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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Capital City 400

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Capital City 400

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Capital City 400

Kyle Busch
Joe Gibbs
Dave Rogers
April 28, 2012


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and start with our post‑race interview with our race winner, Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M's Brown Toyota.  This is Kyle's 24th win in 266 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, first win of 2012, fourth win, 13th top 10 finish in 15 races here at Richmond, and Kyle has now won four straight spring races here at Richmond, and that breaks a tie with Richard Petty who did so from 1971 to 1973.  So Kyle, congratulations, huge weekend for you obviously after yesterday, and not a bad way to start an early birthday week for you, too.  Happy early birthday.  Talk about this fantastic weekend and a great race tonight.
KYLE BUSCH:  Yeah, thanks.  It was an awesome weekend all around.  We unloaded here yesterday and had a decent car off the truck and was able to work on it and just kept making some changes to it, try to make it better for us.  And you know, there through much of the race we just kept ourselves in position and did what we needed to do to stay in the top 5 and had a good race car to do that with, and the guys on pit road gave me phenomenal stops to gaining ground every time even when we were pulling spring rubber.  Can't say enough about those guys.  Wherever that last caution came from, that was the saving grace, just the luck of the day, and put us in the right position there coming down pit road behind Tony, and the guys did a fast pit stop, got us the lead off pit road, which was a huge advantage, just being able to give me the control of the restart and not have to wait on Tony or cause myself to spin my tires or what have you and get behind.
So really helped me out, and once I got out front, I knew I had ten laps, I could abuse the heck out of that thing and drive it for all it was worth and didn't have to save any tires.  So just kind of goes to show what speed we had in our 18 Camry, M&M's Camry, the final ten laps.
THE MODERATOR:  Also joined by crew chief Dave Rogers.  It was a very interesting race all the way through, some green flag runs obviously, and then late race excitement once again.  Talk about how it came about from your perspective.
DAVE ROGERS:  Yeah, just really excited to get a points victory this season.  But hats off to Kyle.  I think the key to the game today was Kyle kept us in it all race.  He never got frustrated or discouraged.  Kyle said the car is pretty good.  I thought we were off a little bit more than I thought it was going to be, and Kyle just did a great job giving us feedback, giving us direction on what he needed to make the car better and was patient with us and just drove a smart race.  And then at the end there, the pit crew, they had a fantastic stop there and was able to beat the 14 car off pit road and give Kyle that final restart.
THE MODERATOR:  Also joined by team owner Joe Gibbs.  Dave just talked a little bit about patience, and there's been some patience as the team has gone through the season to get to this point and get the first win of the year.  Talk about how that feels.
JOE GIBBS:  It feels great.  The first thing I asked Kyle, I said, okay, is it more fun winning as a car owner or a driver?  And he was honest, he says as a driver.  No, I think‑‑ I really didn't‑‑ I really felt like with our team right now, I kind of look at us, the 18, we didn't change anything there.  We had Dave coming back.
I felt like Kyle‑‑ I really wasn't worried about whether it was a slow start for us.  You always get concerned when you don't jump out there and get it, but I felt like we have a lot of confidence in our team.  I think tonight was a good example of a total team effort.  I think Dave did a great job.  Obviously our pit crew, that was awesome.  Those guys are lightning quick.  And then Kyle, I think, too, just stayed real patient, never worried about things, kept his poise, and things just turned out right for us in the end.

Q.  Kyle, if it wasn't for that last caution did you think you had any chance of catching Tony?
KYLE BUSCH:  No, I was losing half a tenth to a tenth on every lap to what Tony was doing up there.  He was just so fast.  At that point I kept trying and staying with him there early in that run to get him the pressure and use up his tires a little bit, and I could see him doing some of that, but then my car just started getting a little bit too tight in the center and a little bit too loose off where I started losing ground, and once I about couldn't see him anymore, I figured, okay, I'm going to save what I've got here and just try to make it to the end here and see if any of the guys catch me from behind, give me something that I have left that I can reach them with if they get to my back bunker.  No catching Stewart without that caution.

Q.  You broke a record with Richard Petty tonight.  How does that make you feel?
KYLE BUSCH:  I didn't even know that we were tied for a record, but it's definitely pretty special any time you're tied for a record with Richard Petty or you're able to break a record with that guy.  He's just a class act and been in this sport forever it feels like, and he's done so many things and won so many races and championships and everything else.  He's one of the biggest icons of our sport, so for me to be up there in one of those, I guess you'd call it one of those situations that I was able to beat him on one of those records, that feels pretty good.  Whether or not I'm ever able to beat any of his other records, that's to be seen.  Hopefully I've got a long time to keep racing here.

Q.  I was going to ask you, were you confused at all about what was going on out there with Carl's restart and did you see the water bottle that brought out the caution?
KYLE BUSCH:  Which caution?

Q.  The last one.
KYLE BUSCH:  The restart and all, what was going on, Tony was the lucky dog but then they said no, he was ahead because he came off pit road already, so that made us the lucky dog.  I was like, man, that's a lucky break right there.  That puts us right back in this thing.
What was funny is we were the lucky dog, but then there's so many wave arounds and everything that happened, we restarted right back in our same position because they had to restart behind us.  I was like, all right, this is going really good.  Then that was the point in the race I think where Stewart was‑‑ I think it was Lap 313 or something, Stewart was driving away from him.  Every time I'd pass a lapped car he'd pass a lapped car.  There was always somebody in between us and I was always just a little bit too far behind.
And then I had no idea what caused the last caution.  I didn't know what it was.  Glad there was something somewhere.

Q.  Four consecutive wins here and a couple of those wins you were the dominant car all night.  This one you were not.  What is it about spring in Richmond that brings out the best in you, especially at the end of the race?
KYLE BUSCH:  I'm not sure.  I've had that question already a couple times tonight, but it's just something that keeps going well for us.  It probably could have been spring in Richmond the year before that, too.  Unfortunately the last two laps I got into a little tangle with a pretty popular race car driver.  Aside from that, this race has always been great to me.  I've run well here in the Cup cars here for a long time and I won my first Nationwide Series race here.
I guess being the last week of April, first week in May, birthday week, it's always kind of fun, too.  Won here on my birthday two years ago and coming up on another birthday.  Every time I come to Richmond in the spring it's really good, but yet I feel really bad because I'm getting older.

Q.  Coach Gibbs and for Kyle, this is the first time ever that there have been some people who would claim that your team was not the best Toyota team, and competition is supposed to raise the level for everyone, so do you think that the success of Michael Waltrip has led in some ways to this victory?
JOE GIBBS:  Well, I think first of all, I want to say a big thanks to Toyota, a great partner for us.  It's a thrill for us to be a part of their group.  I think we have a great relationship with Michael's group and with Michael Waltrip Racing and Rob and everybody over there, and hopefully, because we do, with our partnership, and working through Toyota, that we do share some things.  But also I think the great thing about our sport, what I love about this sport, you've got to earn it and you can't fake it.  There's nothing you can do about it.  You're either good or you're not good, you're going to be up front or not up front.  I love the competitive part of it.
I think having partners like that, it pushes you.  I think it's great.  I applaud them, what they've been able to do over there, and I think they've stepped it up, and hopefully at some point, that's up to us to try and keep up with them.

Q.  Kyle, as you got to the finish line, you said, we're back.  Did you look on this race coming in as really a pivotal race even though it's only nine races into the season and as an indicator of really your team is right now?
KYLE BUSCH:  You know, Bristol was another one that I always look forward to and being able to run competitive at.  We got wrecked 25 laps into it so we really didn't get a chance to showcase what I felt like what our car was going to be able to do that day.  The mile‑and‑a‑halfs I feel like I'm a little bit behind there, just don't quite know what it takes to be fast.  Denny has really figured it out over the years, been able to work together.  So we're working on that, getting better.  Top 10 in Kansas I think was an improvement for us.
You know, to evaluate our program we feel like we've definitely had some ups and downs.  We definitely feel like we haven't run to the competitiveness that we want to.  You know, we're not out there leading all the laps and running up front and doing what Biffle has been able to do or Martin Truex has been able to do or some of those guys.  But I think to the question before, those guys at MWR, they've run a lot better this year, and it's great to see they've learned a lot of things from what we've been doing over the past and it's our turn to learn from what they've been doing and make ourselves better yet and to try to just keep doing that to make all of our organizations successful.

Q.  For Dave, what were your thoughts about‑‑ there was talk about the team being in a slump or whatever so far this season.  What were your thoughts on where you guys stood coming into this race weekend?
DAVE ROGERS:  Yeah, you know, as a crew chief, honestly I don't focus on that.  I have to perform a job, and my job is to bring the best race cars I can to the racetrack each and every week, regardless of whether or not people are saying we're in a slump or not.
You know, obviously a year ago I think you look back and we were leading the most laps and contending for the win nearly every week at this point in the season.  Now we're not living up to that standard.  That tells me we've got to work harder, bring better race cars to the racetrack.  I feel this race is what of an indication that we're turning the corner.  I think Kansas was an indication.  Kyle came back after Kansas and just gave me phenomenal feedback about what we need in our mile‑and‑a‑half program and that we'd come back to Richmond, a place we think we should run good, and we do.  I don't think one race makes or breaks a season, but pleased we were able to run up front here, now looking forward to going to Talladega, Darlington, Charlotte and seeing what we can do at those tracks.

Q.  Kyle, Joe was mentioning about whether it feels better to win as an owner or driver.  Last night you were really emotional.  Is it really better to win as a driver?
KYLE BUSCH:  I think the biggest thing about last night was just that it's something that I'm trying to build and make successful, and it's got my name on it, so we're doing the best we can with the people we have and with what we're doing there.  You know, it's just a matter of working through the pitfalls sometimes and working through the challenges that lie ahead.  Joe told me, he told me before I got going, Dave told me before I got going, what all it was going to entail and just knowing that we're working hard there.  But to see all of that come together for not only myself but Samantha and Rick Wren and all the people that pour their heart and soul into that place, it's pretty special.
I haven't spent a lot of time there, honestly, this year, not as much as I'd like to maybe.  Been in Dave's office a lot.  I know where my priorities lie, and it's just cool to see KVM get its first win, hopefully first of many.  Joe hopes not.  But it'll be fun.  It's a fun little rivalry we've got going on for now.

Q.  Is it harder to win as an owner or a driver?
KYLE BUSCH:  It's way harder to win as an owner for sure.  I'm standing there on the pit wall and I've got no control over what's going on.  I'm ready to come on the radio with Kurt and tell him what all he needs to be doing.  I'm glad Joe's buttons broke.
JOE GIBBS:  I think you broke a few of your rules tonight, outside, three laps in a row.
KYLE BUSCH:  Yeah, there were some times I wasn't listening to myself.  But we made it all happen.  Maybe I've got more faith in my ability than some others, but I don't know.

Q.  Two quick ones for you, Kyle.  Your win tonight ties you with your brother for all‑time Cup wins.  Talk about both sides of that rivalry.  And secondly, when you took the lead on the last restart and you looked in the mirror and saw the 88 behind you, did you flash back to a couple years back and wonder if he could get to you?
KYLE BUSCH:  You know, Kurt and I, we were actually tied once before.  I think it was last year maybe.  And then he won one or two or whatever, got back ahead of me.  No, it's cool.  It's cool that we're tied for wins like that, you know.  It's neat that we're still racing around here in the Sprint Cup Series hopefully with many more wins that we can both achieve.
Aside from that point, having the 88 behind me, I was more worried about the 14 at first, and then I saw I drug the 88 along with me on the bottom on that restart, and I just knew if I hit my marks and did my job that we were pretty fast and that I could pull away.
When I looked up in my mirror and seen him a little ways back, I just didn't even look anymore and just started concentrating on what was out in front of me and made sure I hit my marks to not let that opportunity arise.

Q.  Next week Talladega, but looking ahead, I think I saw you watching the Darlington ad that said the rematch of Kyle versus Kevin, and I'm just wondering, does that kind of give you momentum going into Darlington now that you got a win under your belt, putting all that stuff from last year behind you and focusing strictly on getting your second win of the season and marching forward?
KYLE BUSCH:  Oh, that stuff has been behind us for a long time.  We're talking 300 probably 50 something days ago.  Just having the win here at Richmond is always special.  It's really cool to get any win.  It's so tough in this sport to know what you're going to have any given week, and to come out here and run well like this is good.  To go to Talladega next week, anything can unfold there.  I think I've been crashed all but one time, and that time I didn't crash I almost crashed and won the race, so that was cool.
But going back to Darlington, it's a place that's really tough, really challenging.  I won our race there the first year it was repaved, and it's been really fast.  Last year we had a really good car.  Unfortunately we had some pit road miscues that got us kind of caught behind.  But looking forward to going back there and seeing what Darlington has got in store for us again.  Hearing that the track color has changed a little bit so maybe the grip level is not going to be old Darlington but something similar.

Q.  Can you talk about your cool box malfunctioning, about what time did that start happening, and what other gremlins were affecting you?
KYLE BUSCH:  The cool box unit unfortunately never worked.  I turned it on probably lap 30, 35, something like that.  I started breathing a little bit hard and kind of fogging my shield so I turned it on to see if I couldn't get some air in there to defog the shield on my helmet, and it didn't work.  Just flipped open my visor and kept digging.  Never had any other issues besides that, so everything else inside the car was good.

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