NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Irwin Tools Night Race
Topics: Irwin Tools Night Race
August 21, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Let's roll into our post-race winning team for tonight's Irwin Tools Night Race here at Bristol Motor Speedway. Our winner was Kyle Busch. He drives the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joining him up here is his crew chief Dave Rogers along with team president J.D. Gibbs. Kyle becomes the first NASCAR driver in history to win all three national series events in the same weekend. This is his 19th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, his third win in the series in 2010, his fourth win at Bristol.
So Kyle, you said in here on Wednesday night, and I remember you saying it, you would see me Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and you're a man of your word. Congratulations.
KYLE BUSCH: I appreciate it, man. It's so cool to be here three nights on this weekend. To put this Doublemint Camry in victory lane, the second time they've been on the car, and real proud of the effort by these guys, so I can't thank Dave and all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing enough.
The pit stops tonight were flawless. Jimmie beat us out one time just because of pit selection. But unfortunately he had his troubles, but we were able to just get out there and kind of set sail. We had a really fast race car. Coming through the field was fun. Passing in front of those guys and working traffic the way you had to work traffic and just kind of pick and choose your way; do you go high, do you go low. You had to have a car that would really work anywhere.
I was unsure about it going in about how good our car was going to be, but Dave made some really good adjustments this morning and thought about it over the night to get us a good car for today. And so again, this Doublemint Camry was awesome, and it goes back to good teamwork.
THE MODERATOR: Dave Rogers, talk about the performance of the 18 team out here this evening.
DAVE ROGERS: Yeah, we're real proud of the entire 18 crew, the M&M's crew, Doublemint crew. We came off the truck really slow, and the car wasn't handling well at all, and just really proud of Kyle for sticking with us and giving us good feedback. We had great notes to go off from last night and this morning made a number of adjustments based on feedback we got, and the car was much better today and allowed Kyle to do what he needs to do.
THE MODERATOR: J.D., certainly a historic weekend for the race team, and also, Kyle, now his third win of the season. He gets the extra bonus points. Certainly he's got to be a contender for this NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, just the momentum you get from it. We had so many people here today, the Morris family, the Doublemint crew, so it was just encouraging to see them being able to celebrate with us. And obviously to cap it off, I sent off a few notes the past few days, and I've got to show you the one you sent me, it's kind of funny when you look at it. It was really a testament to Dave and Kyle and all that crew and just working hard. I think it was fun to see it, and hopefully that bodes well for the Chase for us.
Q. For J.D. and Dave, whoever said they were in the presence of greatness over the radio after the race, do you guys kind of feel at times when you're watching Kyle race that you're in the presence of greatness?
J.D. GIBBS: I've never quite used those terms, but I would say this: He's pretty good, you know, at what he does.
I think this weekend, that probably was appropriate, doing what he did, the first time; the truck thing, gets a little harder Nationwide and a little harder for the Cup thing, and to do all three of those back-to-back was a big deal. I think that's one of those things that will go down in the record books, and years from now I'll be able to say, hey, I remember when, and that was a lot of fun for us.
Q. Kyle, you talked before the race about how you've come close on a number of occasions to getting the "three-peat" so to speak. How satisfying is it to finally be able to accomplish that?
KYLE BUSCH: It's pretty cool because when you come so close and then don't get it, it's pretty frustrating. I mean, last year we won the truck race and were leading the Nationwide race and we got crashed out, and then we ended up winning the Cup race. So this is probably a year delayed.
But anyways, real appreciative of what was able to happen tonight. It was pretty special, and I feel a lot about how this team has worked so much through the past few weeks to try to get ourselves back on track. Coming to Bristol you could say, yeah, well, we're supposed to run well here. But still, it's cool to be able to put it all together in a complete weekend, with the truck, with the Nationwide car and with the Cup car.
I didn't feel like I quite had the Nationwide car capable of doing it. This tire must have thrown me for a little bit of a loop in practice. I couldn't get exactly what I wanted out of the car in practices. Same thing with the Cup car. So I was kind of a little optimistic about it.
But once you get out there in the race with everybody else, you kind of hear everybody complaining about the same things, but ours must have been kind of the best of everybody else's.
Q. You're booed unmercifully when you come out in introduction, someone calls you an ass and this place erupts, but then you make history. You drive around this track and there's more cheers than boos. Granted, it's about points, but is there some satisfaction in that tonight as you drive around that track and that place kind of realized what they saw and they're cheering?
KYLE BUSCH: Yes and no. I feel like I just come out here to do my job. I do what I'm supposed to do, and to win races is my job and what that entails. And secondly, it's to make J.D. happy and Dave and the sponsors and those guys happy. And then thirdly, it's to try to sell souvenirs. The fans are what drives this sport and what makes us go round and get us here every week. So it's cool to have them here, and they're passionate about who they like and who they don't like.
I feel like to me I've been in this position since the upstart of my career, since I was 16, and it hasn't changed, and I don't foresee it changing any time soon. We've asked this question about 50 million times and I'll probably get it 25 million more times. You know, you just deal with it, man. You just go out there and do what you can.
Q. While you were coming up through the field, there were guys like Jimmie and Tony and Carl Edwards all running towards the front, and then all of a sudden they all had problems almost all at the same time. When you're driving at that point are you cognizant of that, and do you all of a sudden realize that you're basically the best car in the field at that point?
KYLE BUSCH: I could have trouble. You know, so anything can happen in this game and at this stage. But you know, I don't even know what happened to Jimmie. From what I understand and saw, he kind of got spun, I guess, nose into the fence. But he was fast. I mean, he was really good. I felt like our car was definitely better than anybody's, what, lap 60 on, 40, somewhere around there. You know, on a long run.
And out of nowhere surprisingly, McMurray ran me down in that one long run, and I was like, whoa, where'd he come from? So I let him go. I knew we had another pit stop still yet to go, and I knew there was another opportunity for me to work on my car, get some fresh tires, and once we got tires, you know, it was only going to be probably 100 laps that we had to go the rest of the way. So I felt like we were better than much of the field.
But you know, Reutimann was fast, and he was good. And I'm not going to say why I beat him because then he'll fix it, but it has to do with behind the wheel.
He wasn't driving the place right, I'm sorry. If he fixes how to drive this place, he'd be right there with me. I got ooh because it was going to be some big deal in the media. Jesus.
Q. What was your thought about Keselowski's little pre-race declaration?
KYLE BUSCH: Who?
Q. Brad Keselowski.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I don't know who you're talking about.
Q. Okay. He drives the No. 12 car.
KYLE BUSCH: I saw it. But I passed it.
Q. A lot of people will make a lot about your number of wins and so forth, but if you add up your wins as well as all your second places and the other opportunities where you think you should have won a race or felt you could have won a race, to be 25 and have that many opportunities to win as a race car driver, I mean, how is that? And at 25 can that get better than it is right now?
KYLE BUSCH: J.D. hopes so.
J.D. GIBBS: Yes.
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know. I mean, I'm very blessed from the guy above that gave me the talents that I have, obviously. That's really, really cool. And I do the best with what I've got every weekend. I try to go out there and give it my all. Guys will tell you, the guys that work on my team, the only reason they work on my team is because of the opportunity to work with me.
Dave, the only reason -- I don't have to speak for him. Do you want to speak for why you're in Cup?
DAVE ROGERS: Because Kyle Busch asked me to be in Cup. Kyle is a special driver and in my opinion the most talented driver on the circuit. I told him before the race, there's a lot of fans out there booing him and some wise guys saying some things that were somewhat unprofessional, but it's an absolute honor to work with Kyle Busch. I couldn't be happier to do so.
KYLE BUSCH: And I just feel like on down the road that hopefully it can get better. I don't see why it can't get better. Just keep trying to do what we do. Dave and I keep communicating, keep working hard. Same with Jason Ratcliff, same with Eric Phillips, just keep working on my stuff and every week trying to win.
Q. Can you describe that move you made on the restart after the fourth caution when you took Jimmie and Reutimann three wide? What was going through your -- it was just amazing. Can you just kind of describe what was going through your mind? What was your strategy?
KYLE BUSCH: I really didn't have one. I actually screwed up the restart pretty bad, and Jimmie got a really good jump on me. But fourth place didn't get a good restart, either. So there was a lane, an opportunity for me to jump up in line.
The outside is always the fast time on the restart, the fast line I should say. I got up on the high side and I planned on following him, but he slowed up so much I was like, okay, I'll just let it drift up and go around him, and I throttled up and got to his corner and knew we were either going to wreck or we were going to get off the corner because Jimmie is professional and he knows how to race.
You know, I got to his outside, we raced down the back, and it was a tight squeeze. We touched doors just a little bit, but we made it through there okay. Man, I just -- I was actually kind of surprised at what I did. I was like, man, that was cool.
So I tried to do it to Reutimann again, and it didn't work. I got too tight trying to get up onto the outside. When you get down into the corners and load up on the bump stops and stuff, you get a little tight, so you've kind of got to maneuver somewhat, but that restart was just -- it flowed through perfectly. I don't know -- I tried to do it again, so -- I don't know if I could do it again.
Q. Last few races here we've seen just guys being able to pass pretty much all on the outside, but you were able to make quite a few passes on the inside today.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, you've got to have a good race car. It's like I mentioned earlier, Dave and I were working real hard yesterday and kind of unsure about what we had. But when you get in the race, you have to adjust and you have to keep moving yourself around a little bit. And for me I felt like you learn some things about this racetrack in the truck race and the Nationwide race, how to pass, how to run low, how to run high, the track rubber is up. It goes through stages throughout a run.
So just learning all that and putting it all together and then getting out there and just utilizing your tools, you know, and just being able to put all of it to work.
Q. Could you talk about the green flag stop you had with 100 to go? Were you planning on pitting that lap or was that a heads-up move where you saw McMurray come in and got to the line before he did? Could you talk about that?
KYLE BUSCH: No, Dave actually said two to go, and I always keep my eye out and keep peeled for when guys start coming in because in this day and age with this car, you know, when anybody comes in and puts on fresh tires they're normally about a second faster. So you can't give up that time. If McMurray came in and got off pit road, he'd be able to run a second faster lap time than I would have, which is an awful lot of distance. I knew I needed to come in with him.
But I was able to out-brake him and get to his outside and get to pit road, get slowed down, and we had a really good pit stop.
And then exiting, I exited really hard and really fast, too, where I think when I came out I was half a straightaway plus on him, but you know, the 00 actually jumped us because he pitted before us, so he could see the distance that he was behind me when he pitted, and then when we all came out of the pits he was still ahead of me a ways. So that's the distance I'm talking about, and I couldn't give that up to the 1.
Q. If I could get both Kyle and Dave to address this: Kyle, Friday after Cup practice you didn't sound like a guy who was going to win last night or tonight. What happened? Did the crew make the cars that much better over two days, or was it your standards were a little bit too high after that practice?
KYLE BUSCH: Is that a question for Dave, too? I was going to let Dave go.
Q. For both of you.
DAVE ROGERS: Yeah, I think it's a combination. I think Kyle was working on some race signs. I think he could have gone out and practiced and posted quicker times if he just wanted to post the quick times, but he was trying to work on his race car. And we were off a little bit. We definitely didn't have a car capable of winning.
But Kyle just kept his head in the game, kept giving us feedback, giving us direction. He did a great job this weekend of directing the race team and giving us information so we could make good decisions this morning.
Likewise, I've got to give Jason credit, Jason Ratcliff a lot of credit, too, because I called him up this morning and said, look, man, you were the race-winning car in practice; what did you do. He told me what he did to work on his car to make it better, which gave me more confidence in making the changes I needed to make today.
So I'd like to say that both teams improved their race car, but I think you've got to give Kyle Busch a lot of credit, too, for knowing what he needed to race and then when they drop the green flag he knows how to race.
KYLE BUSCH: And yeah, I'm hard on myself and I might be hard on my guys. But it boils down to wanting the desire, the desire to win, wanting to win, and just trying to work more towards our goal. When I don't feel like we're there, when it's hard to tell in this day and age where you're at in practice, you can know sometimes when you have a really good car and you can know sometimes when you don't, and we kind of haven't been able to have the speed that we've wanted to show in practice.
But when it comes down to the race, we're right there. We're not bad. Denny last week, look, you guys talked all about how bad Denny was, 33rd in qualifying and back of the pack in practice and he swapped cars because he sucked so bad, and then, look, he goes out and almost has the opportunity to win the race, and we should have been right there with him if it wasn't for me driving the thing in the fence.
You know, our stuff might not practice well, but when we go to work and work on things and work on the drivability of the cars, the cars seem to be driving pretty well where we can race them and be comfortable racing them and take them to the front.
Q. How does this win, or does it matter in the sense of helping you for the Chase? Obviously so many of the tracks in the Chase are mile and a halfs. Maybe you get something out of here to help you with Dover. But for winning tonight and maybe some of the struggles you've had the last few weeks, how does this help prepare you or in what ways, if at all, with the Chase?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, like I said last night or earlier Friday, this win will be over tonight, and we go back to work tomorrow or Monday and getting our stuff prepared for Atlanta. We have an off week, but we need to get our stuff going there for there.
You can say, yeah, it's a confidence booster. We still know how to win, we know how to do this. Like I mentioned earlier, it's Bristol; it's a place we kind of expect to run well at. It's a place I expect to run well at.
Dave gave me a great car today. It's his first win here, so that's pretty cool. Happy for him, of course, and the rest of the guys to be able to repeat and come back from our win here last year and do it again.
You know, I feel like going on into Atlanta, it's going to be a test for us to see how good we are again at the mile and a half stuff, and then we got to Richmond, another one of our racetracks that I tend to run well at and Dave gave me an awesome car last time. So looking forward to that, and then the Chase starts. We hit reset and we've got ten weeks to show what we've got and hopefully it's enough.
Q. We obviously know you're a perfectionist because you're never happy unless you're winning or you have a really fast car. But the other day it struck me that you had said you only enjoy a race win when it happens and then it's on to the next one. Having swept this weekend, having done this tonight, going into an extended period, do you allow yourself to enjoy this a little bit, or if you have some late model race on Wednesday and you finish second are you going to be pissed and go back to -- is that what drives you, being hard on yourself like you were talking about being hard on your guys and stuff like that? Is that what keeps you motivated?
KYLE BUSCH: If I had a late model race on Wednesday, if I ran second, then yeah, I'd be mad. I mean, yeah, this one is over. We just won. It's awesome, it's great for the team. You know, we've got an off day tomorrow. We can celebrate, do whatever we want to do. I'm sure Dave is going to invite me over to the new pool. And we'll tear that thing up with the pirate ship and everything else we've got for David, little David.
But yeah, I mean, Wednesday is a -- J.D., close your ears, it's an off-road race for me on Wednesday. Going to do that for the first time, and it's going to be fun, so that will be a treat. And then next week running the truck race at Chicago. If I don't win there, yeah, I'm going to be upset. I'm there to win and I feel like I should be able to win, and you know --
Q. Being that hard on yourself, what keeps you going?
KYLE BUSCH: If I came out of here every week happy for losing, I'm not here for the right reasons. That's when I need to go away. I'm here to try to win, and if I don't win, I might not entirely be happy unless we struggled through a day and then all of a sudden, boom, we ran second or third, and then it's like, yeah, we got a good day out of here, that was good, a good points day or whatever. That's kind of just the way I am. That's kind of what you guys have seen for the years that I've been here and probably the years to come.
Q. We always hear about how important chemistry is between driver and crew chief, and there's some guys that just can't do it. Some teams just aren't able to do it. But you seem to do it no matter who's crew chiefing; you win. Why? Are you just that smart?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know that I'm that smart. Having smart people that work on your car and can give you what you need, I feel like -- you know, sometimes I lead them in the wrong direction. I don't give them exactly -- I tell them what I'm feeling, but I don't tell them what I need. And I feel like that sometimes mixes us up and kind of heads us in the wrong direction. We've had those talks and stuff.
But you know, this week I just -- there was something that I kept missing. There was something that I just didn't have that I've had here in the past, and I talked to Dave about it, and we were like -- I even bring up the guy's name; it's like, when I was with Steve I was able to do this. These were the things that I was able to do and we could get the car to kind of rotate here and have this drive off. And he doesn't get offensive to it, and that's what makes a strong team. That's what makes everything go right, and he'll go back to the books and look at the notes that Steve has and stuff like that, and so that's what we do to get better is just try to communicate, work ourselves and do the things that we know how to do and be smart about it.
Q. A couple years ago you dominated the regular season and got in the Chase and things went bad right away. The last nine races until tonight have not gone really great for you guys. Do you feel there's something with this team and you right now that makes you better prepared to race for a championship than you were a few years ago?
KYLE BUSCH: I'm not going to say that just in one night we've turned it around. You know, I feel like we've got to show ourselves next week like I mentioned at Atlanta, a place I'm not very strong at, and at Richmond, another place I tend to run well at, we need -- for the last nine weeks the way we've run, we could have finished better, we should have finished better. I made mistakes, maybe Dave would admit to making just a couple mistakes.
But I feel like we do it as a team. We win and lose as a team. That what we've talked about and we're here to do going forward, what we did this weekend, keep communicating on what we can do to try to make the cars better. I've had winning cars at places before so there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to return that. But sometimes guys just hit it and figure it out a little bit better than you, and you've got to comprehend that sometimes, too.
Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: What do I say all the time?
DAVE ROGERS: He beats himself up.
KYLE BUSCH: I ask why.
DAVE ROGERS: First he'll argue with you, and then you'll start to argue back with him, and he'll say, okay, why, why do you say that? Why do you say I'm so good? We've got to keep him pumped up like because like the gentleman over here said, he won Bristol tonight, he's probably about five minutes away from forgetting about it and figuring out how to win this Baja race on Wednesday.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Kyle, just a great week here at Bristol, Dave, J.D., congratulations.
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