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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: TOYOTA - SAVE MART 350


June 28, 2015


Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs

Adam Stevens


SONOMA, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're going to go ahead and get started with today's winner's press conference here at the 27th Annual Toyota/SaveMart 350.テつ Proud to be joined by our winning race driver, Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M's Crispy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.テつ With the win today, Kyle has essentially clinched himself a spot in the grid for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.テつ With the win, Kyle has tied Kevin Harvick for 23rd on the all‑time wins list.テつ This is his first victory and second top‑10 finish in 2015.テつ His last victory was 46 races ago at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014.テつ It's his second victory and third top 10 here in 11 races at Sonoma Raceway.
Kyle, tremendous run out there today.テつ You gutted it out.テつ Could you please take us through the final few laps as it looked like that victory was coming ever closer, what it took to get you across the finish line?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, it was a fun race today.テつ I actually had a lot of fun racing out here at Sonoma.テつ Normally it's kind of a nightmare for us sometimes and this 18 team, but we had a great day today.テつ Coming down pit road and the cautions flying as we were on pit road twice, it certainly is so beneficial at this racetrack; it just gets you such great track position and gets you out front.テつ That was a huge benefit, just being able to come down when we did and to be able to have that strategy work out for us was awesome.
There at the end, our car was a really good short‑run car, and when we had about 15 laps on our tires there before that final caution came out, and I figured, Adam figured it would be about eight to go when we went green, that 15‑‑ we were past our prime.テつ We needed to come in and get tires, and that was going to be our best chance to win the race, and I figured there was going to be a lot of guys that came behind us but not as many that did come.テつ I didn't expect that many.
It gave us pretty good track position.テつ Going back green I think we were seventh and Bowyer was right in front of me, and we had to pass him.テつ He kind of got into it with the 20 a little bit and kind of got taken offline some.テつ I got by ‑‑ that allowed us to get by him pretty quick, getting into Turn 3, and then getting off of 3A I made another pass on somebody and then maybe one more getting into 4, I'm not sure.
By then I was second and my sights were set on Jimmie.テつ That was pretty cool.テつ It certainly happened real quick, and it gave us an opportunity for a win.テつ Without that pit stop, we definitely wouldn't have been in this position, we would have been fighting off the guys off behind us like Jimmie and those guys were.
Great call by Adam Stevens and great pit work by my team.テつ All the guys on pit road did a great job today.テつ I can't say enough about this victory and my team and everyone from Joe Gibbs Racing, from Joe Gibbs to my team guys, to the 11, the 19 and the 20 team, you know, the chassis shop, body shop, fab shop, everybody that does so much to pull for me that helped me and prayed for me to get me back in this race car to get me here today was quite special.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're also joined here by crew chief Adam Stevens.テつ This has been a tough season for the 18 team, a lot of adversity that you've dealt with.テつ Talk about getting the car in a position to win today.
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Yeah, you know, we just tried our best in practice, and we had decent short run speed and were able to show it on some mock runs and not too bad in qualifying until we had a little slip‑up there, and it just fell off after maybe 15 laps, 20 laps for sure.テつ We kind of built our strategy around that and were able to catch some timely cautions and pay good attention there and had some good fortune, too, to be quite honest.
There at the end, it just kind of fell into the strategy that we wanted to run anyway, and we knew that we didn't have what we needed to outrun them on old tires, so it was a no‑brainer call for me to come down and do everything we could to put him in a position where he could drive to the front.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach Joe Gibbs, owner of the No.18 M&M's Crispy Toyota has also joined us.テつ Coach, going into the season you knew that this car was going to be strong enough to contend for a championship.テつ You knew you had the driver, the team, the crew chief.テつ Now to see it come here, coming into Sonoma, getting into victory lane, how important was that for you?
JOE GIBBS:テつ Well, I said, I think it's a great sports story because if you think about Daytona, and for Kyle to come back from really a broken right leg and a broken left foot, the race that we were really worried about when he came back was this race because it was going to be obviously road racing.テつ It takes a lot of pressure on your foot.テつ So I think it's a great story for us.
Adam and our whole team, when he goes out and he had to go through all the things that we went through to get ourselves back to‑‑ and keep ourselves as high as we could in points so that when Kyle comes back we would have a shot.テつ But we're thrilled to be a part of this.テつ Adam made a great call, as always, and in this sport, it takes the pit crew, it takes everybody back home working on the car.
I just want to say today, it was a huge, great crowd.テつ I think it was the best crowd in 10 years or something here.テつ It was awesome.
But I think also, just to show you how important Sonoma is, a lot of our sponsors are here.テつ Big deal for us.テつ All the people here, Dollar General was here, Stanley was here.テつ Obviously with M&M's we had a great crew there with the Crispy group, and then we had FedEx people here, too.テつ So it was a big deal for us.
And Toyota for us is just a great partner.テつ They're here in California, TRD is, so I'd just say for the whole day, just to sum it up, the Lord has blessed us with a great experience today.テつ It's a great sports story, I think, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Q.テつ Kyle, Joe mentioned the team being a bit concerned about this race for you.テつ Honestly how much were you feeling working that clutch during the race, and how does your foot feel now?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, it's not so much the clutch actually.テつ We don't use the clutch at all but just to take off.テつ We don't even need it to shift, so it was really the brakes.テつ The brake pedal was really hard; I'm a left‑foot braker.テつ You know, every corner that you pretty much brake into‑‑ I said that wrong.テつ Getting up the hill is a little bit of brakes, but the most brakes you see is Turn 4, Turn 7, Turn 11, and you see over 1,000 pounds of brake pressure.テつ I don't know what that equates to if you were doing a leg press, but it's a lot.テつ The foot definitely tells me that it's a lot.
It got sore on Friday.テつ It got to about a 7 on a 1 to 10 of a pain scale, but I went home and iced it and did everything that I normally do to try to cut the pain out, and it worked.テつ I came back on Saturday.テつ I felt really good getting up in the morning on Saturday morning and qualifying; it was no issue for me.
And then did it again last night.テつ Although I didn't have any issue, I just did it again last night as a safety thing to get myself prepared, no different than any other athlete would, I think, to prepare for a game or to prepare for a race.
The smart thing to do, and it made it through today.テつ You know, that's all that mattered.テつ I knew it was going to get painful and I was going to have to power through it, kind of there towards the middle end that it kind of started to cross my mind, but you know, when you've got fresh tires and seven laps to go and you see the checkered flag waiting for you, you know, you forget about all those things.

Q.テつ Kyle, the way we're looking at it, kind of roughly a 14th place finish the rest of the way to probably get you around 30th.テつ How feasible is it, and can you kind of compare your outlook now compared to when you left Michigan two weeks ago?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, you know, certainly it's feasible.テつ There's no reason why it shouldn't be.テつ This team is good enough to be that way, and I should be good enough to be that way.テつ I certainly put us in a hole bigger than it should have been at Dover and at Michigan.テつ Those were entirely just my fault, obviously, and I've got to be better than that.テつ We can't have any more of those.テつ That's obvious.テつ But we've just got to be smart about how we race.
Now having a win, you know, obviously I think that that treats us a little bit better.テつ We don't have to race as hard for a win.テつ We don't have to put ourselves in a bad spot when we're running third, fourth or fifth to try to get that victory.テつ We can run third, fourth or fifth and that's a good day for us; that'll be just fine.テつ We just need to be able to do that, and I feel like Adam Stevens builds good enough race cars for me that I can do that with.テつ Joe Gibbs Racing does, TRD builds good engines for us, so I've got no worries on that front.

Q.テつ Adam, as a team, you know that most likely you'd be able to run at least for the team championship, but if that's the only thing that you were running for the last 10 races, would it be fun or would it be a little hollow?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ It would certainly be hollow.テつ This sport is built around competitive drivers, so you know, I come to work every day to do my best to get Kyle in victory lane and to get Kyle a championship.テつ If it's just an owner's championship, you know, we're going to battle as hard as we would battle, but it would certainly be hollow.

Q.テつ Two quick questions:テつ You and your brother go one‑two, first time ever in the Sprint Cup Series.テつ What's your quick feelings on that?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ That's really cool.テつ I seen him back there battling with Bowyer, and I was like, come on, man, get to second, because I knew if he got to second he might be my blocker for everybody behind me.テつ I figured he'd take the brunt of it; he's got a couple wins, you know.テつ But I'm sure that's not the way he thought about it.テつ He thought about coming up and challenging me for a win.

Q.テつ He talked about that.
KYLE BUSCH:テつ Yeah, he's a‑‑ I'm a Taurus, so I'm bull‑headed and hard‑nosed competitor, whatever.テつ I don't even know what he is.テつ He's in August.テつ You would think that he might have a better sense, but that's fine.テつ It's a racer in the both of us, and how we were raised by our dad.
But really cool to come home one‑two today, especially on a road course.テつ We grew up racing on ovals, but to do that here on a road course, I think that's just a true testament to our father and everything he's done for us over the years to get us to the point which we're at, and to have both Busch brothers be as good as we are and to be winning drivers on the Sprint Cup tour each year is certainly a true testament to our family.

Q.テつ After you got those fresh tires, when did it go through your mind that you knew you had that shot to get Jimmie?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ When Bowyer got together with Kenseth and then I think I got Logano right there in Turn 3, as well, too, and I got somebody off of 3A, getting down into 4, maybe it was Jeff Gordon.テつ I don't remember if I was second off of Turn 7 or where I was or what, but when I got to second, I was like, there's a legitimate shot here, you know.
When we went through Turn 9, I was sideways through Turn 9.テつ It was nasty.テつ And then I was sideways through Turn 10; I about went off in Turn 10, but Jimmie was the same as I was.テつ I think it was just dirty racetrack from all the guys scrubbing their tires and putting the marbles off their tires on the racetrack, and we all just went through there like ice.
So I looked in my mirror, and I'm like, man, did I go through there as bad as I did, and I looked in my mirror and everybody was sliding all over.テつ So I was like, okay, we're good, it's okay; everybody is on the same boat.
But I just knew to keep working at it, keep pushing and keep hitting my marks, and like we said earlier, our car was really good on the short runs, so we knew we could get up there and challenge Jimmie, and I just knew I needed to get there quick and get there before anybody was on my bumper so I wasn't pressured.

Q.テつ Bob touched on part of this, but when you first received NASCAR's decision on what waivers you were or were not going to get after returning, how did you view the two requirements you needed to make the Chase, a win and the top 30 in points?テつ Did you see one as more difficult as the other, and now that you have one and not the other, do you approach the rest of the regular season differently?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ You know, I was very grateful to NASCAR to give us the opportunity to be able to have something to chase after and to give us a chance to race ourselves into the Chase.テつ You know, we just need to be able to do that, and hopefully we can.テつ It's certainly not going to be easy, but we didn't expect it to be, and it never is.
So for me, for our team, we've got to‑‑ it does‑‑ okay, I'll start over.テつ It does now change how we race for the rest of the year, the rest of the regular season to get ourselves in the Chase, because we have a win now.テつ I figured the win was going to be the hardest thing to get, but now that that's here and it's out of the way, we can now work towards being able to get ourselves top 30 and then just get some good solid finishes, and like I told Bob, you know, when we're running third, fourth or fifth, we don't have to take that chance of going for a win and having an opportunity of crashing or something like that.テつ We can just sit there and sit still and be able to finish third, fourth or fifth.テつ You get those kinds of finishes and the points are going to add up and you're going to be fine making the Chase.

Q.テつ You have 10 races left to get this done.テつ Are you thinking that this is going to come all the way down to Richmond?テつ Are you viewing it like that?テつ How much will you look at the points and what you have to do each week?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ I'm going to try not to look at it.テつ I know it's going to take nine, ten weeks.テつ It's going to take the full brunt of it.テつ It's not going to happen in one week.テつ That's not how this business ever works.テつ You've certainly got to play it out all the way through.テつ That's one of the things that maybe I haven't been so good at over the years, but you know, you've got to have that focus for not just one week but for a long time, and 10 weeks is a long time, so we've just got to do our job, both Adam and I.テつ We can't screw up.テつ Me, I can't screw up, and Adam has got to be smart on the box, as well, too, make some good calls.テつ We made some really good ones today, so there's no reason why we can't put ourselves in a good position to win some more.

Q.テつ Coach Gibbs, I saw you in Daytona after the crash.テつ You were really disappointed and you handled it well, but talk to me about the emotional change from there to today.
JOE GIBBS:テつ Well, as I said, I think it's a real testimony to Kyle.テつ I went over to his house, saw him there in Daytona, but I went over to his house after the foot surgery, and he's sitting there, and it was the day after, and I figured he was going to be drugged up and everything, probably wouldn't recognize me.テつ I go in there, he's wide awake, he's bouncing around, and then he starts wiggling his toes, and I go, what are you doing.テつ He goes, well, it doesn't hurt.テつ I said, did they tell you you could do that?テつ And he says, no.テつ I go, what are you doing?テつ He was off all the pain medication and he was roaring from the start.
I felt like he handled that extremely well to come back out of that.テつ We've got a great doctor, Dr.Anderson, with his foot, did a great job for us, and Bill Heisel who's right around here, too, looking after Kyle, so we had great‑‑ we had a lot of people there looking after him.
The one thing I would say about our sport, though, when we were talking about staying in the top 30, to give you an example, Michigan is a good example of what can happen in our sport.テつ We restarted that race, we were running third, and there's a freak shower in 4, and Kyle happened to be the only guy trying to pass somebody and we wind up wrecking.テつ This is extremely hard, to average what we've got to average.テつ It's a tough, tough thing to do.
And so that's the way I look at it, and it's extremely hard.テつ I mean, last year, raced ourselves to death and Kyle averaged 17th, last year, so it shows you how hard this is, so we've got a tough assignment.
But I think Adam and Kyle, we're going to go after it every week, and we'll see what happens.

Q.テつ Kyle, you're going back to Daytona next week.テつ Does this win maybe make going back to there any easier, just from kind of a mental and emotional standpoint?
KYLE BUSCH:テつ No, I don't think so.テつ I don't think the win has any prerogative on Daytona.テつ I think Daytona is Daytona.テつ We fly down there and we roll into that racetrack, and you know, it's going to be different than I've ever probably gone into that racetrack, no doubt.テつ I don't know what that's going to be yet.テつ But I'm looking forward to it.テつ I'm looking forward to getting out there on the racetrack and attacking that demon per se and just being able to get out there and get back in the draft and get back in the pack and just work myself to having a good race car for Sunday night.
That's going to be the thing is that's another opportunity for us to win a race.テつ Now it's an opportunity for everybody.テつ Everybody goes there thinking they've got a chance to win that race, so we're not just racing against here, three, four, five guys because of road course experience, but when you go to Daytona, you're racing against all 42 other guys and girls.テつ It's certainly going to be a challenge, but let's go get it.テつ Why not?

Q.テつ Adam, obviously this is a team sport, but what does this win mean to you personally?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Well, that's a tough question.テつ I don't know.テつ I haven't really thought about it.テつ I'm so focused on getting this team in the Chase, but it's big.テつ Joe and J.D. and everybody gave me a chance and this opportunity to come crew chief a Cup car, and that's not something that anybody can take lightly.テつ You know, to kind of get in victory lane and get that monkey off your back, especially under the adverse circumstances at Sonoma of all places with everything Kyle has gone through, it tells you that there's no quit in myself and obviously no quit in this team, and even to another level in Kyle Busch.テつ I can't say enough about everything that he put in to getting back here and getting ready and giving all of us this opportunity.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Kyle, Adam, Coach, we knew the resiliency of this team was going to be strong, but congratulations on the win, and thanks again for bringing us dessert.
JOE GIBBS:テつ I wanted to say to J.D. and everybody back home, we appreciate everybody back there.テつ Sometimes we don't talk enough about all the people back home and all the hard work they're doing and preparing the cars and everything.テつ These guys will tell you that.テつ So it's a total team effort for us.テつ I don't think I emphasized that.テつ I'd like to say a big thanks to all of them.テつ Thanks to all of you.テつ Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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