NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400
Topics: Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400
May 3, 2008
KERRY THARP: We appreciate it very, very much. Good run out there tonight.
We've got second place finisher, tonight's race, driver of the No. 18 Pedigree Toyota, that's Kyle Busch. If I believe I read it right up on the board, he's our new points leader in the championship standings.
Kyle you had a strong car all night running up towards the lead. Your thoughts on the race this evening.
KYLE BUSCH: It was a good night for us. We struggled a little bit on car handling, but not much. It's just a product of the way things are. We ran in the top seven, most of the night, top five most of the night. We started 7th, I believe.
But a good strong car, ran the bottom sometimes, ran the top, kind of moved around, tried to find something, wasn't really anything out there. Steve Addington made some awesome race calls on trying to make it better and handle through the corners for me and tried to get the drive up off this tire we brought up, was different from last year, so it was a handful to try to get a hold of.
Unfortunately, we come home second tonight. It was a good points night for us, not anything that we wanted, but you know, we'll take it and go into next week.
Q. At the end of the race, the reason you guys were closed up was because your teammate parked his car and deliberately brought out a caution with a few laps to go; what did you think of that?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I mean, I don't know what his situation was. I believe it was a flat right front tire. You know, if he could not have made the pits, you know it's awfully hard to turn these things when the right front is going down, because the splitter that scrapes the racetrack; then you basically go straight in the wall.
I don't know if he tried in the last corner and missed and it didn't stop, because it wasn't going to make the next corner; if he made the turn in turn one, he would probably have crashed. I would rather give him the benefit of doubt than say he did it deliberately.
It's just a bummer deal for him. He had the field covered. He drove a flawless race, and he had spectacular pit stops all day. No mistakes on his part and no mistakes in the pits. It's just such bummer to see that happen to him. Those guys deserved it.
Q. When something like that happens and you have a guy out there leading all day long, he goes down with a problem; how do you jump up on the wheel and go after that win? What goes through your mind?
KYLE BUSCH: You pretty much see the guy that everybody's got to beat, I don't know. So then it's a race between everybody else because everybody else seemed to be pretty equal. He gets up on top of the wheel and trying to dig harder and get a little extra something out of the car.
Today, on those restarts, it took my car a couple of laps to come in. It wasn't ready to go right off the get-go. Took it a couple lap, probably about five to ten laps were my best laps, and then other guys will start beating me about ten after; so I only had about five good laps where I could get going there.
Q. In the situation with Dale Earnhardt, Junior at the end, for you is it basically a no-win situation; even if everyone were to judge it as being a completely innocent racing incident, just because of his winless streak and his legion of fans, do you kind of come out on the bad side regardless?
KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah. I feel it's like that. I mean, everybody probably is racing around the racetrack scared to death of wrecking Dale Earnhardt, Junior, so why wouldn't I be any different?
You know that was just A product of good, hard racing. I apologize that that happened, and I hated that it did. Fortunately he didn't get hurt and nothing like that happened, so he was able to continue. He'll see another day of racing.
You know, to say that I took away a win away from him, you know, it's hard to say. And if I wanted to do it deliberately, I would have waited for the last lap where I probably could have still won the race.
You know, there's a way that it happened and I hated that it did. We just didn't give each other enough room getting into turn three and, you know, I didn't -- I didn't feel like I slipped, but I mean, we just kind of banged simultaneously, and then that's when I got loose and got corrected and he was gone.
Q. On the restart, on the final restart, I guess obviously the plan is to catch Clint, but what were you thinking as that restart unfolded?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I was trying to think, "Don't spin your tires, don't spin your tires," because the previous couple starts I had spun my tires.
And again, that time, I had spun just a little bit, but I got a good enough restart, I thought where I was going to get back to him but I just couldn't do it. He slowed his car down enough in the corners where he held his line and got up in the turn; whereas the previous restart, Junior was up there and dove off into the corners, and his car slipped up the track and that's what brought me to him.
Clint drove a great last three laps and pulled off the win.
Q. I know you don't like being the villain, and I know that you work hard to try to get people to know you; but as a racer, I mean, does it make any difference who you're racing? Would you be less of a racer if you raced somebody different, just because he's the most popular driver out there and he has not won in 71 races?
KYLE BUSCH: It would not make me a race car driver, that's for sure. I mean, if I went out there on that final restart and just gave way to the 88 car, then that would not be a true race car driver.
So, you know, I had to do what I had to do to win for my team, to win for Pedigree and to win for M&M's and Toyota; and so that's what I was out there and set forth to do was to try to get a win. You know, unfortunately circumstances happened.
Q. You've said repeatedly it's not the way you wanted to end and it's disappointing; was it more disappointing that your former crew guys came down and confronted you?
KYLE BUSCH: It really is but if you know Rick Pigeon, you know Rick Pigeon. He was the one that went over to Dale, Junior to ask him to get in the car at Texas Motor Speedway. And, you know, I've been since dismissed from Hendrick Motorsports and racing at Job Gibbs.
You know, last year we got wrecked twice by the 8 car and chased, and I feel like those were the situations that took us out of the running for the championship, and that had nothing to do with tonight. It was just a circumstance I where got into the corner, Dale got into the corner; we didn't give each other enough room and we wrecked.
The fact that he came down and confronted me saying, why did I do that, thinking did I it deliberately, was beyond insane.
So for me, I just went out there and I drive a race car and, you know, when I make mistakes, certain people have to pay for them, and unfortunately today, the 88, they have to pay for it.
Q. With all due respect, you're going to be probably the most hated man in the Junior Nation starting tomorrow morning, even with an innocent mistake. What can you say to Junior's fans to maybe prove that you really are not the villain in this whole thing?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, for some reason, they are awfully confused, because they were giving me the No. 1 sign the last ten laps of the race, and I was in second place still. So I don't know whether that's too many Dale Junior Budweisers or they are amped up or what.
For me, there's nothing you can say, absolutely nothing. If I apologize up and down, even though it may or may not be my fault it would not make a difference. Dale got wrecked, he should have had a win tonight, quote, unquote. But I'll say it again, it's just unfortunate circumstances for him because he didn't get a win, and for me because now I've got to put up with it.
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