth), Annett (10th) and Nemechek (14th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st
What did you think of the battle with Joey Logano in the closing laps? “I don’t know where he (Joey Logano) came from to be honest with you. I don’t know where Joey came from, but he had a rocket ship there at the end. I just kept getting a little bit looser and a little bit looser the more we ran there. Had to protect the bottom there a little bit there and we just kept rolling the bottom because he wanted it. I thought that maybe the top was going to win the thing -- just trying to pinch him down a little bit. He used me up right here through three and four. I’m sure the fans loved. I’m sure they wanted to see him win too, anybody but Kyle (Busch).”
How does it feel to win 50 Nationwide races? “It’s awesome. We had Mark (Martin) with us there in Loudon (N.H.) and just a phenomenal way to be able to win 49 races and tie Mark Martin and then to come here and be able to beat his record at Bristol -- one of my favorite places and one of the teams’ favorite places. Certainly, an awesome race tonight. We had a great race car. Clint (Bowyer) I thought was going to get us and he was going to be the one we would have to beat. Turned out I had to race Joey (Logano), my own teammate there. Those guys had a great race car -- congratulations to the GameStop guys. They had a really nice car. Can’t say enough about Toyota, Nationwide Insurance for coming along in this series with us -- Gillette, Marquis Jets and the fans. We love to come out here -- we love it and we love to get to victory lane powered by NOS and going to be here all weekend.”
What were you thinking on the final lap? “I knew his spotter (Joey Logano’s) was going to tell him, ‘use him up through three and four.’ So I planned on it and I knew he was coming. I was just hoping that the top side with the momentum would help me drag race to the start-finish line and beat him. We beat him just by a little bit so a little bit is all that matters.”
Do they need to name a grandstand after you at Bristol? “One of these days.”
Where does breaking Mark Martin’s record rank in your accomplishments? “There’s an awful lot of accomplishments and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where they fall. Certainly tonight’s a pretty big one. Just being able to race that hard and race against a teammate like that, knowing that he had just as good of stuff as I did. To barely beat him there at the end -- if there was two more laps he probably would have got me. It was only 250 (laps) tonight so that was all we needed. Certainly, it was great to have Mark (Martin) with us in victory lane in Loudon (N.H.) and take some photos with him for tying him. Tonight was our night. Being able to beat him and get atop the all-time win list in the Nationwide Series was special for us as a team and for me as a driver and Samantha (Busch, wife) as well. This is cool and hopefully we can come back and perform again tomorrow night and do the same thing.”
Do you prefer a close battle or to run away with a win? “I think blowing a field away provides more satisfaction because you know you just waxed their butts. For being as close as it was there with Joey (Logano) certainly we didn’t intend for it to be that close. Joey put on a nice run there at the end and came on us there a little bit to get right up to my bumper and then I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give him the inside or the outside. I kept getting a little too loose whenever I would go down to the bottom and try to run around the bottom of the race track there. I don’t know if it was aero or him being so close to me or just me and the right rear just sliding out from under me. The middle was about the place that I could carry the most momentum and just carry the throttle and run down the straightaways a bit faster than he. I knew if it came down to a race where we were going to bang each other’s doors through three and four like it did, that getting back to the gas and just coming through turn four as hard as you could and making it back to the start-finish line, taking the momentum from the top side was going to be the way to do it.”
Was the racing between yourself and Joey Logano clean because you are teammates? “Certainly it would have been a lot uglier had it not been a teammate. Who’s to say what would have happened, but depending on who you would have been racing with is how dirty it would have got. Certainly Joey (Logano) needed to do what he needed to do to try to win and all I can remember is going through one and two and down the backstretch and him easing up on my inside a little bit. All I can hear is Mark (Robertson), his spotter telling him right now, ‘Use him up, use him up.’ That’s all I could hear in my ears so I was planning for it the whole time and just knew if I could not let him run me too high and get me up in the trash then I could still try to turn and get back to the gas and get back to the start-finish line. I wasn’t sure how bad he was going to try to use me up, but just enough to where I would have done the same thing and he did what he needed to do and that was cool.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What does being a part of Kyle Busch’s 50th career NNS win mean to you? “It’s exciting. We knew it would eventually come. It seemed like it was a tough one. To win and especially to win your 50th like that --one of the closest finishes as you mentioned is a big deal. Too close for me. The Z-Line car was good tonight and like Kyle (Busch) said, it was good right off the truck. We worked really hard on making it turn better and then we worked really hard on making it not turn so good all night long. Never really got it. It seemed like the more I worked on it, the worse it got. Kyle did a great job and I was surprised that Joey (Logano) -- of course those guys, him and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the 20 team, they do a nice job every week. I knew if it went green he would start running us back down. I could see his lap times start picking up there. It was a fun race and it’s good to be a part of Kyle’s 50th win obviously.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 2nd
What did you think of that battle? “So close. It’s all you can really say about that. We had a good GameStop Toyota. Kyle took off there better on tires. We were on old tires there. He was freeing up. I was catching him through the traffic and the last lap I had a good one and two, got underneath him and I did everything besides wreck him to try to pass him there and, man, it was just so close. It’s frustrating when you’re coming across the line and you’re looking at his nose compared to yours and you’re like, ‘Agh,’ like three inches. It’s frustrating, but what a day for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). A one-two finish coming across the line that close rubbing doors. It’s cool. I just wish I was the one celebrating on the front straightaway now.”
Did you know Kyle Busch has won the race? “Yeah, I knew it. It was close, but I could tell. We gave it our best shot. I did everything I possibly can do. Looking back at it right now, I don’t know what else I could have done to try to pass him besides wrecking him and that ain’t the right thing to do when he’s your teammate.”
Did you know how small the margin was? “I know. I know it was that much. I saw it. It’s a frustrating deal. It stinks to be that close and you don’t get the win. It’s two times this year. Dover and then here that we’ve been so close to win these things and we didn’t put it together. Just when he got those fresh tires there, he was able to get by me with new tires and did everything I can to keep up and once the tires kind of equaled out, I was catching him through the traffic and then I got under him a couple of times, couldn’t clear him and I knew I had one more shot there on the last lap. My one and two was really good. My car was really good through that corner. Three and four, I was never able to clear anybody. I just wasn’t as good in that end. I made sure I got to door-to-door with him and I was going to slide it down in there and do everything besides wrecking him and I went in there and slid him up the race track, bounced off doors and all. It was fun. It would be a- lot more fun if I was the one in victory lane. Either way, it’s really cool for JGR. A one-two finish that close, rubbing the doors across the line there -- it's really neat. Man, I wish I had a couple more. I don’t know if I could have gotten one more lap, but I think I maybe could have gotten him through one and two if I had another lap there. Good car. Guys did a good job today with things. We’ll take it. We're building on it. We’re getting better with these cars, so it’s good.”
Did you think you could get by Kyle Busch on the final restart? “On the restart and he (Kyle Busch) was looking up on the topside pretty early. I was like, ‘Man, he’s going to get by me here and this ain’t going to be pretty.’ I started holding him off and shoot, I got a two-car length lead on him and kind of maintained there for a little bit then he moved up and found some speed up there. He drove right by me. I saw that I was starting to maintain and then in traffic I started getting a couple cars here and there. I saw that wad of traffic coming there with about five or six to go and it was about four or five cars and I thought that if they could just hold him up enough. A lot of times they hold up the leader and then the second-place guy usually gets it easier. That’s what happened, but our car was faster at the end for sure. Between both of that, we were definitely able to get close. I wish I had a couple more laps. I think he was still slowing up and if we kept running laps then he was going to keep getting slower and I was going to get by him eventually. Just came up a little bit short.”
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot/Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 6th
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 10th
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 14th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 64 Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 20th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 97 AM/FM Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 21st
KEVIN CONWAY, No. 87 Extenze Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 29th
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 Federated Auto Parts Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 36th