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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: QUAKER STATE 400 PRESENTED BY ADVANCE AUTO PARTS


June 28, 2014


Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs

Ryan Newman


SPARTA, KENTUCKY

KERRY THARP:¬† We're going to start with our post‑race media with Ryan Newman.¬† Ryan had a third‑place finish tonight in the No.31 car for us, and Ryan, just talk about driving that No.31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, had a nice run out there tonight, running up front the entire evening, and that has to make you feel confident now as we're kind of at the midpoint of the Chase and certainly next week at a track you've won at before.¬† Talk about your run.
RYAN NEWMAN:¬† Really just a good, solid run.¬† We had some really good pit stops, gained some track positions there.¬† Caught a little bit of a break when the caution came out when we were on pit road.¬† I think we went from fourth to second on that deal.¬† Just a good, solid night for the Caterpillar Chevrolet.¬† All the guys did a really good job strategy wise.¬† Kept our track position all night.¬† Really I think we had about a third‑place car.¬† We could have run with 18 at times, we could run with the 22 at times, but nobody really ran with the 2 car.¬† Good job for everybody at RCR and ECR, and we'll keep digging.

Q.  Ryan, RCR has been really doing a lot to get their program back on the right track.  Is this the start of a turnaround?
RYAN NEWMAN:  Well, it was a good run for us.  I think Paul ran up front for a lot of the race.  Last I saw, he finished 15th.  But from when I saw he had run farther up for most of the race and he's been our flagship for a top 5 so far this year.  It's nice for us on the 31 side to get a top 5, and it's something to build on for sure.  It doesn't mean we're going to go out and win the next race, but it gives us some confidence, and confidence is very powerful in our sport.

Q.  Were you comfortable all the way from the very start because a lot of the drivers came in here and all they wanted to talk about was bump, bump, bump, bump, and you did seem to have a really solid run all night long where you stayed where you were at.
RYAN NEWMAN:  All we talked about was bumps because that's the only questions we got was about bumps.  Everybody who talked to me asked me what's the track like being so bumpy and everything else and that's the questions we answer.  We answer the questions you all give us.  It's the character of this racetrack that it's bumpy.  It doesn't mean that we can't race on it.  I think it was a pretty good race tonight.  Brad came up from whatever he was, sixth or eighth or whatever he was in that restart to win the race.  But it was more just a product of the questions you guys were asking us than it was what we wanted to talk about.

Q.  What's been the biggest difference in your cars with the work that you guys have been doing?  What have you focused on?
RYAN NEWMAN:  Tonight it was everything.  I'd say the biggest gain we had tonight was our pit stops.  The guys gained spots, we did a good job.  Everything was nice and clean.  Strategy wise, Luke did a great job calling two tires when we needed to and not losing track position with four when other guys were taking two, and all that adds up.  Having that clean air and that track position is probably more powerful than anything we do with the race car at times, so that's probably the biggest difference.  We've made some gains on the race part, don't get me wrong, and the guys on the engine side are always working and there's no doubt that the Hendrick guys have been the strongest this season.  Far above, at some trace tracks, but we proved tonight that we've made some gains.

Q.  You talked about Pocono and Indy.  Those are horsepower tracks.  Is that where you expect to see even more gains?
RYAN NEWMAN:  Pocono, Indy, Michigan, even places like Charlotte now are so much wide open because the cars have still got too much downforce on them that it's very important to have good horsepower, and good horsepower will win you races.  We're working on that part of it for Indy and for Pocono and for Michigan.  I think we're not where we need to be, but that's why we're working on it, and we'll see if we can make those gains before those races come.

Q.  If NASCAR was to say to you, what's the one thing you would like us to do to these cars, you would tell them reduce the downforce?
RYAN NEWMAN:¬† The same thing I've said for the last four years, yeah, just take downforce down and put softer tires on them.¬† It's got to be a combination of the downforce and the tires.¬† You can't just leave the hard tires on it and take downforce off.¬† I took my crew chief to Kokomo Speedway Sunday night after Michigan, watched guys run midgets on dirt sideways turning to the right and saw one of the best races I've seen all year long, and they had no downforce and they had a huge power‑to‑weight ratio, 375 horsepower with 900‑pound race cars.¬† To me that's the direction we should always go.¬† They put on a great race, not to say that we don't, I just think that's the direction we need to go to if we want to make it better.
KERRY THARP:  Ryan, congratulations, and continued best wishes, and see you at Daytona.
RYAN NEWMAN:  Thank you, guys.

KERRY THARP:  Our race runner up has joined us, and that's Kyle Busch.  He's the driver of the No.18 M&M's Toyota, and Kyle, listening to you out there on pit road, certainly you had a lead there, stretched it out pretty good.  You had a very good race car, and I guess just the 2 car was pretty stout, but just talk about your run out there this evening and how you thought things went.
KYLE BUSCH:  Yeah, we had a good car all night.  We started 18th and worked our way forward every run of the race there and got to about third and kind of stalled out.  Third, fourth.  I felt like we were better than the 31 but nowhere near as good as the 2 or the 22.  Those guys were really stout.
You know, that caution came out right at the perfect moment for us.  We were able to beat the 2 to the exit line and keep our spot on the lead lap, and come back around, and essentially inherit the lead and then we were able to drive away after that last pit stop and build up a good lead, but as I was doing it I was trying to stretch it before I got to traffic, but once I got to traffic, man, I just got too loose.  I was kind of loose the whole run, but I kept getting looser and looser throughout the run, where normally the rest of the runs prior to that throughout the race I was getting tighter throughout the run, so this was the first time I went looser all run, and Dave and the guys made a big adjustment to try to tighten me up, but it didn't work out too well, and ultimately we faded there and got second.  Definitely proud of Dave Rogers, the brain power and everybody that worked on this thing here this weekend to give us a good M&M's Toyota Camry to finish second with because we were out to lunch yesterday.
You know, really good, and we haven't been great this year, so this is certainly a step in the right direction.  Feels nice to have a solid run, lead some laps, and although we faded at the end, we gave it a valiant effort, so hopefully we can take some of this and move forward with it.

Q.  You just ran over these bumps for three straight races.  Now that you've done that, would you like them to repave that part or work on that part, or are you fine with how it is?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† You know, there's probably some issues out there that need addressed and others that don't.¬† If you fix start‑finish line, just pave the straightaway there where it is the roughest and just calm that down some, I think we'd all be very grateful.¬† And then the corners actually aren't terrible, but there's a lot of seepage in the corners.¬† There was a lot of weepers out there tonight, and the line I wanted to run almost every single lap I'd hit them coming out of Turn 4.¬† If we can fix the water issues on the surface, get rid of that, and the start‑finish line bump I'd be perfectly happy leaving it as it is.

Q.  Matt had a good run tonight, even overcoming a tire problem.  Do you see things turning around on the intermediate tracks, getting to where you guys want to be?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† I mean, this is one week. ¬†We certainly need to be able to do it weekly on the intermediates.¬† I don't think we have another one for a few weeks.¬† We go to Daytona next week, crap shoot, we go to Loudon, which is a short track, so hopefully we run well there like we did last year, I think Kenseth and I finished 1‑2, so it's certainly a step in the right direction.¬† I know Kenseth had a tire issue.¬† I know Denny had a big tire issue, so I hate that for the 11 team.¬† But ours looked fine all race long, so was real grateful that ours looked good, and we'll have to work on seeing what happened with the 20's and what kind of setup differences there were and seeing if there's any kind of correlation there that caused all that.

Q.  First off, how much did your crew chief tell you before the start of the race even as to what changes they made, and at what point, how long did it take you to know that everything they had done was going to be pretty successful for you tonight?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† I don't ever like to know what changes we make until afterwards.¬† Like during practice I don't like to know any changes they make, and then once practice is over, we debrief, I like to know what those changes were so I can know what the feel of it was.¬† So I didn't want to know anything before the start of this race just because it gives me‑‑ sometimes I'm too‑‑ I don't want to float my boat here, but I'm too knowledgeable on what changes do, so I don't want to think about those changes and know they're supposed to react a certain way and manipulate my brain.¬† I just always like to go out there cold turkey and figure it out on my own and see if I can decipher what all the changes they made and then go back to them after this and tell them, I felt this, I felt this, I felt this, and sometimes they kind of smile and laugh and they're like, yeah, okay, we can't get anything by you.
It's fun to do that.

Q.  How many laps did it take for you to know that you had a much, much better car?
KYLE BUSCH:  I had a much, much different car the first few laps.  I was loose the whole race.  I was loose, but it was a drivable loose, it wasn't just a wrecking loose, until the end, and then I was wrecking.  So I was moving forward, though.  For as loose as I was I had good grip and I was moving forward.  The car was turning well.  It looked like a lot of guys were struggling with the same issues I was but worse, and being way tight, so I had more grip, decent balance, so I was able to go by them, so I felt pretty good about it early on.

Q.  Keselowski got to second and started closing in on you and then you pulled away from him a little bit.  If not for that lap traffic do you think you would have had enough to hold him off because you pulled away from him?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† Yeah, maybe, but you always run into lap traffic, so I've got to be able to be good by yourself and you've got to be able to be good in traffic.¬† The rest of the race I was good in traffic.¬† Actually when Keselowski and the 2 got in traffic I ran them down during the race.¬† I passed the 22 and was getting closer to the 2.¬† I was only about four lengths off of him before a caution came out, then we had yellow‑flag stops instead of green‑flag stops.¬† I felt like our car was way better on the long run, but that last run I just got way too loose.¬† I felt it a few times, I slipped the right rear getting into the corner then it started slipping the right rear coming off the corner, then it was the whole corner, so I knew I was doomed at that point.¬† I couldn't get in the corner without it slipping.¬† From there on you're just getting heat in it, you're wearing it out and killing yourself.

Q. How happy were you watching him run tonight?
JOE GIBBS:  With him behind it, I think we get everything we can get out of a driver.  I think we've been off last night, and I think we were off tonight just enough to wind up getting beat, but you've got to give the other guys credit.  They've done a good job.  We need to catch up, and hopefully tonight is a step in the right direction.
KERRY THARP:  Kyle, thank you very much.  Coach, thanks for being in.  We'll see you at Daytona.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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