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June 28, 2015

Kurt Busch


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're now joined by our second‑place finisher, Kurt Busch, the driver of the No.41 Haas Automation Chevrolet.テつ Kurt, this is your sixth top 5 and eighth top 10 so far this season.テつ Talk a little bit about the battle there at the end to take over second.
KURT BUSCH:テつ Yeah, what a great race.テつ We had a fast, fast race car, and we had what I thought was the winning strategy to have the cooler tires and not so much worn‑out tires at the end, and as the race unfolded, we had two sequences that went against us, and I still thought we had a strong enough car to overcome that, and one of them was the way that the 18 got onto pit road before one of the yellows came out, and then we just had a tough pit stop on one of them and lost two spots, and so that sequence was about four positions on track, and you know, if you've got a fast car like I had, it was a pleasure to drive.テつ I was smiling the whole time, I was wheeling it.テつ I was giving it everything I could.
And once I got back up into the top three, you know, those are race winners here.テつ Those are guys that have done it before and they know the nuances that it takes to be competitive at this track, and the game changes a little bit with the way that people block and dive down into the corners, and that's acceptable.テつ It was all great racing.
I just ran out of laps to catch Kyle.テつ I think I was a little too patient on restarts because I knew my car was that good.
And so I didn't necessarily drive the proper race in my mind, but I think everything unfolded as good as it could have, and to bring our Haas Automation Chevy home second at a road course, you know, it's a testament to Stewart‑Haas Racing and everybody that puts in the effort to build these cars, and it's a lot of fun to drive.テつ We led a lot of laps today.テつ We qualified second, finished second.テつ I know it doesn't show much, but it's definitely a statement type of weekend for us.
I was trying to think if we've ever finished one‑two, and we did it today.テつ That's a pretty special moment.テつ I've got over 500 starts.テつ I know he's over 300.テつ Can you imagine, 800 starts between the two of us, we almost have 30 wins each, and that's the first time we've ever finished one‑two.テつ I now I wish I would have gotten up there and moved him.テつ (Laughter.)

Q.テつ Kurt, the last caution comes out.テつ Before that you had gotten off in the grass, had a lot of crap on your front end.テつ Tony said that he thought you guys had a tire going down anyway so it really worked out good that you could come in at that point.
KURT BUSCH:テつ Yeah, it's hard to know which came first, the off‑track excursion led to the flat tire or the flat tire led to me driving off track, and the car had gotten so loose, I don't know why, and I had my track bar adjuster down over two inches, and I hadn't touched it more than a quarter inch all weekend.テつ So to me the tire was definitely going down.
What led to that left rear flat, I don't know, so that's a tough break, but to have the yellow come out, it allowed all of us to pit, and I think that's when the 48 stayed out along with the 24 and the 1.テつ It seemed like the right strategy.テつ You have to go by numbers, which is a percentage chance, which if the majority pits, you've got to pit.テつ If the majority stayed out, you've got to stay out.テつ Luckily we were on the right side of it, plus we had a fast car.テつ We just ran out of laps to catch Kyle.

Q.テつ How important were those last cautions for you to be able to pull up into second place with those tires on your car?
KURT BUSCH:テつ That caution was what saved our day, otherwise I would have restarted with a flat left rear, and we would have been loading up 30th, and so it was nice to have that yellow.テつ When they were cleaning up the track on that final yellow, it just seemed like there was a lap too many on yellow, it would have been nice to go back to green, and that lap I could have used under green, in competition.

Q.テつ This may sound silly, you didn't win the race, but is it possible‑‑ it may be too soon for you to say this, but is it possible that this is one of your best races ever?テつ I'm speaking here of the discipline, the focus, the falling back, the coming forward, the falling back.テつ It was a remarkable performance.
KURT BUSCH:テつ Thank you, I'm flattered.

Q.テつ It speaks for itself.
KURT BUSCH:テつ I don't think it's one of my greatest races, but it is a statement weekend for everything that's gone on in 2015.

Q.テつ Explain that, please.
KURT BUSCH:テつ Here we are, we're halfway through the year.テつ We almost could have had as many race wins as we had races we were under suspension, and so there's so many things that have gone into place for us to be successful, and the number one thing is Tony Gibson, the crew chief at SHR.テつ He builds great race cars, and it's a pleasure to drive for him, and I love the team camaraderie.テつ I haven't had this type of team chemistry since my championship year.テつ It feels good to have that.
One of my better drives here, even the year that I won, there was still a better drive, and that was for Phoenix Racing in 2012 when I finished third with that under‑budget team and with the rear end falling out of the car.テつ That was a very sentimental weekend for me here at Sonoma.
This track has been good to me over the years.テつ A lot of top 5s.テつ I know it only shows one win, but I believe the driver rating is high and laps led are high, but it's due to all the quality teams that I've raced for in my career.

Q.テつ Have you worked out where this puts you in the points standings?テつ You came in fourth.テつ Do you think this puts you third?
KURT BUSCH:テつ The team was fourth overall, I believe.テつ I was 11th, so I would say we cracked the top 10, and to crack the top 10 after the start of the year we've had, it's been an amazing run.テつ This has been the longest stretch of career‑type finishes I've had in my career.

Q.テつ What were your emotions to see Kyle get a win and now possibly make a run at the Chase, knowing how much was on the line for him?テつ Were there certain things that you would and wouldn't do if you were able to catch him?
KURT BUSCH:テつ Yeah, so many emotions ran through my mind, and I just watched my off‑track excursion and it was when I was behind the 18 trying to chase him down, and then to see the way the sequence unfolded with him on fresh tires, Bowyer and then us, I needed to get by Bowyer sooner, and to have at shot at racing Kyle, and then like the moderator had said here, we've only had one one‑two finish in our career.テつ I wish I could have gotten closer to him to give the fans the show that they came to see, not that they didn't get a good one.
But it was emotional.テつ I know he's been through quite a bit; to have your leg broken, your foot shattered, to never be injured and out of the car, I don't know what that feels like, but I do know that working with Tony Stewart and having him go through rehab, rehab is very difficult, and it is a mental challenge, and I'm very proud of Kyle for what he's done to get back in the car as soon as he did get back in the car, and then to be competitive at a track with hard, hard braking and to use his left foot to drive to victory lane, I'm very proud of him.テつ I just wish I could have one more lap to get to his bumper (laughter), but I think he didn't want to see an extra lap.

Q.テつ Would you have done anything differently to him knowing what was on the line for him versus maybe if it was Harvick who's already in the Chase?
KURT BUSCH:テつ Well, both guys in front of me were trying to win their first race of the year, who aren't necessarily having the best of years, Bowyer and Kyle, and when I got word that Bowyer was blocking, which I could kind of get a tendency to think that he was, when you get like three or four chances, that's when it's time to move somebody.テつ That's why if I would have gotten to Kyle, still I would have had to have given him a couple shots to try to mess up his rhythm.テつ I wasn't going to flat‑out move him, but when somebody is holding you up three to four times a lap, then you've got the opportunity to try to make a pass, and I just never got there.

Q.テつ Just to clarify, this is the first one‑two finish you and Kyle have had in your entire career?
KURT BUSCH:テつ I'm not sure.テつ Yeah, here in Sprint Cup.
THE MODERATOR:テつ That's correct, in the Sprint Cup Series.

Q.テつ But any other series you've raced in?
KURT BUSCH:テつ Oh, I used to kick his ass in Legend cars all the time, but that's when he was 12 and I was 19, so a little bit of a difference there.テつ But no, we used to finish first and second a lot racing Legend cars.
Honestly, over the years, when I'm off away in college as a 19 year old and he's just starting out racing as a 12 year old, I don't even know what grade you're in when you're 12 years old, seventh grade, that just should be a snapshot of how far apart we grew up in age.テつ Then when you get into your late 20s you start to get closer, and that's what's happened to us as brothers.テつ I really enjoyed the year in 2012 when we both drove for KBM, Kyle Busch Motorsports, and drove that XFINITY car.テつ That was great to share, him racing and myself racing, to work together as drivers, but not a lot of times we finished one‑two, as amazing as it is.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Kurt, thanks, and congratulations on your great run today.
KURT BUSCH:テつ Thank you.

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