NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes
Topics: Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes
May 16, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by today's winner of the Autism Speaks 400, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, Kyle Busch. Tell us about your run today.
KYLE BUSCH: It was a really good run for us, real proud of the guys in this M&M's Camry team. They did a nice job, and I think that the race off pit road there at the end really won it for us, being able to nick ahead of the 48 there and kind of coax him into speeding a little bit. I don't know if that happened or not, but I'm going to say it did.
We fought through the beginning part of the race and through the middle part of the race just being too loose, and about lap 260 we finally got it together and got enough rear grip in the car where we started working on some speed and tried to get that going on the beginning part of the runs, and it worked for us.
We had things fall our way today, and fortunately we had a great race car that we unloaded with off the track, and that's a testament to Dave Rogers and his team and what all they've done over the off-season and through the past few weeks to prepare ourselves for where we're at today. Really good work by everybody.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by today's winning team owner, Coach Joe Gibbs. Coach, your thoughts on today's race.
JOE GIBBS: Great day for us. A lot of the Mars family was here, Victoria, David, the girls, everybody was here, and it's a big deal for us. Yesterday was Combos and today was M&M's. It was a thrill for all of us. They're such a great family.
As everybody knows here, you've got to have great sponsors if you're going to be in this league, and we've got a great sponsor there. I really appreciate that, and Kyle, I don't know that you can say much, came close to sweeping the whole weekend, and really proud of him and the whole team, and Dave, I think we've got a great group there. And obviously the support group back home; you can't emphasize that enough. So we're really thrilled to be here.
THE MODERATOR: We'll now open it up to questions from the media.
Q. Kyle, how much of that was Jimmie psyching himself and you psyching him, and have you been on the bad end of one of those before?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I've done the same thing. You know, I wouldn't say that we psyched Jimmie out. I mean, he's won four championships so he's pretty much been through all the head games in this world.
But you know, it kind of turned our way today. Unfortunately for those guys, we -- they got busted for speeding and we weren't able to beat them outright and race them around to the end of the race the last 30 laps. But I feel like our car was at least good enough where we could at least challenge them for the it, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we could have beat him today, with or without the penalty, but he had a fast race car all day. It was a fun battle there racing him through the last, I don't know, 100 laps or so that we had.
Q. Pretty impressive weekend. A little misfortune on Friday night. Do you think the more laps you run, the better you wind up for Sunday?
KYLE BUSCH: That's kind of the plan. You know, that's the way I've always done it, and that's why I've always raced as much as I race. For me, I think the biggest thing was just going through this weekend learning as much as I could about the tires and making sure that I had good race cars. When you have one good race car then you know what you need in the rest of them. So I had such a great truck that I had thought some of the things through for the Nationwide car and again some of the things through for the Cup car. It all helps, though, when we unload with competitive things, competitive cars every single race. So that helped, of course, too.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined in here by today's winning crew chief, Dave Rogers. Dave, your thoughts from the top of the box?
DAVE ROGERS: What a race. Just proud of this entire M&M's 18 Toyota Camry race team. You know, yesterday in practice we had a car that could win the race, and I just watched the track take rubber, and I thought it was going to be more like it used to be five, six years ago, and I didn't tighten the car up as much as Kyle and I talked about after happy hour, and we paid the price for it today; we worked our tails off tightening the car up, getting it where Kyle could drive it.
But I'm just real proud of this race team, real proud of Kyle for never giving up and putting ourselves in position to win it at the end.
Q. Is it almost amusing that in the course of the last two months, six, seven, eight weeks ago we were talking about one organization was always in the right place at the right time and things fell their way and they're winning too much, and now we have another organization that's won five out of seven and you're in position and things are falling your way? Is it funny how that just evolves?
KYLE BUSCH: It is. It's always fun when it is your way instead of the other way around. For the way that we've run and for as hard as Dave Rogers worked, I think the hard is work is paying off. That's what it comes down to is just what all you're able to put together through the off-season and through this year with our cars and stuff.
I mean, it's really been fun to work with these guys and to kind of revive the 18, if you will, and put it back into victory lane this year. We've been working real hard at just keeping my head in the game more, and it seems to be working a little bit, too.
Again, you know, Dave mentioned we were off a little bit in the beginning of the race and just too loose for the first 200 laps and finally we got it tightened up enough where we could drive it, and we put ourselves in position. When you're in position, you're going to get wins sometimes and sometimes you're going to get second through fifths. Last week we were in position to get a second. We over-adjusted a little bit on the last stop and we got a seventh out of it. Still a respectable finish but not quite where we wanted to, but we'll take it.
Q. Kyle, now is there any more disappointment over Friday and not sweeping the whole thing? What kind of a feather in your cap do you think that would be if you were able to come into a three-race weekend and sweep the whole thing?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I didn't tell you guys, I told Claire yesterday that I was going to be mad when I won this race because I knew that I had a shot to sweep the whole weekend.
You know, it's always -- if you miss out on the first one, the last one seems to be a little easier. If you get the first two, the last one seems to be the hardest. It's inevitable. You know, it is what it is. It's not going to hurt my feelings too bad to go home Monday or to go to bed tonight knowing that I lost Friday. I'm going to think more about today and what this Sprint Cup Championship means more than what winning in one of my trucks does.
I want to win anything I can get in, but if I've got to give one up that way, I'd rather give it up Friday than Sunday.
THE MODERATOR: I will say that the last time one manufacturer swept a weekend in three events was here at Dover in 2008. It was Toyota on that date, as well.
KYLE BUSCH: I think I got two of those.
THE MODERATOR: I think you're probably right.
Q. Coach Gibbs, your team has won, you're perfect in the month of May, three for three, and you guys have won five of the last seven races. What does that say about your organization as a whole?
JOE GIBBS: Well, I think first of all, quite a bit has been made of that over the last week or so. You can kind of get on a run in pro sports, but the thing that always -- I'm always conscious of, the knuckle sandwich is waiting right around the corner in pro sports. We're just getting started really here. I'm thrilled that the last seven, eight weeks have gone so well for us, but the reality is that can all turn in a week.
That's one of the things, I guess, about pro sports, the two that I've been in, and particularly this sport, we've got great teams out there we've talked about, the 48, and to say that we're there would be ridiculous, as Kyle mentioned. They pretty much dominated things. They had a great car again today.
So I think we're just getting started, but it's exciting for us to know that we have over the last eight or nine weeks started to get on a roll, and I think it was good today that our other two cars were in the Top 10. I was thrilled with that. Joey kind of got hit on pit road, or I think he might have been a little higher than that, and Denny started off with a very tough situation and overcame that.
I think you always -- to me in pro sports in particular, you always just stay humble and get after it. That's about it.
Q. For Kyle or for Dave Rogers, even though Jimmie got penalized for speeding, he was leading you guys coming into the pits and then you guys still beat him out of the pits. Did that surprise you that he was actually caught speeding when you guys seemed to have an advantage both ways?
DAVE ROGERS: Yeah, it's surprising that the 48 got caught speeding. He typically doesn't make those mistakes. You've got to give a hats off to Kyle Busch and our entire M&M's pit crew. They've been stellar on pit road all day and all year for that matter.
I think that put the pressure on him. I think Jimmie was probably just trying to make up a little bit. He saw Kyle close to his back bumper coming into pit road, and he knew our pit crew is pretty strong.
I'm sure he was just trying to get all he could get, and he just went a little bit too far.
Q. This one is for Coach Gibbs. As you mentioned, Denny had an excellent day today, as well, and the last time we were at this track he really struggled on Sunday after getting into some trouble in the Nationwide race. This weekend he also had trouble in the Nationwide race but was able to shake it off and had a much better run on Sunday. With all the adversity he's faced since the Chase last season, what changes have you seen in him going forward?
JOE GIBBS: I didn't get the last part.
Q. Just all the adversity he's faced so far this year and the fact that he's on the hot streak he is. What changes have you seen in him going forward?
JOE GIBBS: Well, Denny, I think, has basically come into this year, I think we all said he's a threat at certain tracks. I think what he's kind of showing now, he can win anyplace. And that's good for us. I think Denny is maturing. Obviously very solid, does not make mistakes.
I think the Nationwide race, I think to his credit, I really appreciated -- and I told him last night after the interview that he gave, I really appreciated the way he handled that because basically he said, hey, look, I tried to get underneath, didn't, and misjudged it. I appreciate him and the way he handled that.
It's exciting for me to be a part of knowing that we have three young guys that can drive cars the way these guys do, and then you've got crew chiefs and team and everybody with our sponsors and everybody, it's a thrill for me to see -- to be a part of this. I think J.D. and I, and Coy, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing, is thrilled to be a part of this.
Q. This is for Kyle. You talked about patience and kind of letting the car come around. Do you think in the past you may have over-driven it a little bit when it wasn't quite handling like you wanted it? Everybody talks about the new Kyle. Is this maybe kind of part of what we're seeing here?
KYLE BUSCH: Another victory for Kyle on that one. You know, maybe. I don't know. I'd like to say that I was smart then, too, but I know I'm a little bit smarter now. For me it's just -- you know, I knew what I had and I didn't have -- I had a fast race car. If it was a loose race car where I was drifting backwards, yeah, I probably would have over-drove it. I probably would have slapped the fence a few times or whatever.
But we were still running fourth. We weren't falling too bad. We were losing time to the leaders but there wasn't really anybody behind us coming, so I wasn't too worried about it. We had a good car today where we just had to keep plugging at it and trying to fix it. If we went the whole day without fixing it, we were going to run probably fourth. That wasn't going to be too bad.
That's just the way that we need to keep plugging at it and keep getting these solid finishes in order to keep going and stay up there in the points for when the Chase rolls around.
Q. If all my toes and fingers are correct here, over the three days you led 494 laps. Have you ever led that many laps in one weekend?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't do all the math, so -- I don't know if I've ever been as good as -- probably. I think Bristol I think I ran -- the truck race I led much of it last year and won; and then I led -- no, I didn't. I got wrecked on like lap 20. So that doesn't count.
Well, the night race I led like 450 of them or something like that. So I've had respectable runs like that before. But this weekend, if only we could have had Friday back, man. That certainly would have set home a little better. I'll go home tonight and put my head down on the pillow and sleep pretty good anyway.
Q. I know that recently Denny Hamlin was talking about how you and he had kidded about this rash of new Kyle Busch. I mean, there would always have been a new Kyle Busch if you had won every race. Isn't the test not when your times are good? There's nothing wrong with the old Kyle Busch, but it isn't really much of a test if you're a great guy when you win a race, is it?
KYLE BUSCH: Point taken. Another victory for Kyle. (Laughter.)
Whenever you say new Kyle, man, I'm tarting them up. That's right.
That's very true. Of course after Friday I wasn't too pleasurable to be around. I think Pockrus can probably vouch for all you guys, but I hope he doesn't. It was a tough deal to go through, of course. When you lead that many laps and then have it stolen away from you at the end of the race, you're always going to be upset about it. I take losing very hard, and that's why I hate to lose as much as I do.
You know, the seventh place that I had at Darlington, you know, I was fine with it. I was pleased with it. I wasn't happy about it, but I was pleased with it anyway. We had a good run, and we walked away from there knowing that we ran a lot better this year than what we did last year, and so -- you know, I wasn't mad, upset, throwing things, nothing, that we ran seventh and gave it up at the end. It was unfortunate.
Q. What was the radio issue early in the race, and how important was it for you guys to get that corrected?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know. It was a radio gremlin. I flipped back and forth on the radios a few times and nothing worked. I turned the backup radio on, flipped the box to go to the backup radio; that didn't work; turned it off, came back to the primary one, didn't hear anything for about another 30 laps, and then all of a sudden Dickerson and Dave were talking about how NASCAR was going to pull us down under the next caution and make us fix it, and I'm like, oh, no, they're not, here I am.
It all turned out just at the right nick of time that radio communications all of a sudden appeared. So that was pretty good.
Q. Kyle, you were asking for -- I guess everybody was asking for a newer tire to put rubber down. You got the tire to put the rubber down but apparently a bit too much and it kind of reverted to the one-groove track. How hard was it to maneuver through all of that?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I don't think it was a one-groove track at all. I think you had to move around a lot. You could either go below it, you could straddle it or you had to go above it, so there was three different ways with it there.
But it was tough. It did put down a lot of rubber, more than what we typically see here. I think the biggest thing that saw was it was harder to get underneath it. Normally with the old car you'd see a really true groove develop with the right side tires and you could always just sneak under it a little bit, and it seemed a lot harder to do it today with this car.
You know, I think Goodyear brought a great tire. I think it was fun to race on. It was kind of aggravating when you had that much rubber buildup and then you would slide over it. But it was almost like a dirt track with a slick spot. They either over-watered it or they didn't water it enough. You'd go over in the corner, pitch it sideways, and you'd slide through it worse or you'd go in there and turn the wheel and hoped that you wouldn't spin out.
You always kind of had to be up on your toes. That was the biggest struggle that I was seeing in the beginning of the race because I felt like I was really good to begin a run and then I would get looser as we went, and running over that rubber just made me looser yet. I was really having a tough time hanging on. That's why I was drifting back. Once we got the car tightened up enough, I could turn the wheel to go over it straighter and just let the thing kind of go up the racetrack and then turn back down, and it really seemed to be a lot better for me.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations, and thank you for your time.
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