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August 19, 2017

Kyle Busch

Bristol, Tennessee

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the winner of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M Caramel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Tonight was Kyle's 40th win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, which ties him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin. It was also his 180th NASCAR national series victory. Most importantly he swept the weekend here at Bristol.
What is the secret to your success here, good sir?
KYLE BUSCH: This ain't the place to talk about that. Certainly feels good to come out here and have the opportunity by winning the Truck race, had the opportunity still open by winning the XFINITY race. So coming in here tonight, we knew we had the pressure on. It was kept on all day long. Those guys that were up there running in the front like Larson and Kenseth and Erik Jones especially, they kept us honest, made sure we had to go out there and get it done, achieve it. I was driving for everything I had there the last 80, 60 laps, whatever it was, giving it everything I had.
So just great job by my team. Everybody with Adam Stevens, the guys that work on the car, everybody at the shop making some really fast racecars for us. TRD, all the guys with the motor shop. This is fun. This is cool. It's neat to accomplish this once again. It's crazy to do it at the same track over again for as many times as maybe I had the opportunity to do a sweep all over again. But nonetheless, this is Bristol Sweep 2.0. This time around Brexton is here. So it's a pretty good deal.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor for questions.

Q. I don't remember until this year seeing you embrace the heel role this much, playing it up with the three to the crowd, the Cup in your ears, sweeping on top of your car. Are you getting more comfortable with that role? I feel like earlier in your career you fought against it, now you're like, Bring it on.
KYLE BUSCH: Don't matter what I do, what I say, how much I try to change. You don't change perception. People have whatever perception it is on you.
To me, I don't know that it's necessarily whether or not you have the most fans or the most followers. To me it's just about being able to go out there and put on a show for those that are buying tickets and being a part of it.
I know Rowdy Nation is pretty strong. Whether or not they're the strongest allegiance, probably not. But fact of the matter is we've got a pretty good following going.
Love my fans, everybody that's out there that's cheering for us to be successful to go out there and win races. Guess what, they're the ones that are celebrating the hardest and tonight, so it's a lot of fun.

Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: You know what, there was this guy that was at one of my hospitality appearances today. He was giving me the bird the whole time. Yeah, I know I'm No.1. I've been No.1 the past two nights. He gave me two. You know what, you're already solidifying what I already know.
It's pretty awesome to be able to get out there. I'm sure they're still booing, whining and crying all the way home tonight. They're driving home mad, so people be careful.

Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: Well, it was a Toyota hospitality where it was out in the Fan Zone. There were fans on the outside of the gate. What's funny is he wasn't wearing any other driver's gear. Is that a floater, is that what they're called?

Q. What did you tell Brexton to say in the driver intro song?
KYLE BUSCH: Truck yeah. Truck yeah. I told him to say Truck yeah. I thought he said Truck yeah. I don't know.

Q. Even the second win in four races for you, pit stops were a little bit of a problem a couple of times tonight. Do you feel it's great you guys are gaining momentum tonight, stage win, five points for the overall win? Are there things you feel you need to clean up heading into the Playoffs pit stop‑wise?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, there's no question. Certainly times you come down pit road, you have a really good stop, you maintain, or you even gain spots. Other times you come down pit road, they have an issue and we lose spots.
But you expect to lose a spot or two, especially when you're having your rear guy do spring rubbers or something like that. When it's just an air pressure adjustment stop or whatever it might be, you lose spots on that because somebody stumbles, it's a little frustrating.
But I have my mistakes all the time out on the racetrack, too. There were a few times I chattered the rear tires, might have gotten loose, lost a spot or two. We all have those mistakes. Adam didn't make the best of adjustments from practice last night into the race today. We definitely could have made some more than what we did.
That's just something we're going to work on in order to perfect ourselves for when we come back here next time. We've got to be a little more mindful of some of that stuff in our past notes, rely on those to be better with these final 13 races all the way to Homestead. I don't know what it is, I don't know how to count. It's 12. Thanks, Nate.

Q. Adam said his main worry was you might take too many risks trying to get the sweep, you might elevate your risk level. Did you have to hold yourself back at all at any time tonight?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, there were a few times tonight when the tires weren't really feeling great. They just felt like they had a lot of air pressure built up. One of the longest runs we had, I commented to Adam that the car is really chattering, really vibrating right now.
He was like, I've heard those comments before.
Not many laps later we'd had blown out a tire. Fortunately somebody else did before us, which gave us the caution we needed.
It's just air pressure builds here, man. Once you get ‑‑ the tire thickness continues to wear and it gets thinner, that air pressure gets closer and closer to outside air, you know. It's going to become a problem.
So unfortunately whoever it was that gave us that caution, it was fortunate for us. So just had to back it down, had to bide my time. A couple times coming off of pit road, got inside the 24 and the 20, sandwiched me and squashed me there, so I just had to back out of that situation. I lost another spot to the 11 while rolling pit road at that same time. Stuff like that, you just got to kind of pick and choose your battles.

Q. Did you know when you won, when you got booed, you were going to put your fingers up by your ears? Sometimes you do the crying type thing. Was that planned or spur of the moment?
KYLE BUSCH: No, I knew there was going to be the heckles, for sure, you know. My fans are great and amazing, but there's no way all of my fans are going to be able to fill up Bristol Motor Speedway, okay? So the best of the best that have won here have been booed and have been whatever'd for a long, long time. So I'm fine with that.
But, you know, my people get to go home safe and secure and slow and steady and patient because they get to celebrate.

Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know what I'm going to tell you here in about five seconds, so I'm going to shut my mouth.

Q. The last two nights you had late race restarts. Tonight you didn't have that late race restart. Was there ever a point at the end of the race you were worried the caution would come out? Were you prepared to use that restart to your advantage?
KYLE BUSCH: Dude, that's a good point. If the caution ever came out, man, that was not going to be pretty. And I say that because the tires were just so wore out, the tires were just killed. I mean, if the caution would have come out in the last 10 laps, you were going to have to stay out. I don't know you would have came in and pitted. You would have taken the chance you could burst out on the restart, get enough clean air and get enough space that those with fresh tires couldn't catch you. I'm fortunate and thankful there wasn't a late race caution I had to deal with. Yesterday, the car was really evil for the last 10 laps that we had to run it there.
That was fortunate. I was kind of worried more so that Erik was going to be able to run us back down and get back to us because he was just really, really good and really, really fast around the bottom. Looked a lot like myself here years ago when I was really good, patient with the bottom, being able to work down there all day long, be able to pick off cars. When anybody would go to the top, I would be like, Thank you, see you later.
That's kind of what Erik looked like tonight. He was really impressive to me. I wish I had more of that for the bottom. But we just didn't. Our car was better up top.

Q. After the race, Larson tweeted, Love him or hate him, I feel he is the most talented driver I will ever witness in my lifetime. How does it make you feel from another successful driver?
KYLE BUSCH: It's awesome. You know, I appreciate that. It's definitely, you know, an honor, a humbling statement. Larson is obviously arguably one of the most talented guys, as well, too, to hit our sport in a long, long time. People will continue to say that about him as well.
It was fun racing with him earlier in the race. There were times we were racing hard side‑by‑side. I was bottom, he was top. I was top, he was bottom. We were all over the place, right? I got a run through one and two on him. We were coming down the backstretch, I got a nose ahead of him. I'm like, I'm going to slide him in turn three here. I'm like, You cannot slide a slider, there's no way. You cannot slide Kyle Larson. Never mind, I got to one the bottom.
There's other guys you can do that to, but Larson is not one of those guys. He don't care, he'll throw it in on you. One of these days (indiscernible). You just know he's giving it everything he's got. I think it's that Sprint car mentality. You always think that guy you're racing around sometimes is going to give it to you, is going to save your butt. But he'll find one of these days that don't always happen.

Q. What are you doing next week? Are you looking for three or four races to run somewhere?
KYLE BUSCH: No, actually I ran out of my quota. My wife told me I'm done. The rest of the year I got the XFINITY race at Richmond, then the rest of the year it's just Cup stuff, so everybody will be thrilled (smiling).

Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we're going on vacation. So we're out.

Q. The contact on pit road with Matt Kenseth, were you worried that would affect the car in any way?
KYLE BUSCH: It wasn't too hard so I wasn't too worried about it. I just wanted Matt to know like, Hey, man, I've been outside of you twice, and both times you've doored me and run me outside of the pit road lane. I didn't know if he didn't know that I was out there. I knew he did once we touched.
But, you know, I'm sure he was just watching his tach, not really worrying about his mirror. His spotter should have called it. No harm, no foul. We moved on. That was that.

Q. You won every race here this weekend, every stage but the second stage today.
KYLE BUSCH: We gave that one away (smiling).

Q. Not something that weighs on you at all? Probably worth it. Would it have meant anything to you to get every stage win this weekend?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it would have. We could have stayed out and led those five laps because we were the leader when we decided to pit, give away that stage. I definitely wanted to get that stage. But I knew what was more important, and that was getting the win. We forfeited that stage essentially.
We restarted, I don't even know, seventh, something like that, ninth maybe. We might have finished eighth or something in that stage. I got boxed in by the 27 car and got stuck behind him for three or four laps, had a couple guys get by me.
You know, that's not going to weigh on me too much here. I'm not going to worry about it. People aren't going to put it on that big banner, Kyle Busch sweeps the weekend and all stages except one. So not worried about it.

Q. Doesn't seem it was that long ago you were in here talking about...
KYLE BUSCH: That was last night.

Q. ...about the last time you gave one of these away in some fashion. Over the last four weeks, which includes two victories, do you believe you guys have turned that corner and are more in position to capitalize on what you've had this season?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, we've had really strong cars and had really good opportunities to win a lot of races this year. We just haven't gotten it, for whatever reason. There's no store you go to to buy luck. I think luck was probably the biggest thing we were missing out on.
It's just kind of starting to turn around a little bit. Things are going a little bit better in our direction. Some of those lucky breaks are kind of floating our way rather than somebody else's way. That's kind of the way it goes. Take 'em when you can get 'em is my mentality.
It is so frustrating, though, for this season to be as fast as we've been, as competitive as we've been, the opportunities that were there for us to be able to score the victories, and to not get those. Man, it just makes you really literally want to pull all your hair out.
So, you know, being able to score the win just kind of relieves all that like, Whew, okay. People look at me probably like I'm crazy, I win a lot. But it's so hard to win these Cup races that when these ones slip away, it definitely makes you way, way angrier than the other ones.

Q. A lot of talk already about fans booing you and stuff. Do you remember if that ever happened to you in your racing career when you got that reaction out of fans? You swapped the lead with Erik Jones 10 times tonight. Your history together is well‑documented. What was it like to be fighting like that with him for a win at this level for the first time?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, as far as the booing thing goes, I definitely remember my first XFINITY Series start for sure. I just can't remember before that. I'm sure there were boos. But literally when I was at my local short track, I won 10 out of 15 races one year in my late model. Driver intros were not always very pretty. So, you know, the locals at my local short track didn't like me because I won too much.
I got on the XFINITY Series scene back in 2003, and for my first XFINITY Series start I can remember it vividly. I qualified third, in Joe Nemechek's car, the 87 Ditech car. I went through driver intros and I got booed. I was like, Why? What? I haven't been here yet, give me a chance. But my brother ruined that for me (laughter). I started out at a deficit already.
There's definitely positive, but there's definitely still going to be those that want to be loud. (Indiscernible) trying to say my last name and they can't finish it.
Racing with Jones, awesome. I mean, I love Erik Jones. He's a phenomenal talent and a great racecar driver. We knew that a long time ago. I don't know whether it's a good thing I found him or a bad thing I found him because one of these days I'm going to lose to him and I'm not going to be thrilled, but I'm still going to congratulate him. I thought today was actually going to be that day.
But he was awesome to race with. For as fast as we were, being up front, for as much as he wanted to win, I wanted to win, we gave each other room. We never touched each other. It was always smooth, clean, great. I really appreciated that from him.
He's going to win a lot. Truex said it last week, I think, there's no team orders, his time will come. When it does, he's going to go on a roll.

Q. You've gotten two of these weekend sweeps. Could you compare and contrast 2010 to this weekend, put this in historical context to do it twice at the same track. Unprecedented in the history of the sport.
KYLE BUSCH: Thank you. I think so, too.
I can't remember that far back, dude. I remember the Truck race. I don't remember the Truck race. I just remember what it is.
Hey, Joe, I need this car, by the way. Okay, thanks.
So somebody asked me, If you do the triple again, what are you going to do with the car? I'm getting them, that's for sure. I guess the first triple is going to have to go up on the ceiling, sit upside down under the second one. That's the plan. See, I already got all this stuff figured out.
The XFINITY race, I remember that was the battle with Brad. He was an idiot. Then the Cup race was actually I felt like one of the easiest Cup races I had to win here. Crazy as that sounds, for as hard as these things are to win. I remember being like Erik Jones tonight, cruising around the bottom all night long, having a really fast racecar, everybody moved to the top, I moved to the bottom, thank you, bye‑bye. It was easy.
Tonight I felt like that a little bit in the beginning of the race. Once I got to about fourth, I slowed down. I wasn't able to pick off the top four as quick as I would have wanted to. They were really good. They were really fast.
I just think having a dominant Truck this time around was pretty special. People say it was a dominant XFINITY car. It was fast. It just didn't feel great, but it was fast. Maybe everybody's was feeling pretty bad.
Tonight I've never driven so hard in my life the last 60 laps. Literally I got out of the car and felt like I didn't want to. It was really, really hard to maintain that pace up top and to feel everything you're feeling and to trust yourself that I'm feeling the car loose getting into the corner sliding the rear tires, but I'm tight in the center. Got to go up on the rear track bar, keep the thing free rolling. Any little moment, any little slip, you can be right in the fence, especially running that high that fast, knowing that Erik Jones was catching me. I couldn't just sit there and pace myself. It was all she was worth.

Q. (Temporary loss of audio.)
KYLE BUSCH: I'd say 2015 Homestead was. We were really good that weekend. We knew Harvick was one of the most dominant cars that season. We had to race him for the championship. We were in front of him. I think we were running third. I think Brad was second and I was third. We were just kind of cruising home to finish the season to win the championship. We were going to finish third. We were actually gaining on the leaders. We were pulling away from Kevin.
Adam was telling me, Hey, man, slow don't. We don't have to catch those guys. We do not have to win this race. The caution came out, we all came to pit road. All of a sudden it became, We have to win this race.
To go out there, for my team to bust off a really fast stop, came out pit road second. Brad chose the bottom, which was crazy. I got the outside, just rolled the outside on him on the restart there. Kevin got to second. I just remember looking up, Got to win it, go to go, got to push, keep fighting.
We won that thing. That was one of the moments where it was kind of like, Man, I can't believe it. I can't believe we were in a win situation and we were able to come through and win it. That was probably one of the bigger ones. Tonight was number two.

Q. You mentioned the great ones getting booed. We talked about Kyle Larson's tweet. Have you really thought about where your place in the history of the sport will be when your career is over with? You're destined for the Hall of Fame in NASCAR. Have you thought about the ramifications of what your career will mean to future generations of NASCAR fans?
KYLE BUSCH: Yes and no. I mean, I've kind of thought about it, I guess. I've pretty much come to the notion I'll never win a fan vote. For media votes, sometimes I can go either way. Kind of depends. Depends on who I'm nice to or who I'm friends with.
To me, I just let results and stats and stuff like that speak for themselves. If you're going to be elected into a Hall of Fame based on what you've been able to accomplish, I've got that covered.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, enjoy your week off. You certainly earned it. We'll see you in two weeks in Darlington.
KYLE BUSCH: Thank you. Appreciate it.

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