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November 16, 2017

Kyle Busch

Q. Do you really hate the photos that much?
KYLE BUSCH: It's just the timing of everything. It just won't work. The schedule with winning a championship, there's just no time to get it done, so we'll just have to take what photos come of Sunday on stage, and that will be it because there's no time.

Q. How will your strategy change on Sunday with the reduction of tires?
KYLE BUSCH: I think it changes things a little bit. Certainly if there's a caution you run 10 laps, there's a caution, you ran 15 laps, there's a caution, there's going to be a moment in time that you're going to have to stay out because you just can't continue to put tires on that fast, and we've seen the last few years that depending on how many cars are on the lead lap and things like that at the end of these races that guys are coming to get tires. Actually last year we all came and got tires, I think there was a restart with 15 to go, 16 to go, whatever it was, and all we had was a launch. All we had was the restart and then the big crash happened in Turn 1, and we cleared it, we didn't have any damage or anything, but there were 15 other guys on the lead lap came and put tires on again, and Joey was one of them, and so on the ensuing restart Joey blew our doors off, and that kind of forced our hand into the next restart with only three laps to go putting tires on for ourselves and seeing if we couldn't come back through, and nobody else came and put tires on on that one.

Q. Have you thought about what a second championship would mean for you, for your legacy or anything like that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no question I think a second championship validates the first one. There's a lot of arguments being made that we didn't deserve the first one, we should never have been there for the first one, but the fact of the matter is we executed and did our job with the rules that were given to us, and we achieved. This would just kind of put ourselves in another elite group of guys and drivers and teams that have been really, really good over the years that have been able to go win championships, and I certainly would have loved to have gotten it last year, and we could talk about going for three in a row rather than just two of the last three.

Q. A lot of people are talking about Truex because the numbers are there, a lot of people are talking about Harvick because this is a great track for him. Do you like going in under the radar?
KYLE BUSCH: I wouldn't say I like it, but I wouldn't say it's a problem. It doesn't do us any harm to not be the focal point. I feel we've been really strong this year. We've had good cars all season long. We've probably been arguably the best guy, the closest guy that's kept up with the 78 all year. There's been blurbs of the 42, there's been blurbs of the Penske guys early on in the season, and also the 4 has kind of come on as of late with the playoffs starting and their team getting a lot better, getting a lot closer. We know all those challenges are out there, and all we can do is focus on what we can do and what we know how to do coming into Homestead and what we've been able to accomplish the last three years here.

Q. The pit crew swap has worked out; you've got faith in this group of guys?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no question. I think any Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew is an amazing pit crew, and that's what makes us strong and that's what gives us maybe a sense of an advantage in a situation, although I guess I take that back because the 78 is a JGR pit crew. I don't know, it's obviously going to be about track position, where you're at, what's going on, and how many laps are on your tires, things like that, do you pit, do you not pit. So there's a lot of things that will play its ugly head in this race, and coming down to the end and what all happens. But certainly I've got no worries when I stop in my box and get four tires.

Q. When it comes to strategy, how much do you want to be involved in helping Adam make the call, and how much should you let Adam choose?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I let Adam do that. That's his job. That's what he's good at. I mentioned before last year, would it really have made sense for us to come in and pit and put tires on after just running one restart, one straightaway? Absolutely not, so that was our call, and I was good with that call. And then we got our doors blown off the next lap on the next restart. It didn't work out for us, but I believe in Adam and what he does on the pit box. He can see a heck of a lot more things than he can see and has a heck of a lot more information than I have. When it comes down to those situations, I like it more when Adam can just say, yep, this is what we're doing, and not asking me any questions.

Q. The setup from 2015 that you won with, can that be beneficial to this weekend, or that out the window?
KYLE BUSCH: That's obsolete. That's gone. That was gone last year, actually. Every year you come into the final race of the year, things change so much in six months, let alone 12 months, that this is a completely different deal right now.

Q. You and Martin, your team and Furniture Row have been tight all season. What is it this weekend? Is it an open notebook policy still?
KYLE BUSCH: It's the same ol' same ol'. Things will stay the same through this weekend. I'm sure there will be our team meetings. It's already on the calendar that we have our team meeting after practice on Saturday and we have our discussions, same ol' stuff, and see that we all can't do the same things that we've done all year long to get us to a championship.

Q. Who do you feel like is your biggest threat and why?
KYLE BUSCH: You've got to look at the 78. I'd say they're the biggest threat and why just because of the fact of their raw speed that they have each and every week. They're the ones that are able to have a pit road penalty or have an issue or something like that and get mired back in the traffic and yet was able to drive through the traffic and get back up to the front. You know, I wouldn't see the same thing happen from the 2, I wouldn't see the same thing happen with the 4, and I would argue if we had that same issue that we'd only get partially of the way back, not all the way back like the 78 can.

Q. Is the 78 at a disadvantage at all because they have not won a championship and the other guys have?
KYLE BUSCH: No, I don't think so. You know, Martin has won two XFINITY Series championships before, so he's done a really good job, actually beat me out for one of those in '04. But past that, Cole and Martin were in this situation in 2015 along with us, and they didn't quite show the raw speed obviously in that season that they have now, so that kind of set them back a little bit maybe in that year. But Cole was not scared to make some calls. He would say, two tires here or no tires there or whatever. He's not scared in those situations to be aggressive and to try to see if a call might not pan out.

Q. If there's a caution with six, seven laps to go, is this all going to come down to the restart?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think so, yeah. It's going to be about the restart. It's going to be about who can see that clean air first. If none of us are in the clean air, it's just going to be about who has the cleanest air probably. Let's say Martin is third and I'm fourth and Harvick is sixth, it's going to be about whoever has the cleanest air and can be better through traffic than those that are in front of them.

Q. Can we look for some chaos with five or six to go?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, you're going to see some guys if they don't get a good restart, they know they're going to have to block, they're going to have to run low and put other people in a situation of whether or not they're going to drive through you or whether or not they're going to lift. Seeing what we saw last year, I think that you'll expect that from that group, that they won't lift and they'll drive through you, so you've got to know what situation you're in. If I'm going to have a bad restart and I've got my teammate Denny Hamlin behind me, I'm probably going to be aware that he's going to lift a little bit. It's all about the situation and what's going on and who you're racing.

Q. What kind of things do you learn once you get to the Championship 4 that you can take with you coming back, and what things can you control along the way with that?
KYLE BUSCH: Coming back each year to Homestead?

Q. Yeah, when you're in this position among the Championship 4, you learn that there are things you can control, things you can't control, but what can you control to give you an advantage come Sunday?
KYLE BUSCH: I think the things you can control is your race car, obviously your guys, all the preparation and everything at the shop, and being ready for practice, and then being able to execute and do a good job and focus on what marks you need to hit and having those marks already set and ready to go and knowing what has made you successful at Homestead in years past and being able to reciprocate some of those things and making sure that you can repeat as having a good race car, and I feel like in '15 we were the best guy. Harvick had the early part of the race and we had the late part of the race when it went into nighttime. We became really good, and last year Carl had the best car for the entirety of the weekend, and we were right there second in the race. We weren't second before the race started, but we were in the race.
We made some adjustments, and we made some good calls, Adam did, to get us in a position to run with Carl, but nobody was going to beat him. I feel like at least the last couple years we've done the right things and we are pretty smart at what we do in execution through Friday and Saturday.

Q. Adam said that he has his championship trophy where he can see it every day as a reminder of why he goes to work every day. Do you have yours somewhere you can see it as a motivation?
KYLE BUSCH: I had it at my house, Samantha and my house, for eight, nine, ten months, something like that, and then when the shop‑‑ the redo at KBM, when it got all done and the championship car finally arrived, it went to KBM, so it's sitting next to the championship car and in a case and things like that. I don't need a friendly reminder of a championship each and every day. I know there's another one to go get. I don't want a remembrance of one that I already have, I want the challenge of being able to go get another.

Q. You mentioned the '15 comments, people saying you didn't deserve that. Do you still hear that? Does that bother you?
KYLE BUSCH: You still hear it, it doesn't bother me. I don't care. The trophy is sitting at my shop. Ain't nobody taking that away from me. They can make it as much of an argument as they want to, but the fact of the matter is NASCAR and all the record books and everybody else will still say 2015 champion Kyle Busch.

Q. Was there ever any point you doubted being able to get back here this year?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, definitely I would say after Charlotte when we had our Charlotte issues and for as bad as Charlotte went and not being able to have a great day at Talladega, we didn't finish at Talladega. I was worried that we weren't going to make it back. I had kind of said in my mind going into Kansas the same thing I did in 2015 when it was time to win a championship at Homestead, whatever happens happens, if we can go out there and execute and do our job, then however the points lie is what's going to be. You know, unfortunately for Larson, fortunately for us, there was something on our side that day that allowed us to squeak through and have enough points. We didn't get the win because we had some issues in that event that we just weren't able to rebound from and go race for a win.

Q. Have you had a chance to look at the 24/11 stuff from last week and what's your take on how that unfolded?
KYLE BUSCH: Looked like racing to me. Looked like racing of two guys that don't like each other.

Q. Did you view that as Chase paying him back? Was that fair retaliation?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, that's fair.

Q. So you'd expect that?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, I wouldn't expect it. I don't have anybody mad at me I don't think. You know?

Q. In that situation‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: Oh, my God, I'd expect much worse. I thought Chase was a nice guy. But yeah, I mean, you've got to expect that, especially in those situations. Chase saw blood and was looking for more. Obviously beating Denny up and moving him out of the way, whatever, and then going‑‑ because he was passing for third, second, something like that, and so he was racing‑‑ he saw a win. He saw the blood out there in the water and was going to get it. He knew that that was his course of action to get past that guy, and when he did on the exit, he just didn't care after that. That's racing and a part of it, especially when you have two guys that don't like each other.

Q. How has your approach changed from 2015 to today racing for this championship?
KYLE BUSCH: I would say it hasn't changed much, try to still chill, try to stay relaxed and try and do what you did the first time, and having that opportunity to win that championship in this format I think gives us a sense of opportunity to go out there and do it again.

Q. Does any part of you wish that you had tested at Homestead?
KYLE BUSCH: A little bit but not really. A lot of these guys talk about how Homestead test throws you off more than it helps you. You know, the last couple years the 78 had that theory, and so they weren't here and they didn't test, so then the 78 decides to come and test this time around. So I'm hoping that they're thrown off and that they're not ready for what race weekend has in store for it and we can be really good.

Q. What Chase did to Denny in a way, did that help you in the sense that it did take out a strong car in Denny and put in a weaker car in Brad?
KYLE BUSCH: Let's see. I mean, I don't know how it all‑‑ we all don't know how it would have finished out. The points were even. I think Denny would have had to have beaten Brad heads up. It probably would have happened, Denny would have been in. Denny is really good at Homestead. He's fast there, so we know that that certainly would have been a challenge. He qualifies well there every year. He runs up front there well every year. When he's had trouble before, he's been able to come back through the field like I talked about before with the 78 being good at that. It's obviously a guy we don't have to focus on or worry about, but he can be a contender in winning the race, no doubt.

Q. How much has your life changed between 2015 and now?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it changed a little bit. Obviously when you go do things now as a NASCAR Cup Series champion, I think that that's pretty cool. It's a different label that you have when you go do things. You're recognized a little differently than you are as NASCAR superstar Kyle Busch or whatever. You're now a champion. Certainly it would make it even more worthwhile to become a two‑time, and hopefully many more after that.

Q. Does Brexton understand it?
KYLE BUSCH: No, not really. I think he just gets that‑‑ he loves winning as much as dad because he gets to go to Victory Lane and celebrate and have fun, get thrown in the air and play with confetti. He's prayed all this week about going to Homestead and playing with confetti, so I've also been teaching him the word champion, so he's getting more and more accustomed to maybe what Sunday is all about, but probably not.

Q. Do you want him to race?
KYLE BUSCH: It's up to him. He can race if he wants to. You know, it's about whether or not‑‑ what's going to be here when it's time for him to get here, you know. Hopefully we're all doing a good job of continuing to grow the sport and keep it as good as it is right now.

Q. You and Kevin have had your issues in the past but now you guys are on good terms, friendly‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: That's weird.

Q. When did that change? When did you guys kind of cross that bridge?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know, I think it had something to do with kids a little bit. Obviously we were still mad at each other when he first had Keelan, but after a couple years it got better and better. This week actually though when we were doing the media stuff in New York, we were kind of like high school buddies, like we were joking around and making fun of the others. It was kind of weird, Kevin and I friends. What? But no, I guess we've grown to respect one another and what each other has done and where we've been the last 10 years with one another. So I think that that's just a matter of evolution of us growing up let's say.

Q. Will that force you to lose your guard once the helmets come on?
KYLE BUSCH: No, you can never count Kevin out. Somebody said it earlier this week, he's like a bulldog. He's bullish. It's no different, when there's blood in the water and he can get it and smell it, he's going to go for it, so you can never count him out and you can never out his actions because you know there might be something he'll do. But the way we've raced the last few years has been really, really good, really, really clean, and in 2015 it was the same way, we gave each other room on the racetrack racing for a championship when we were running second and third, first and second much of the day, all that sort of stuff. You can never let your guard down, but you've just got to be mindful, again, of who you're racing, who you're racing around, what time of day and what's coming up.

Q. With you guys getting buddy‑buddy in the coach lot with your kids, you just have to wonder are you going to lose that edge?
KYLE BUSCH: Don't ever lose that edge, nope. Don't ever soften up. You've got to stay tough.

Q. Is there hope for Brad?
KYLE BUSCH: Probably not. He's just too different.

Q. Is there anything that‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: One word, Brad, one word.

Q. Is there anything that's out of bounds, if somebody wrecks you really hard‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: I thought last year was out of bounds. I thought that was terrible. But I guess when you're blocking that hard, then you're due to be turned, so I don't know. I thought that was pretty nasty. But Carl handled it way better than anybody else I think would ever have handled it. Maybe he already had retired in his mind and didn't care. I don't know what's out of line, what's out of bounds. You try to race as hard as you can, as clean as you can and make it a fair championship, and the more fair that it is, the more fair that you win it, I think the more respect the industry and everybody will have for you rather than running somebody over.

Q. Did something ever push you to the point where you would just say, I'm done, I'm walking away, this is enough?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know. I'll let you know when we get there. I don't know. Hopefully not. Hopefully not.

Q. You said a second championship would be validation. Would you feel any differently about yourself?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I said it would be validating for me‑‑ I don't need validation, but it certainly would be worthwhile for my career and where we've been and what we've been able to accomplish in winning 40‑something races and having the opportunity to race for championships now three years in a row. I feel like when you come out of Homestead empty‑handed the winds are out of your sails and it feels pretty bad, and you pretty much forget about it. You forget about the year, you forget about that race, and I can remember more about 2015 and winning that year than I can about losing in 2016.

Q. Is it more about winning the race or are you going to be keeping tabs on the other three as the race is going, or is it just win the race and take care of everything else?
KYLE BUSCH: Depends on how the race is going. If you're a dominant car and you're up front and you can lead the race by running a safe line and a comfortable line, then go win the race. Go out there and race hard, race for the win. But if you're running a good clean consistent line and doing what you need to do and not pushing yourself too hard and you're running third and you're ahead of the rest of the championship guys, then there's no issue. There's no reason to push. It's a race within a race. You've got to race those other three. You've got to be mindful of where they're at, what they're doing, and yet just‑‑ it'll be self‑explanatory when it comes down to that. If you're running third and you're the top of those guys, you really don't have to worry about it a whole lot, but if there's a reason to get stressed or a reason to pull some pit road strategy or something like that, then you're kind of reaching for desperation, and by that time you're probably really out of it already.

Q. Who's the wise man that told Chase that? Do you think it was his dad?
KYLE BUSCH: I think it was the week before, Denny said it, didn't he?

Q. So he was talking about Denny?
KYLE BUSCH: He was mocking Denny. Glad I cleared that up.

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