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November 17, 2016

Kyle Busch

Q. How much has your life changed since winning last year?
KYLE BUSCH: How much or how?

Q. How and how much has it changed?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it's certainly changed since last year, since not being a champion to then being a Sprint Cup Series champion, so certainly there's some change in that. How has that change been? It's been really good. I feel like maybe on the racetrack you get an extra four inches instead of one inch from particular people, but it also depends on what lap it's on, so when it comes down to the end of the race, it's pretty much every man for himself all the time, but just having that accolade and being a part of the sport, having recognition from other champions come up to you with the likes of Darrell Waltrip or Dale Jarrett or Rusty Wallace, those guys that come put their arm around you and tell you welcome‑to‑the‑club type thing.

Q. I understand if you win the title this year it's less money‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: Oh, yeah, well aware.

Q. Carl says he's not aware. Should I believe him?
KYLE BUSCH: Probably not because he was in the same meeting I was.

Q. Does it matter?
KYLE BUSCH: No, no, it doesn't matter. Really it's not‑‑ to me how I've always looked about it, and Carl would probably say the same thing, I've always raced to achieve what I want to achieve based on success and on results and things like that. It hasn't been for the money, although you do want to get paid for what you do, you do want to get paid well if you're better at what you do, but ultimately it all comes down to just taking home trophies, man.

Q. When you worked out your new deals with the charter agreement, was that taken into consideration, what you make if you win it, virtually as much as you would have last year, or will you actually‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: If you look at the formula, there's a whole formula involved. It's quite confusing. So I'm not exactly sure if I'll make 100 percent of what I made last year or 80 percent or something within there. I don't know exactly.

Q. Your crew chiefs will talk a lot this week. Between the drivers and teammates, will you talk a lot, and when will that stop?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think everything is normal. Carl and I both weren't there on Tuesday for our meeting, but we believe that there's still going to be the same discussions that we have after practice. We'll still have our debrief after final practice and be able to give all of us, each of us the best opportunity possible to go ahead and be successful on Sunday. How we use those notes each and every week, not just this week, is how successful we are in the race, so it comes down to crew chief, it comes down to driver of being able to pick through what everyone says and using the best of those notes to their advantage.
That's kind of where we'll probably leave it is right there and go into Sunday every man for himself.

Q. Is there a natural want to hold something back if you think you know something‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: Probably, but there's so many past notes that our teams are probably smart enough they'll figure out ways to read right through us.

Q. Did you understand the pulling up to pit rule last week? Have you gone back and looked at what Jimmie was called on? You've been the leader a lot, you know how you're supposed to do it.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, so in particular instances, in particular drivers' meetings, there has been times where they have told us that we know you will pass the pace car, and that is okay. That has been said before. I want to say maybe it's Richmond, maybe it's Martinsville because you come around the curve, but I think they think it's after the commitment line that that happens, not before the commitment line, that pulling up to pit thing. You follow?
So last year I think I saw a video earlier this week, somebody was trying to point out that it looked really, really close of me coming down Homestead for the final stop last year where I was right even with the pace car. It was hard to tell whether I was in front or behind him, but it was close enough where I guess maybe I was given the benefit of the doubt in that situation. But I never throttled up like Jimmie did even to keep those guys behind me. If you look at the film, I got everybody bottled up and they're all nose‑to‑tail beating the bumpers off of each other coming to pit road. It wasn't like I gassed it up.
I guess it's just all in how it's perceived and how it looks, so don't make it look bad.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
KYLE BUSCH: Not yet. I certainly look at things that I've done in the past that I wish I wouldn't have done, but I guess I‑‑

Q. Teachable moments, right?
KYLE BUSCH: Definitely teachable moments, right, so take the positive out of it, I like it.

Q. Do you like a lot of the focus being on Jimmie getting his seventh instead of you?
KYLE BUSCH: I think Jimmie is good enough, calm enough that that doesn't get to him much. Those guys have been there and done that in years past. I think that when they won one, everybody says, oh, they're going for two. When they won two, everybody said they're going for three in a four. When they won three in a row, they were going for four in a row. They did things that were unprecedented in this sport, and they achieved those things through how great they are. That's why they're one of the guys that are here and one of the guys to beat, and for me, one of the guys that I knew when they were able to get to this level of this Chase format that were going to be hard to beat.

Q. This getting‑along thing that you guys were doing up there, with a different driver like a Keselowski or a Harvick up there with you, does that dynamic change? Is it the group of these particular four, or is it the format that makes you get along?
KYLE BUSCH: I think it's both. I think it's the group for sure, and it's personalities, things like that. If there were different characters put up there, then obviously you'd respond differently to those characters.
You know, with this format, also, though, you know that as Carl said, you're not going to beat up on a guy in a media session and make his car go any faster. To be honest with you, you're probably going to make it go faster. Did I say faster? I meant slower. You're not going to make him go slower, you're going to make him go faster. You're going to make him want it more, so there's no sense in doing any of that, really.
That's why UFC fighters, they egg each other on, you're just going to get hit harder.

Q. Next season XFINITY and Camping World are basically kicking off the Kyle Busch rule just because you won so much in those series. You have a vested interest in the business side of that. How do you feel about that?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it is what it is. It certainly hurts the business side of Joe Gibbs Racing and myself a little bit. The Truck Series, I don't think I'd probably run more than five or seven, so that's not too bad. The schedule of events in which I can choose from probably hurts a little bit. I like going to Texas, I like going to Phoenix, I would probably run those in the XFINITY side or the truck side in the fall time of the year, and you know, it also hurts on the XFINITY side with Joe because we've got a partner that was going to pay for 16 or 18 races, whatever it was, and now we're cutting him back to 10.
What we do with that extra funding is going to be crucial to figure out, whether we can keep it in house or whether we just hand it back to him and give him a refund check.

Q. A year after winning the championship, how much at peace (indiscernible)?
KYLE BUSCH: I think winning the championship last year definitely impacted us. It just gave us a greater sense of belief in ourselves and our team and confidence in being able to go out there and do it again. You know, there's no reason to think that what we accomplished last year is a one‑time thing. We feel we're just as good last year if not better and performed better throughout this Chase in order to get ourselves in the position we're in.
You know, there's going to be plenty of reasons as to why we can be beat and plenty of reasons as to why we can beat the rest of them. It's just a matter of how it all comes down to performance on Sunday and being able to be right on top of things as the race goes on and all the way to the end.

Q. Do you carry anything in your car, have you this year and will you for Homestead?
KYLE BUSCH: No, I've never done that, so there's no reason to change anything up.

Q. How superstitious are you for this week in terms of doing similar things you did a year ago?
KYLE BUSCH: Not much. No, I mean, no superstitions, just knowing what I did last year was good enough to win the championship. But this year it could not be good enough to win the championship. We know because Harvick was the defending champion in the last year, and here came a guy that hadn't won one before and beat him, so you can be beat in these situations. It's just a matter of doing all the prep and doing everything that you can do, whether it's with your crew chief or your crew chief doing the prep to the car or to his pit crew, making sure everybody is all prepared, ready to go, me looking at notes and things like that and making sure that I'm prepared as can be, and just having the opportunity to go out there and race for it all on Sunday is the ticket.

Q. After you watched the replay last week, were you a little bit hard on yourself? Do you still feel like you had a lot to do with what happened?
KYLE BUSCH: I feel like I had way less to do with it, yeah. I thought that when I got into Bowman, that shot him off into the corner and he cleaned Matt out like two lanes up the track, which wasn't the case. Yeah, I was definitely hard on myself. I probably took way too much blame, but I think there's still some blame for all of us to take. If you look at who is‑‑ what percentage of blame should be given to everybody, I think we all have a piece, but what exact percentage that is, I'm not sure.

Q. Did you get a chance to talk to Matt about it at all?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we've exchanged texts back and forth. It's as good as it's going to be good right now with him still probably being rightfully upset with how it all went down last week. I mean, man, he was, what, 30, 35 seconds away from taking the white? That's a pretty bummer situation.

Q. Going back to the point about distribution, does it make sense with this format since it's kind of a roll‑the‑dice format to give the champion less, and when it gets to like fourth and down a little bit more?

Q. They should pay‑‑ the champion should be the one who's getting the‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think the champion should get his level of money and then two three four should get his level of money and then each Chase bracket have you get their level of money, and then after that should be whatever it is, know what I mean? It shouldn't just be‑‑ what they tried to do is they tried to even it out from first all the way back to last in order to just make the sport more sustainable for everybody, right, but when you're the driver and you're not the owner and taking home a percentage of that, that hurts you really bad. I feel like it's‑‑ it was done through the RTA. It wasn't done through the Driver Council, so we had absolutely no say in it, so that's why it is the way it is.

Q. Looking at last week the way Matt chose the outside for that last restart, does the chance of being turned like that going into the corner in a late restart maybe affect what you do as the leader on a late restart this week?
KYLE BUSCH: I think the tracks are different, so Phoenix, I actually asked Matt if he would choose the bottom in order to allow our row to accelerate and get ahead in order to be able to put a car between me and the 22 knowing that I wouldn't just flat‑outrun into the corner or try to make a three‑wide move on my teammate, so it just didn't work out.
Matt did the same thing earlier in the race, I guess, with Denny. Denny asked or something, I heard. But ultimately it comes down to us. We've got to make the right decision for what we feel is correct in that moment, and you know, it didn't work out for Matt.
But this weekend at Homestead I think Brad chose the inside for the final restart or last year for some reason, I don't know why, but I got the outside lane, which put Harvick right behind me, so it gave us the opportunity to be in the same row as one another, and we succeeded.

Q. Christopher Bell said earlier today that you had a conversation with him earlier in the year that he had to stop trying to make things happen and let things happen naturally, meaning he was putting himself in position to get in trouble. He said that conversation with you really changed his season. He got the win at Gateway, really the last 14 races he's had 12 top 10 finishes. Can you talk about that conversation and how he's matured since that conversation?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think sometimes it does‑‑ I'll probably have to have another conversation with him, but sometimes it does just alleviate stress when you just allow things to naturally come to you. That means just running at 90 percent, just make laps and burn laps, and if you're leading the race doing that, fine, that's perfect. But if you're running third and you're trying to push yourself to that 100 or 110, you're over‑driving your stuff and your equipment and the things you have going for you at that time, you put yourself in bad spots like he did at Michigan, and he wrecked the truck by doing that.
This weekend at Homestead, what do you do, in the end of the race and having those situations come about? I think there are opportunities where you do have to go out there and you do have to run hard and you do have to not just allow things to come to you, you have to go take, but that's part of the sport where there's give and take. There's a fine line. You've just got to know what's right and what happens through instinct is how all that is best met. You can't think about it.

Q. You've won championships; did you ever feel like you'd lost one, that something you did lost the championship because of it?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it was too early in the season to tell, but I look back at 2007, my final year at Hendrick, and we were running pretty good. I think we were third in the Chase at the time, and we were either leading or running third at Kansas, and I think Junior came off of 2 and wrecked me, and from there on, that killed the rest of our mojo, our momentum, the things that we had going for us in that season, and then in 2008, right the exact year after that, we got into the Chase as the top seed, we won eight races, and then boom, right out of the gate in the Chase we tried to start doing things a different way, and it messed us up, and we totally lost what we were doing and what our focus was and killed us there. I never made it all the way down to the end and lost one in the end, I've just always been eliminated before it even started, really.

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