KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 3CHI CAMARO ZL1 – Race Win Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of tonight's NASCAR Cup Series race, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
We'll go right to questions.
Q. Out-dueling Larson on several late race restarts, where does this win do you feel like ranks among maybe some of your best driving performances?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, I mean, I guess I had a lot of experience of doing the same stuff last year, and unfortunately didn't make the most of it there at the end and get the win last year. Was able to do it this year just racing against a few of those guys. Larson was up there, Denny was up there, Blaney, all the guys that were fast all day. So I knew it wasn't going to be easy.
Just the restarts kind of went our way. We were able to get through on the outside on that one and push Larson out, then he took bottom of three and four, I was able to carry the momentum around the high side to take the lead. That was really important. I think that was kind of the key moment of us being able to win today. Being able to control the rest of the restarts for the rest of the race.
Kyle is one of the best. It's good to be able to sit up here and race hard with him, being a Team Chevy partner. He gave me great respect, I appreciate that. That will be given back down the road.
Q. Did you anticipate this level of success so early when you made the move to RCR?
KYLE BUSCH: I'm sorry, one more time.
Q. Did you anticipate this level of success so early?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, we've had some really good runs. We've had three wins obviously, which is great. But we've also had some of the dismal days as well. We've had peaks and valleys so far this year.
We just got to find the greater planes, if you will, and level this thing out a little bit. It's great to be able to score a win here in St. Louis for Randall's hometown, that's really good. So the team is really on a high. The whole organization has been really fighting hard, doing a great job.
Everybody back at RCR, at the shop, ECR, the engine shop, has been doing great. Just been so welcoming and really cool to be able to go out there and succeed for them and to give them back what all the hard work they're putting in is doing.
Q. Do you kind of feed off of that? It's like after what you went through last year with Gibbs, to go someplace that just so thoroughly wanted you there, and they're feeding off of your talent and your success, it just has to pull an organization in the right direction.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it all kind of stems, too, on the horse you're riding, right? We were horrible at the All-Star Race. That was probably our worst roll. Being able to come out here and have a good run at a short track, although it was still the normal aero package, if you will. But just goes to show that we're really putting our head down and digging in and trying to figure out what it's going to be able to take to get me comfortable to make me fast, right?
You got to have a good horse to ride. So far this year we've had a few. Guys have been doing a great job. Last week at Coke 600, we were fast as well. I think I kind of hurt the car a little bit when I spun out. We still drove back to second. Didn't have anything for the 12. Was a great night for us. Just continuing to show good speed each week.
Q. Now you've won in the Cup, Xfinity Series here at Gateway. Is it now a goal to win in the Truck Series?
KYLE BUSCH: Depends on the rules and regulations and stipulations of locking me out. This was a triple truck challenge race. I can't run in those. It's a matter of being able to open up the playbook to have more races to choose from. It's limited on which ones I'm allowed to go do.
Years ago I was slated to run a late model race or something, I think it got canceled or something. I don't know what it was. Didn't get a chance to do that one either, but that would have been fun.
Q. You led the most laps in both races here, two different teams, two different makes. Is there anything in particular at this track that you feel you've figured out or...
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know what that really is. I've been fast here back in the Xfinity days when I raced with JGR, and the Hendrick days I think we had top five runs here, something like that. This has always been a good place for me. Always fun to come out to Gateway and the St. Louis area and have a good race.
Not sure exactly what it is or what makes me run well here. It's a fun place to race, so you just go out there and attack it and enjoy it.
Q. On this day 12 years ago, you and Richard had your physical altercation. Richard said he's put it behind him, you guys have moved on, he's been proud to have you as part of his team. Wanted your thoughts of how you've grown and learned from that, now being a part of this team, to not only be the leader of this team but the face of the biggest threat for the championship?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, people change. People grow up. Whatever happens. The relationship that I have now, and the effort that's gone into securing me, to get me to go to RCR, the discussions and talks that happened there. Obviously being able to get there and have some really strong runs, winning right out of the gate at Fontana was big for us, a good morale booster. Just proves them right, right? Gives them greater satisfaction in me being part of the team.
It's been fun to have that group around. They know when we go to places, we struggle at places, that we all want to get better, right? I could do a better job most of the time. Randall and the guys can do a better job as well.
We just all continue to strive and work hard and bounce off of each other in order to make sure we can come out and have the best possible stuff every time we hit the racetrack.
Q. Tell us about your thoughts of having Braxton in the car going around. A big smile on his face.
KYLE BUSCH: It was. Thank you. Braxton is a huge fan of mine, a great supporter obviously. It's really fun when your son is there to kind of celebrate and have a great time, being able to jump the wall and come out. I was shocked when he got there. Asked the NASCAR guys if he could go for a ride. We did that in 2009 when I won the championship. That's a moment we will never forget. We will cherish that one forever. It was really fun, really cool.
Did it again today. Tried to accelerate down the backstretch to give him a little bit of pull on the race car. The rear tires were smoked, so all it wanted to do was spin out. Thankfully I kept it straight.
We had fun. He likes that. So one of these days I'm sure he'll be reaching for the pedals himself.
Q. This is looking ahead. You led 54 laps last year at Nashville, couldn't close the deal. Hendrick's won the last two races. Being part of the key Chevrolet groups, does that give you additional data that might help you win when you go back there in two or three weeks?
KYLE BUSCH: Certainly I would like to think so. I think the 8 car there last year was decent. Not as good as the Hendrick 9 or the 18 where I was. Like you said, we weren't quite able to close out the deal.
It would be nice to go back there and lean on some of those notes. That's been a key thing for us to be able to do. It didn't necessarily bode well at the All-Star Race. Maybe we showed them what not to do. Here this weekend, we were able to excel and we had the good stuff this weekend, if you will.
Look forward to all the weeks ahead, kind of this final stretch before the Playoffs.
Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: It is, but it's nowhere near the same. Entirely different racetrack. Concrete surface, banking in the corners. Corners more similar, one, two, three, four. So yeah. Fun track, though.
Q. I'm not sure if this is a buzz kill or not. Did you have any concerns about brakes? Was there a big concern or you have a bunch of red flags at a track you don't have a lot of data on, guys are pushing it, we should have expected some of that today?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I obviously don't know what package they ran. I'm sure they would run the short track package here for brakes.
I never felt any vibration, never had any issue, never had any long pedal or nothing with mine. I was confident in our stuff and what we had going.
I felt like that was actually a really strong suit for me today, was on the brakes, get in the corner, get whoa'd up in time for the rest of the corner.
RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING; and RANDALL BURNETT, CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 3CHI CAMARO ZL1 – Race Win Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race-winning team owner, Richard Childress, team owner of Richard Childress Racing.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It's great to be back in the winner's circle and come here and see all the great media folks that come here and help our sport be what it is today.
Q. You said over the radio after Kyle took the checkered flag, there's no one I'd rather have in that position than you. What has he meant to the organization?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, he's helped us all around. Number one, he's winning races, showing we can win races. He's helped Austin a whole lot. Austin has had some really good runs. He had drove up to about 10th until the 2 car wrecked him in there on purpose, sort of a payback.
But you know, Kyle has been really -- he's such a pleasure to work with. Everybody says, man, how y'all going to get along. Same question they asked me about you and Dale won't last six months. We lasted 20 years. I want to keep Kyle there, and hopefully we can end his career when he gets ready to.
Q. Was there any concern with your organization with brake rotors when it started to creep in there with a few of the cars? I think we had four broken rotors today?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You're talking about breaking rotors?
Q. Yeah, the brake rotors were breaking and there were four broken rotors today. Was there any concern among the RCR cars?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, I was really concerned on the 3 because he's really hard on the brakes. Kyle didn't seem to use it that much, and Austin quit using his a whole lot there at the end. These long straightaways, they have so much time to cool off, and then you get them so hot in the corner -- here comes Randall Burnett, the winning crew chief, from local boy from right here in Missouri, St. Louis.
I hope that answered your question.
Q. Mr. Childress, three wins in the first 15 races of the season. From your perspective when was the last time it felt like RCR was this dangerous, to be a winner on such a regular basis?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, we won a lot with Harvick, won a lot with Earnhardt. Our plans is to win a lot with Kyle, and not only be a contender for that championship. If we make the Final Four, we'll have a shot at winning it for sure.
Q. Richard, I know it's been a short time, but was that the best race you've seen Kyle drive for you?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, anytime he gets in the car, I think he drives a really great race. Anytime we can give him a car capable of winning, he's going to win with it. I think he just did a great job today.
Those last three or four or however many it was restarts, I felt they were pretty tough, but I knew he would be able to do his job.
Q. For Randall, following up on the brake rotors, did you have any concerns, and is it just something that -- red flags and not a lot of data on this track, makes that more challenging?
RANDALL BURNETT: I think people probably came back -- I think teams last year came here a little more conservative last year not knowing, and I think we all took data from that and went home and looked. We get options on heavy-duty rotors or light-duty rotors, so we can choose that, and we can obviously choose how much cooling we run to them.
Like Richard said, it's kind of a tough place because the straightaways are so long and you're off the brakes for such a long time, and then you apply them really hard at the end of the straightaway, so the cycles of getting really cool down the straightaways and then really spiking up the heat, it takes a toll on the rotors.
We were fortunate enough with the 8 car, we were kind of in the top 5 most all day long, and when you get back further a little bit in the pack, too, and have to work your rotors harder, using brakes, racing people a lot harder, those things happen.
I'm sure everybody will take a look at that and try to understand what happened with those cars.
Q. Richard, 12 years ago this was the day when you and Kyle got into the physical altercation. Talk about how you've seen him grow and mature, kind of evolve in the sport, and now racing for you and putting you as probably one of the top teams to be the threat for the championship this year.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, we put that totally behind us. We talked about it. That was one of the first things we talked about. That's history. We've both grown a lot. I know I've grown up. I've grown older, but I've grown up, too. There's an old song out there, I'm still growing up but I'm getting older.
Q. Randall, winning in your home track here in St. Louis, you being a St. Louisan, do you have any initial memories of being here at Gateway and all the tremendous improvements Gateway has made?
RANDALL BURNETT: Yeah, I was here, I was still in St. Louis, living here when this place -- it used to be a road course here and part of the dragstrip was a road course, and I actually raced karts on that track a handful of times, and then they built this place, and I'd come watch INDYCARs when they would come, any events they would come here. So we always came over for that when I was a kid.
I was fortunate enough to run some shifter karts here on this track through the road course on the infield and then part of the big track.
It means a lot to me to come home. I moved away from here when I was about 20 years old and moved to Charlotte to do what I'm doing, to go race, and I did some driving down there and grew up racing go-karts here with my mom and my dad, off Telegraph Road at Woodman Raceway Park, the St. Louis Karting Association my father and some of them built down there for us to have a place to even go race.
To come home and win here, it means a lot. It's a pretty big deal for me.
Q. Randall, can you look at just the first 14, 15 races and have an idea or a sense what the potential is for that team?
RANDALL BURNETT: I think we've got a lot of potential. I think we've got a lot to clean up, too, and we talk about it repeatedly. We've had some really fast cars and taken ourselves out of races with some mistakes and things like that, me and Kyle, and our whole group have talked about it, and we know we've all got to clean it up on our end, especially if we're going to compete for the championship.
We are fast with this intermediate package. We've struggled really bad on the short tracks, haven't got the feel for him of what he needs in a car on a short track yet, so that's one of our biggest hindrances right now I would say as a team to be where we really want to be.
But really proud of this 8 bunch. They dig in hard. Great group of guys, great group of racers, and Kyle has fit right in with them. He's done a great job of adapting over here and lent plenty of insight on his side to how to make things better, as well, so we're all working together towards that.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I want to say one other thing. Chevy has really supported us a lot, and I don't think we could do what we do today without all the support -- all the manufacturers support the teams, but I feel like Chevrolet gets behind us stronger than anybody else, all the three key partners.
Thank you all.