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April 3, 2016

Kyle Busch

Adam Stevens

Ridgeway, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by today's race winner of the STP 500, Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M's 75th Anniversary Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is Kyle's 35th career win. He led 352 laps today, the most at Martinsville since Bobby Hamilton led 378 in 1998. Kyle, congratulations. Tell us about your race today.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it was a really good car, obviously with practice and everything and learning some things about the car and the track yesterday, we were able to have a really good piece, and we knew that, understood that, and then we were able to come out here today and put it all together and have a really good piece all throughout the race, as well. Leading as many laps as we did, that was really good for us. It was a confidence boost for me as well, too, just being up front that much. I've never really felt like I've had a car to be able to do that in years past, but Adam and the guys were able to give that to me this time around. So pumped about the things that I learned here this weekend, let alone the years past or years prior that I was able to learn, and of course my teammates that helped me out a lot here over the years, so to be able to finally put it all together is pretty cool, and take home not one but two Martinsville trophies, Martinsville clocks is pretty awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Adam, congratulations to you. Tell us a little bit about what this win means to you.
ADAM STEVENS: You know, this is a big win for myself, for Kyle and this whole team. It hasn't been one of our strongest places, maybe for JGR, but not for myself and Kyle historically. I think we made some good ground last year with David Ragan's help in the spring and Kyle coming back in the fall, and I think his level of feedback really picked up as he really understood what he needed in his car, and that helped us as a team make better adjustments, and continuing through the race today, I think we got him dialed in a little bit better than he has been able to in the past because he could really identify what he was looking for.

Q. Kyle, you now are the owner of two clocks. Is this going to mess with Samantha's interior design, first of all? And second of all, one of your goals is to win at every Cup and XFINITY track, and I think you've crossed off one Cup this year now and two XFINITY, so I think you need one more XFINITY and three more Cup. Your checklist is actually going pretty well this year so far. What do you think of how that's unfolded so far?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, first with having a trophy, that's a good problem to have. Any time you get a cool trophy and want to find a cool place to put it, that's obviously a neat problem to have.
You know, where they both go, I have no idea. That's pretty special to be able to score not only one but two here, especially on the Cup side with M&M's and everything with the 75th Anniversary car here. It's pretty cool, too, with the history this place has and the history M&M's has, it's pretty neat.
Where they're going to go, I don't know yet. Maybe one on the main floor, maybe one on the other floor. That would be pretty cool. I've got to get them in sync though, so they go off at the same time so you're not hearing these weird noises throughout the house. But a good problem to have.
As far as being able to check off some more races, I checked off the truck series win yesterday. I never won here at Martinsville in the trucks. I think I've concluded being able to win at all the active tracks that I've made a start in the truck series. I believe that's right. And then I've got Watkins Glen left on the XFINITY side, and I've got I think three, Kansas, Pocono and somewhere‑‑ Charlotte. Imagine that.
So it's a pretty good problem to have. There's not very many left on the list, but we've certainly put some emphasis on that over the past few years and being able to try to do that last year was a big year for us, knocking off a couple of those, as well. I'm pumped when I'm able to do that. I don't know that many guys have ever been able to accomplish being able to win at every single active track that they've made starts at, and I look forward to trying to complete that feat.

Q. Kyle, Tony Stewart hasn't done it, Jimmie Johnson hasn't done it, Jeff Gordon I don't think did it.
KYLE BUSCH: He had Kentucky left.

Q. So it's within striking distance for you. What's it going to mean if you get it, and I heard on your radio, you had a little message for your haters after you won this. Is that what makes this a little extra special, that you're getting that close to that sort of immortality almost?
KYLE BUSCH: No, I wouldn't say it's immortality or anything. It's certainly neat to be able to show your diversity and being able to go out there and win at any single style of racetrack that there is, I think that just shows talent and obviously, too, you've got great people behind you. I wouldn't be able to be here if it wasn't for Adam or Toyota or Joe Gibbs Racing or even my sponsors with M&M's. This was a really good day for me, and being able to accomplish this one, this one is pretty cool. When we get down on the checklist, we'll further on talk about that, but I'm looking forward to that, and hopefully, whether it comes all this year or whether it takes a few more years to get it all, hopefully I can be here for a little while longer and we can accomplish that.

Q. Why haven't you won at Martinsville? You have done well at the other short tracks. What is it about this place that has seemed to stymie you?
KYLE BUSCH: I think the biggest thing about Martinsville is the amount of off throttle time that you have here is greater than the amount of time on throttle that you have here. So being able to put together lift techniques and braking techniques and how to utilize the speed of the car without trying to go fast. You're trying to go fast, but you're trying to do it while slowing down. That's probably one of the biggest things. I've never been very good at slowing down.
You know, I always probably try to overdrive this place a lot, and I feel like over the last few years, I definitely honed in on some things that helped me and some techniques that helped me, and obviously having great teammates like Denny Hamlin over the years, I've gotten a lot better. When I joined Joe Gibbs Racing, I was still hit or miss. I wasn't very good. But then once I was really able to lean on Denny a lot and learn from Denny a lot, that helped me, and then of course having Matt come on board and Carl last year, we all ran really well at Martinsville, so learning from all of those guys and being able to apply that here today and over the years has really helped me. I mean, I think we finished in the top 5 here, seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, whatever it's been here, pretty regularly for the last four years or so, so it's been just a short time coming here to try to get a win.

Q. I've watched you through the years, and seems this year you seem more confident than ever. Is that a good observation?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, sure. You've got to have confidence and belief in what you're doing and what your team is doing and who your team is, and I feel like we've got all that. Team has got really good charisma. Everybody rallies around Adam Stevens and myself, and Adam is a great boss and leader, as well, and I feel like I've gotten better in my leadership skills over the years. Everybody just enjoys‑‑ I think they do anyways, that they enjoy working with one another, so we have some fun. Also I think just having good results and having adjustments go our way and the cars continue to get better when you discuss things over the radio or even in practice, the cars always improve, that's just a huge confidence boost, too, that you have within your team that they know what they're doing.

Q. Kyle, get a win here today, defending champion, you come back here in October; talk about how big this is in April. I know you take it one race at a time, but how big this is in April to already know we got a win, we were good here, come back here when it's in the Chase?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, being six, seven months away, whatever it is, there's going to be a lot of things that change in these race cars by the time we get back here, but anytime you're able to score a victory at a racetrack, it certainly just gives you that vote of confidence to be able to go back to that place and to run well again. It's not that say that we could sweep both races here at Martinsville, but we'll certainly give it a shot when we come back here in the fall.
This was one of the best race cars I've had here in a long, long time, just being able to have the confidence in the car and the belief in the grip of the car that we had that it really helped me be able to just run up front, and I could actually run up front and take care of my equipment all day long. That really just sort of set the tone for the day.

Q. Kyle, winning seems to be a theme here in the press conference today. I think 200 Cup wins we all realize is probably out of the question, but 100 certainly shouldn't be. If you look at the fact that David Pearson was 34 when he got to 35 wins, you're at 31 and you're already there, and he ran more races than you had. Is it a realistic goal for you to try and achieve 100 wins in the Cup Series before you retire?
KYLE BUSCH: Man, I thought I'd get that question when I was like 75 or wherever the hell Jimmie is at. Y'all just asked Jimmie if he could make it to 100, I think last week or two weeks ago. We've got a long ways ahead of us. Let's get to 50 first; how about that? Certainly I'd like to think that we can score 100 wins, but man, we'd better get to work. It's going to be five or eight a year that we better get going on ‑‑
ADAM STEVENS: We're going to have to start winning two a weekend. Can we do that?
KYLE BUSCH: I win two a weekend. That's a good problem to have. I have my overall total. We're taking about Cup here, bud.
KYLE BUSCH: Do you want to race twice a weekend in Cup?
ADAM STEVENS: Yeah, that'll work, too.
KYLE BUSCH: I'd certainly love to get that high. Hell, I'd love to have 200, but we know that's probably not going to happen. So, with the competition level the way it is today, man, it's hard to win a Cup Series race. It's hard to win a Cup Series championship. But we've done those things now 35 times and once, we'll continue to go down our ways and see if we can't get more.

Q. Adam, do you know which tracks Kyle hasn't won at, and is that any sort of point of emphasis?
ADAM STEVENS: I have a vague understanding. I think he just went through them, so now I do. But I'm glad Michigan is not one of them. Can I say that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, exactly. Kansas is, though.
ADAM STEVENS: That's all right. We can get that one. But it's not something that we really have discussions about. We intend to win every time we unload and we work our guts out to make that possible.
You know, our relationship and our work ethic together, we don't let little obstacles like that kind of get in our way. We've been able to win at a lot of goofy places and just continue to scratch them off the list as they come and win at a bunch of other ones in between now and then.

Q. It's not like he's more ornery or anything going into tracks he hasn't won at?
ADAM STEVENS: No, the cool thing about Kyle is he's exactly the same, no matter what. Just a weeks ago at Vegas we were just terrible. I mean, we were going to finish three or four laps down based off of practice and he had the biggest smile on his face the entire weekend, and he said, don't worry about it, pal, you always give me the good stuff for the race, and I'll be darned, but we did.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, about time.
ADAM STEVENS: You know, he's just a pleasure to work with in that regard. It's very even keel.

Q. Adam, does having a win alter what you were planning for the next few races, or as we get on and get toward the summer?
ADAM STEVENS: I think it can. It's situational. You're certainly able to take an unusual amount of risk now that you have a win and you're in, so if there's a quirky pit strategy that maybe is a 10 percent chance of working out but it's the only way that you're going to have a chance to win, you might take it even if it risks a 15th‑place finish, but if you're trying to score points you just can't do that. That was a lot of the situation we were in last year. We had to be a little bit more conservative because we really needed the points after we missed those 11 races. But now we're kind of freed up, and it's really going to open the playbook. It won't be every weekend, but there will be situations where we can do some pretty drastic stuff to try to get to victory lane.

Q. Kyle, I already saw your quote that you guys had something planned out where with 10 laps to go it was all bets are off in terms of the restarts teammates on the front row. And I know it was 12 to go when that happened, you said Matt would probably understand that. How does that play out I guess that the next time here and the debrief on Tuesday? Does it get awkward at all or does he just understand that if he was in your shoes it probably would have been the same way?
KYLE BUSCH: You'll have to ask Matt. But we've all got a really good working relationship. I think we all saw how good our relationship is at Daytona and the way we were able to work together, five of us. It's hard to get two or three of us, let alone five. That was pretty special there at Daytona, and we were all planning the same things. We had discussions about it here today on what to do and how we were going to go about trying to do it and being able to let each other in where we were at. It worked really well all day. We did it‑‑ Matt and I, we did it. Denny and Matt, they did it, and then I don't remember if Denny and I did it. I don't think we did.
But regardless, there coming down towards the end of the race, I mean, 10 to go, 11 to go, 12 to go, what's really the threshold? So we essentially told each other all bets are off with under 10 to go, so I think there was a restart, what, with 40 to go? What was the one we got tired?
ADAM STEVENS: Yeah, it was about that.
KYLE BUSCH: And we helped each other on that one. So I think we played it right. I think we did the right thing. There towards the end it was time to go, crunch time, right? So fortunately with my restart it gave me enough of a gap to get out and I don't really know what happened behind me. I guess Allmendinger ended up getting by Matt, because he finished second, but with those two racing each other a little bit side by side, it just kind of gave me the time that I needed in order to get a gap and get comfortable with what I had underneath me.

Q. Given that your teammate Denny Hamlin went out of the race due to engine troubles about halfway through the race, does that cross your mind thinking like, crap, if it happened to our teammate, could this happen to us next?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I don't believe it was engine problems, but I think he kind of had a freak brake problem‑‑

Q. It is listed as being out because of engine troubles.
ADAM STEVENS: I'm pretty sure that's not correct. I think he wheel hopped it and got into the fence.
KYLE BUSCH: Regardless, whether a teammate has issues anytime or another, if it's an engine issue, then yeah, it does lend itself, because we get the same parts and the same engines in all five of the Toyota TRD race cars. That would be a level of concern. But you know, here today, all was good.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Congratulations, and have a great week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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