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November 14, 2014

Kyle Busch

Erik Jones

Eric Phillips


KERRY THARP:テつ We're going to hear from our 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner champion for the second consecutive year and third all‑time, and that's Kyle Busch, Kyle Busch Motorsports.テつ Congratulations, Kyle.テつ Your previous championships in this category were in 2010, 2013.テつ Just an awesome job by the 51 team, and you've got your co‑driver over there next to you, I guess Erik Jones, who I saw win at Phoenix last week, and you've got your crew chief to the right of you, Eric Phillips, and just congratulations.テつ Kyle, you started 10 times, Erik, you started 12.テつ You're only the second team in the series history to win back‑to‑back owners' championships.テつ Congratulations, and Kyle, I'll ask you, I know this means a lot to you.テつ You put your heart and soul and Samantha's heart and soul go into this organization.テつ Just talk about the significance of winning this title.
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, it's a great milestone for us and a great accomplishment just on the fact that it's what we can race for.テつ Being able to compete in the Camping World Truck Series, the years that we have, obviously it wouldn't be possible without our partners like Toyota, Toyota Care and Dollar General this year and over all of our partners from years past.テつ But it's a true testament to all the hard work and dedication from guys like Eric Phillips here that does a phenomenal job at KBM being a leader and being able to lead a group of people to stay, and we've had a lot of people that have come to KBM to work that have stayed there a long time, some that have moved on to other things, but really that's what the Truck Series is all about is a proving ground and a growing series, which we're able to do that with mechanics and people, engineers, crew chiefs, drivers, and it's been fun to capture all those moments.
But none greater than this one.テつ Truly to have two drivers being able to compete and to have one of those be a rookie and an up‑and‑coming driver in the series and in NASCAR and to be able to go out there and capture an owner's championship, accumulating more points than the series champion says a lot about our team, a lot about our organization, and I couldn't be more proud of this 51 bunch and of these two Erics up here and Rudy and everyone else on the team.テつ They fight hard, and they never give up.テつ But same thing happened tonight with Bubba.テつ He fought hard and never gave up, so it was awesome to see KBM win another one here tonight and hold off that 42 truck and be able to score an even higher win total for an organization in the series of 14 victories this year in 22 starts.テつ Pretty impressive with these guys.
KERRY THARP:テつ That is impressive.テつ And I believe Toyota overall won 18 of the 22 truck races this year.
Erik Jones, just talk about the season that you had being able to study and mentor under a driver like Kyle Busch.テつ It's got to be a thrill of a lifetime for you.
ERIK JONES:テつ Absolutely.テつ You know, it's been a blast over not only this past year, but even 2013 getting to make a few starts there.テつ You know, my time at KBM has been great so far, to be a part of two owner's championships and especially this one with having a bigger part, especially in 2013.テつ It's been a great year not only for KBM but Toyota and everybody involved.テつ Just cool to be a part of it all, having a lot of fun, and really looking forward to getting going next year.
KERRY THARP:テつ Eric Phillips, you're certainly no stranger to this media center because every one of those wins you've been in here.テつ Congratulations on the job that you continue to do and have done for Kyle Busch Motorsports.テつ Just talk about the significance of winning this owner's title.
ERIC PHILLIPS:テつ You know, it's a big deal to win as many races as we did for both trucks.テつ I look more at both of them, the position I was in this year, I was a crew chief on the 51, but with some of the changes we made in the off‑season, I was responsible for a lot of the competition stuff on both sides.
For Bubba to go out and win tonight meant a lot.テつ I wanted to come here and lead the most laps and win the race with the 51, but if we couldn't do it, I wanted the 54 to.テつ I think it says a lot about our organization, says a lot about the people that are there, everybody at KBM, all of our partners, JGR Fab Shop, the guys that all work behind us to build these great race trucks, they do a great job week in and week out, and I can't thank them enough.

Q.テつ Kyle, is it a little bit bittersweet to you that Bubba is going to be moving on after this year?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, it is, but it's been two years.テつ He had a great learning year last year and did a good job becoming better and better each and every week, and then he really showed that this year.テつ Man, I really hate that they got off to a slow start.テつ Nothing that Bubba is doing, just crazy fluke deals that got him behind in the points, but man, the second half of the year he was strong and he looked really good.テつ I was really proud of that effort, of the 54 bunch and Jerry Baxter and Bubba Wallace.テつ It is going to be sad to see him go, but we've got another great shoe that's going to be able to fit in that role really, really good with Erik Jones next year.
It's not that I'm saying goodbye, but I'm wishing him the best next year in what he gets to do, and I'm excited about his growth and opportunity to move up to the Nationwide Series, or XFINITY next year.

Q.テつ You kind of talked about what are Darrell Wallace's plans?テつ Is it a full‑time schedule or a little bit of a combination and Nationwide?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ I am a Truck Series owner, I am not Bubba Wallace's manager.テつ I wish I knew more, but that's a Joe question.テつ Him being a JGR driver, we were just fielding those trucks for him in the last two years, so it's been fun to help him grow, and like I said before, the Truck Series and what KBM is, is it's a growing period, whether it's for crew guys‑‑ heck, I think now it's about two thirds of our people head on over to JGR anyway, so I'm about ready to call that place KBM South.
But Bubba is on his way down there being a JGR driver.テつ As far as I know he's going to run part time Nationwide Series.テつ I don't know how many races.

Q.テつ Who orchestrated the burnout, and at what point did you guys put that plan together?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ That was on the fly, man.テつ I was wondering where he was going and why he was‑‑ I was going to do a simultaneous burnout like side by side, and then he left, like where is he going?テつ And then I figured it out pretty quick so I just stopped and waited.テつ I don't know, I have to see what it looked like on TV, but from where I was sitting I thought it was pretty cool.テつ The only thing that would have made it better is if that blue oval wasn't on the infield right next to our trucks while we were doing a burnout.テつ At least it was cool to see the Toyota Sombrero in Victory Lane as well as being both the Camping World Truck Series owner's champions as well as the driver's champions.

Q.テつ Talk about the finish of that race.テつ That was some really close racing between the top 5 for the rest of the race.テつ What was it like from your perspective?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, I'm sure Eric wasn't liking it too much.テつ I was sweating bullets there a little bit with everybody racing really, really hard.テつ They were racing on my door.テつ They knew I was loose and they were just riding on my door, making me even looser, getting into the corners, and I was just trying to hang on.テつ It was making me mad, to be honest with you, but I knew we just needed to salvage a finish and come home with the truck in one piece.
I was trying to keep a little bit of an eye on Bubba there and make sure that he could bring home another win for KBM, which he did.テつ I thought he ran a flawless race there.テつ He was running right up next to the wall early and keeping the right side on it.テつ And I even came over the radio, it's not time to be that close yet, just wait a minute.テつ When it comes down to the last 20 laps like it did, that's the time that you've got to really push hard, and it seemed like he did that.テつ It was cool to see him hold off Larson and get a win for himself.
You guys should ask this kid more questions.テつ I was just the backup driver.テつ He ran more races than I did.

Q.テつ Kyle, you've talked in the past about some of the financial sacrifices you've made to keep this thing afloat.テつ Do nights like tonight and winning championships kind of make it all worth it?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, when you get to go to Victory Lane and get to celebrate with your team, all that's kind of forgotten about or lost for a few moments.テつ But when you pick things back up on Monday, reality sets in, and it's back to the daily grind of the business.テつ At least this year and last year, we didn't have to pick up on Monday.テつ We actually had to pick up on Tuesday.テつ We get to go to the banquet and celebrate a little bit and keep these guys down in Miami for a few more days and get to go have some fun.
I'm sure the rest of the shop guys and stuff like that, they'll be celebrating.テつ We'll be celebrating with them, as well, too, when we get back and return, but hopefully they have Eric Phillips' desk emptied out and thrown in a box when he gets back so he can have a good, smooth move‑out.

Q.テつ Eric Phillips, when you guys look at‑‑ when others look at your team, your organization, how does it compare to other Truck Series groups that are out there?テつ We see in Nationwide and in Sprint Cup there's a big gulf between the teams that have a lot of resources.テつ How is it spread out in the Truck Series?テつ Are you guys head and shoulders above everybody else?テつ Is it closer?テつ How does that wind up?
ERIC PHILLIPS:テつ I mean, I think it's a lot closer than I think you see it especially in the Sprint Cup Series.テつ I think our guys do a better job of utilizing a lot of the tools that we do have.テつ We're fortunate, Toyota support, they give us a lot of tools, but the 88, ThorSport has the same stuff that we do, and so does Red Horse.テつ We share a fair amount of information, we utilize wind tunnels and stuff, and share that information between the three, and I think that's why you see the Toyotas run as well as they did this year.テつ Obviously we were on top of that more than them.
I think if you look at Crafton's stats and look at the way Matt ran this year, he was really close, we just happened to beat him more times than not.テつ I don't think it's as big a disparity once you get back past that top 10.テつ It probably does change some, but from the Turner and Red Horse and those guys, it's all about the same.

Q.テつ Kyle, talk about the success of the season, 14 wins out of 22 races.テつ As you built this organization, I know there's eight more races to win, but how much more can this grow?テつ How much bigger can you get?テつ How do you keep on challenging the organization itself because you're on top of the hill right now?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, I think the next step for us with Eric Phillips' departure next year is just to maintain.テつ I don't expect our group to be able to win as many races as we did this year next year, but you know, I still expect us to run well and compete, and for Erik Jones to be able to have a legitimate shot at a championship and to be able to run consistent each and every week, that's first and foremost, just maintain.テつ And then from there, next year we plan to have three teams, so we will have to get some people in‑house and we'll kind of ante up, I guess you'd say, a little bit more as to our people and crew chiefs, stuff like that.
But the thing over the off‑season‑‑ our biggest challenge over the off‑season I feel like as an organization is just going to be able to get our new group of people and the chemistry and the cohesiveness to mesh together to be able to work amongst one another to where we can go in the right direction competition‑wise.テつ Like Eric said, he was sort of ahead of the competition stuff this year.テつ I had him sort of oversee both.テつ Jerry was still his own separate team, but Eric was really in charge of everybody around in the shop, and they all went to him to ask questions or to get answers.
Next year there's going to be more people to go to to ask questions or get answers.テつ Just maybe a little bit more maybe confusing at first, but that's why you've got to have good leadership skills and to be able to get in there and get your people lined up right.

Q.テつ Kind of along the same lines, but did you ever think in your wildest dreams that KBM would be this successful this soon or over this span, and can you talk about next year having those three teams and more young drivers along with Erik?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ They didn't win enough.テつ There's still probably two or three they threw away‑‑ no, I'm just joking.
I don't know where we go from here to be honest with you.テつ I love being part of the ownership in the sport, whether it's the Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, or the Truck Series or K&N Series.テつ I think it's fun to participate.テつ I love the opportunity that Samantha and I have to employ a bunch of people and allow them to have somewhere to go to work every day.テつ That's fitting for us.
As much as a hard‑nosed person as I may be, we still are caring, and we enjoy having the ownership as we do.テつ But it wouldn't be possible without Toyota and Toyota Care, without Toyota's support.テつ They are just a huge partner of ours, and no, they don't pay all the bills, but if it wasn't for them, we would not be around.
As long as we keep those folks happy and have them keep coming around and enjoying to watch our success in the Truck Series and what it means to us, then we'll be here.

Q.テつ Kyle, I want to talk about Erik here for a minute since he's getting ready to jump in this ride.テつ In what ways this season have you seen him grow as a driver?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Well, I think it all started last year at Phoenix.テつ I think that was really a huge step of him being able to go out there and win that race.テつ That put us into the championship hunt when we got here to Homestead.テつ If it wasn't for his win and then my win here at Homestead, we wouldn't have been owner's champions last year.テつ That was a huge step.テつ And then this year giving him the seat for 12 races and me for 10, essentially it was almost his championship to win.テつ We got to split time, sure, and he was still successful in it.
I'm really optimistic and really looking forward to next year and hoping that he has the same composure and mentality and everything that he had this year, and he'll be a series champion no doubt.テつ I think that the opportunity is there, and if the races present themselves well and he does a good job, then he'll be able to be up here or where Matt Crafton is next year, and hopefully we're owner champions and driver champions in the same team, and we don't have to split it anymore.
KERRY THARP:テつ Congratulations to Kyle Busch Motorsports, Kyle Busch, driver Erik Jones, crew chief Eric Phillips.テつ Continued best of luck in your racing careers, and Kyle, again, thanks for all you do for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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