NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Food City 500
Topics: Food City 500
March 17, 2013
KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our post race for today's 53rd annual Food City 500. Our second‑place finisher, Kyle Busch, and our third‑place finisher is Brad Keselowski. Certainly both of these drivers know how to get around this racetrack.
Kyle, had that speeding penalty early on that put you back, but you caught your way up front the rest of the afternoon, had a solid afternoon. I know you didn't get the win, but talk about your run today.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it was a good run for us battling back from our pit road penalty which we need to stop. If we didn't have so many of those, we'd be a lot better off. Being able to work on our car further up front, there's a difference when you run back in traffic.
All in all we battled back. Crew chief made some good calls. Pit crew did a good job on pit road. You got to hustle it and drive hard out on the racetrack, especially after restarts, get what you can get.
Good day for the M&M Camry. Wish it was a little bit more. There at the end we were probably holding up the guys behind me, but track position is everything here anymore. It's frustrating the way that is. I wish I could have kept up with the 5, but he took off, left us all. I was too tight at the end. Center of the corner turn, not being able to get it to do what it needed to do. What we fought in practice. We got to work on that.
KERRY THARP: Brad is currently our points leader.
Brad, talk about your run out there today. Certainly you were contending for the win, as well.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, at the end it started to come together. We weren't very close at the start, that's for sure. But the guys on the 2 team got it dialed in there towards the end, had a shot at a solid finish.
I don't think I had anything for Kasey, I don't know if anyone did. He was good through the middle, really everywhere. In a league of his own. I'd be damned if it was going to keep me from trying.
He drove a good race, got himself in position, worked me over. Somehow worked through traffic and got back by him. Obviously that last yellow, I haven't seen a replay of what happened, but cost us the lead. Kind of hung in there and raced Kyle here pretty hard for second, then Kurt came in and raced pretty hard for third. Had a good battle going there. Kind of hated to see that one come to an end.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Kyle or Brad.
Q. To the untrained eye, that includes almost everybody in this room, these cars don't seem to be totally dissimilar from last year's in that they behaved like last year. From where you sit, were these cars different from what we had here a year ago or do we not recognize the subtle differences from where we sit?
KYLE BUSCH: You can have this one, Brad.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I wasn't listening. Are they different or the same?
KYLE BUSCH: Are they different?
Q. They look the same to us.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: They don't look the same to me. They look different to me. That other car was butt ugly. This one looks a little better to me. Obviously there's some different things in them with rear‑end housings, a little different suspension stuff.
The cars are definitely different. We wouldn't be setting new track records if they weren't. They obviously drive a little different, too, because of that stuff.
I guess I'm not quite sure what you're getting at there, but they're definitely a different challenge. Hopefully an upgrade for the future.
Q. It looked really racy out there. The bottom line seemed to be able to use a little more than in August. Comment about the race in general, what you thought about it.
KYLE BUSCH: I think you could for a few laps there after a restart. I think the tire's a little bit better here where you can grip up on the bottom. As you go every single lap after a restart, the rubber lays down more and more. Then you start sliding. You got to find your way up to the top eventually.
I still think that we could stand to do a better job, whether it's adjustments to the car or whether it's adjustments to the tire. For some reason the bottom here I think this year I've noticed is a lot more‑‑ there's a lot more bumps down there right on the bottom. You kind of run through there and it's a lot of harmonics going on. Kind of hard for the tire to grip down there for a long time as well.
This place is aging, getting a little rougher down on the bottom, making it a little bit tougher to grip the racetrack, too.
Q. Each of you had a teammate involved in the feud of today's race, which was the 11 and the 22, where Denny got into Logano. Did you have a vantage point as to what happened? They've both had issues with each other. Do either of you have a viewpoint on that?
KYLE BUSCH: I love Joey. I think he's a good little racer. He works really hard, too.
I have no comment to it because I didn't see any of the first incident and I didn't see anything afterwards. I just heard the crowd.
It's a little disheartening that we all can't just get along.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I'm watching, learning like you.
Yeah, I didn't have a great vantage point of whatever happened there.
Q. What about the spin?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I was too far behind it. I saw the replay. Obviously Joey didn't spin on his own. I don't know what led up to that. You only see one snapshot of what happened. Usually things like that are multiple laps in the making.
Definitely didn't spin on his own. How about that?
KYLE BUSCH: Bob, tell us what you found out. What you got, Bob?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Bob's got the dirt.
KYLE BUSCH: Bob has the news.
Q. Logano said if they didn't have a problem before, they do now.
KYLE BUSCH: Live from the source.
Q. I'm as tired of hearing, Is Bristol back, as anybody. We've had two races in a row now that ended with the fans reacting like they reacted. Do you think we can finally put this to bed, the whole: Is Bristol back?
KYLE BUSCH: You'd hope that you can. Anytime you come to a short track you want to see a great race. There's a lot of cars out there today, they ran the same speed. We're running around there chasing each other, a little bit of an accordion effect. You can catch the guy in front of you, you hurt your tires, you fall back a little bit, then you kind of run him back down.
It's kind of the thing that you get with short tracks. There's other short tracks across the country that are hard to pass on, too. This one is a little different because you're running around the top instead of what it was at the bottom.
It's hard to do a bump‑n‑run any more because everyone is running the same speed. If you bump the car in front of you, the guy in front of you is running the same speed, there's no sense in doing that because the guy is going to come back on you later. So it probably doesn't work.
Q. Four different style tracks with the new car. You got four races in. Can you just talk about, do you have a feel for what this car needs as you get ready to go on through the rest of the season to make the car perform each week?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Sure. I feel like we do. Obviously we're off to my best start ever. That's really cool. I'm happy for my team and all that stuff.
I think we know as a team what we need. There's a question as to what we need as a sport. But I think we got a pretty good handle on it with the 2 team.
Obviously we can't keep our feet still. We know that Kyle and Jimmie are going to continue to make their cars better. We have to keep digging and push on our stuff, too. I think we got a pretty good feel on the 2 team.
Q. Brad, on the final restart, TV kept saying you spun the tires. You said you got ran over. Could you take us through that. Denny lined up behind you and Joey was behind him. It's possible they could have been having problems even before post race.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, I mean, I haven't seen the replay. I just know my rear tires were off the ground before I got to the restart zone. Eventually I got hit so hard it pushed my foot in the gas pedal. Made myself look like an ass. That was the deal. Never had another chance.
Q. A couple of drivers had tire problems. Do you think that is the issue with the new car, especially on short ovals, that the tire is wearing out too quickly?
KYLE BUSCH: Different teams have different issues sometimes. I know early in practice we were seeing a lot of graining on the left‑side tires until the track rubbered in, that sort of went away. Sometimes you see tire issues come from more deep in the field than the guys running up front. With all the technology, all the resources and everything the up‑front teams have, they seem to do a good job of getting a good handle on the tires each and every weekend, not abuse them too much. Also when your car is driving good, turning through the corner okay, you're using less brake, you're not overheating the right front tire. That's kind of what you see when you see guys having tire issues.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I think my first race here was 2010. We blew out all them tires, all that stuff. I can tell you this tire is considerably better than what we've had here in the past. I think that there's been a lot of progress made.
It would be hard‑pressed at least from my end to find anybody to really sit down and have some gripes about the tires.
Q. Brad, the bump‑n‑run is gone, you make a move, somebody already there. That sequence you and Kasey had, that was great to watch. That lap traffic was as much of it as the two of you were. How much does that play into the strategy? Looked like a chess game.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, you know, you asked before if the old Bristol was back. I would counter that by saying, no, the old Bristol can never come back. It will never be 1995 through 1999. It's a whole different era with a different car. You can't recreate that. You can try like hell, but you'll probably be disappointed in the result.
But I say that the old Bristol isn't back. I quite honestly feel like this one's better. Now it's hard because you don't have the nostalgia effect, the Terry Labonte/Dale Earnhardt battles for the win, all that kind of stuff. That's not coming back.
But I think you have something better than that right now. I know there's a lot of people that don't see it that way. I think if you look at it objectively, this was a great race. I felt like probably the last half dozen races here have been solid races in retrospect to what we've seen in the past.
No, I mean, it's a very racy track. It's a bit of an unknown. It changes a lot throughout the race. Certainly you have the ability to run into each other like you always had, but you also have the ability to really work a lot of different lanes. That makes lap traffic and all that stuff really, really fun to go through and really fun to watch.
KERRY THARP: Guys, thanks for putting on a great show. Good luck in California.
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