NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: GEICO 400
Topics: GEICO 400
September 15, 2013
KERRY THARP: Kyle, do you want to answer that question? (Q. Did you notice anything different with the new rules? Did it feel any different from the cockpit?)
KYLE BUSCH: I thought restarts were good. Jimmie had enough of a draft on me. He was still able to prevail through one and two. I thought the restarts were fine. Even on the last one, I beat Kenseth to the line. I thought I had enough to stay alongside of him through one and two to be alongside of him down the back, but the 29 pushed him down the back. That was our race.
KERRY THARP: Ricky, we'll let you go. Congratulations on a nice run.
Joining us now, we have Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
Let's hear about their race tonight.
Kyle, if you would go first. Certainly you had a race‑leading car for many laps, then the 20 took you there. Talk about your run out there in the No.18.
KYLE BUSCH: We had a slow start all night. We were trying to work on getting the car to handle a little bit better, not knowing if we got the balance right, the speed would be right. It certainly was. Once they got the car better for me, the speed picked up as well, too. Felt like we had a top 3 car with the 20 and the 48.
Then there at the end, I thought I got a good enough restart, wasn't great, but I had enough going with the 20 beside me. Then the 29 pushed the 20 by me before I got to turn one. I didn't have enough to stay on his door to hold him back to be alongside of him through one and two on the backstretch to try to race him in three and four.
Once the 20 got out front, I was a little too loose. Just couldn't do anything with him. That was the race right there.
KERRY THARP: Kyle is currently second on our points battle, eight behind Matt Kenseth.
Currently in fourth place in our Chase standings is Kevin Harvick.
Kevin, talk about your run out there tonight and maybe how the track obviously changed from the beginning first segment, then after that and finishing it out.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, the first half of the race for us, we were really tight, struggled with the handling of our car to be able to get the car to turn through the center of the corner. We sat down, the engineers and Gil sat down in between the rain delay there and came up with some good adjustments and we were able to make some good ground.
Our car was really good on the restarts, so you could pick a bunch of them off pretty easy there going into turn one and two. All in all, it was a good night, just too loose at the end to run with those guys up off the corner, but still a good night.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Kyle and Kevin.
Q. Did you notice anything different in terms of the radio communications with the digital access for spotters being gone, generally the restarts, all the changes?
KYLE BUSCH: I didn't notice any difference really between spotter communication. I thought it was all pretty much the same, to be honest with you. It didn't really affect us a whole lot. I thought all in all, good.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I mean, we didn't really have anything different that affected what we did in the car. I didn't notice anything different.
Q. Restarts pretty much the same?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah. I think everybody can be a little bit more aggressive as you saw at the end, not worrying about shoving the other guy in front. I think when the green flag goes, you just start going and make a decision as to whether you want to go low or push the guy in front of you.
As you saw at the end with Matt, I was able to be really aggressive on that restart and keep shoving him.
Q. Kyle, did you know you actually got a point for leading a lap when you beat Jimmie to the line?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I got that at the rain delay. I figured that out.
Q. Kevin, what happened on pit road? Can you talk about virtually everybody in the top six had something possibly happen to them tonight. You were able to get through it.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, we went from top five three times to 16th or 18th. Once was just everybody took two tires. Another time was the 7 coming into his pit stall, stopped and going. We all stacked up and had to stop to not crash. The rest of it was just bad performance on pit road.
Q. Kevin, you gave Matt the push. Did you feel you were going to be able to follow him through and challenge him later on?
KEVIN HARVICK: I didn't know. Looked like the run before, Kyle was a little bit better than the 20. They were evenly matched. I was hoping they would get side‑by‑side, you have one of them slide up, able to get three‑wide or something happen. I figured that was better than going to the bottom and getting three‑wide and being pinned on the bottom and getting passed by two or three cars on the top.
I figured that was my best option.
Q. Kyle, you wanted that third win tonight for this weekend. Did you think about that at all in the closing laps?
KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah. I watched it slip right away. It sucks. Nothing you can do about it. Certainly it would be nice if we could have won tonight and brought home a Trifecta. I didn't think we had a chance after yesterday's practice. In the race today, the car was totally different. I could drive the heck out of it.
It was going to be cool. There's always those cautions.
Q. Kevin, five hours of rain delay. How do you keep yourself in focus, ready to get back behind the wheel?
KEVIN HARVICK: Honestly, I just went back and hung out with DeLana and my son, ate some dinner, relaxed and watched football. That's what I did, really not think about racing. When it was time to go, you get back into the right frame of mind.
Q. Did the track conditions change after the rain delay? Track temperature went down 17 degrees.
KYLE BUSCH: I would say track conditions were different, yeah. A lot more grip. You could drive the heck out of it, get a lot of speed out of the car.
But besides that, mine picked up a little bit better front turn. I think the front tires just didn't slide as bad across the rubber because it wasn't as hot.
On a hot, sunny day, pace would have been a lot slower, everybody sliding around. Tonight was really cool, really fast.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I mean, the pace definitely picked up. My car was way better in the night than it was in the day. I mean, there was a couple times three‑quarters down the straightaway, sit on the rev limiter, I hadn't touched it all weekend.
Q. Kyle, how big of a statement is this for Joe Gibbs Racing in terms of being a confidence booster that could possibly set the table for you guys the rest of the Chase?
KYLE BUSCH: I certainly wish it was flipped. It was a great night for Joe Gibbs Racing.
I think having the 18 and the 20 running up front like that shows that we're capable of doing that. Matt, I tell you, Matt is really, really good at mile‑and‑a‑half racing. He is fast. He's won a lot of them this year.
I typically in the past haven't been great at it, but certainly this year have been better at it. It's a testament to us all learning, sharing information, getting better. I think Denny had a good run tonight going, too.
It's a process. Our program seems to be working well with these mile‑and‑a‑half tracks, but also Kenseth has won on a short track as well with Bristol. Optimism in the final 10, which half of them are mile‑and‑a‑half's.
KERRY THARP: Kyle, Kevin, thanks for putting on a great performance for us today.
KYLE BUSCH: 100% (smiling).
KERRY THARP: We'll see you guys in Loudon.
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