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September 24, 2017

Kyle Busch

Loudon, New Hampshire

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of today's 21st Annual ISM Connect 300 here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and that is none other than Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M's Caramel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. This was his 41st career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, his third win of 2017, and his third victory here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kyle, they say advancing in the playoffs sometimes is a game of inches. You avoided some early trouble in the incident and were able to get around and find your way to Victory Lane. How harrowing was that for you, and how close of a call was that for you?
KYLE BUSCH: It was a close call. You know, that was certainly a defining most of the race, I think, with the 78 getting torn up a little bit and us being able to squeak through unscathed. Thankfully when I saw the wall of smoke coming off of Turn 2 I was far enough back that I just checked up real hard. I had Tony in my ear telling me slow down or stop, and you know, the cloud of smoke was so large that you literally couldn't see anything, and I think a couple of those guys in front of us just plowed right on in. I saw the 33 get into it and then the other one in front of me I think was the 47 car, and he was able to squeak through there between the wall and the 4, and I just followed him hoping that the 4 was done crashing and not inching forward anymore.
Thankfully that was the case, and helped save our race.

Q. You, Martin, Brad and Larson are all locked into the second round of the playoffs now; how do you go into Dover? What strategy do you use? Do you take chances just to get stage points or points for wins? What's your next feat next week?
KYLE BUSCH: I think the biggest thing for us is to just keep focusing on what we've done all year long, just keep trying to go out there and run hard, run smooth and be good at what we do. Obviously fast race cars helps us being able to stay out front. We've got a good pit crew. They did a good job today, did everything right, and from there, we're just trying to collect stage points, go out there and race as hard as we can, get stage wins, get race wins, and do what we can in order to keep padding that cushion that we have for the start of every round.

Q. You lost so many races when you were the fastest car. Do you feel like you got one back today when it feels like maybe Truex was faster for much of the race?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, he was a little bit faster than us for sure the first segment of the race. The second segment I thought we were kind of catching him a little bit. I think it could have gone either way; whoever was out front might have led because I caught him in traffic and then he got away from me through a little bit of traffic, I caught him back. It's just kind of depending on how traffic went.
So I thought we were getting more equal to him, which is good. We're keeping up with him. So I thought that was a positive. But yeah, any time that you see somebody else have trouble, you never can count on those opportunities, you just have to take advantage of them when they're there, and we did that today being able to get a win. I felt like we were good enough to win ourselves, but we'll take them as we can get them right now.

Q. So given that he's your chief concern as far as this playoff, the fact that you were able to make gains on him and stay with him, do you feel pretty optimistic about that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I thought today was a good catch‑up moment for us, if you will. Obviously they've been so fast all year long. Their strength is really the mile‑and‑a‑half tracks, the bigger speed tracks than here, but they've been really fast here the last few times. I feel like we've been close to being able to out‑race them here a couple times, but it was going to come down to that again and who was going to be in the lead, who was going to have the opportunity on restarts and whatnot to control the field. But we'll see what happens next week at Dover. I anticipate him being really fast there.
Probably maybe a little faster than us, he just had a better handle on that place than us. But obviously with Texas and Charlotte and Kansas and Homestead being all mile‑and‑a‑half tracks, you know, those are ones that we've got to zero in on and make sure we have the most speed possible.

Q. Today it was a little bit warmer; did you guys kind of use the same setup from July since it was warmer temperatures today, especially with the new surface on the track?
KYLE BUSCH: I couldn't tell you. I have no clue. I don't pay attention to setup stuff. I just try to give really good feedback and where the setups go‑‑ they change a lot in six months, so I'm sure something was different about it today than what we were then. With the way our cars have been, we probably don't change a whole lot, but you've got to keep up with changing tire conditions, changing track conditions and such.

Q. Is it almost intimidating that Truex can have a bad day the way he did and come back and finish fifth?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, that was a good recovery for those guys. Obviously they took two tires there. I wasn't sure how that was going to work out for them, but it was two tires on 30‑lap tires, 37‑lap tires, and he was beating them up pretty well. So I expected him to fade a little bit, probably more so than fifth, but that was a respectable day for sure for the issues they had.

Q. Between trucks, XFINITY and Cup, you've won a dozen races here. What are your thoughts on the track here in New Hampshire and obviously losing it starting next year and moving to Las Vegas with that playoff race?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I thought this place is always exciting. It always lends to exciting moments, that's for sure. We had one today. Sometimes the racing, though, is a little strung out with this place being so hard to pass. It's just not lending itself to being able to be right on top of or right close to the guy in front of you because you just get so tight when you're behind that guy, and you build air pressure in the front tires and you slow down and that guy drives away from you, and then you kind of accordion back to the next guy, he's catching you thinking he's going to pass you and then he gets tight, and it kind of goes back to the next guy.
It's kind of frustrating to race here sometimes, but you've got to give it to the track for putting on some great moments with other races here like the ACT cars, the modifieds, the K&N cars, the trucks, the XFINITY cars. They flood this place full of opportunity to see some good racing.
You know, I'm partial to the Vegas thing because I'm from there. That's my hometown, gives us two opportunities for two triple‑headers out there. September, though, I don't know what's hotter, today or what it's going to be in Vegas next year. Either way, it's looking to be hot.

Q. We know Denny is afraid of lobster. You said that Sam wasn't a big fan of lobster. How did she handle the lobster this time?
KYLE BUSCH: She was much more welcoming to the lobster this time. She received it a lot better, and maybe that was just bravery from Brexton and having‑‑ well, he was here last time, too, and he didn't know what the heck that thing was probably either time, but he gave it a little poke, and he wanted to poke it in its eye, and I was like, hold on a second, back it down and pet him on the back, so we gave him the shell, he touched it, so I think he thought that was cool.

Q. Were you a little bit surprised there that there wasn't a caution before the end of the stage, that we went 75 laps without a caution?
KYLE BUSCH: A little bit, yeah, but somewhat, no. Like I said, this place can sometimes get strung out a little bit, that you can't necessarily count on cautions, and fortunately we were good enough today that we were right there on Martin. We were probably a couple lengths behind him. But it was not too pressing for us, and we weren't in panic mode at all. So it was fine that we were going to go to the stage mark.

Q. You mentioned about how we have a jam‑packed weekend here. We have four different series. Would you like to see additional series added on to race weekends at other venues in an attempt to give fans a bit more of a bang for their buck, say maybe a preliminary race the day of the Cup race as opposed to nothing and a bunch of concerts?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I think when race fans go to the racetrack, they want to see racing, so I think Loudon does that with a bunch of on‑track activity, a bunch of races here and things. And so I think they do a good job of that, and I think you can mix it in. Some racetracks are different than others. Some racetracks have different reasons to have concerts or other things other than more cars on the racetrack. You go to Talladega, you can't put more cars on the racetrack. There's not enough skilled drivers that are going to be able to run around a two‑and‑a‑half‑mile racetrack and see tomorrow.
You know, for everything else, though, like mile‑and‑a‑half racetracks, you've got legends cars and other things, but a lot of people don't necessarily show up for those, so it's hard to tell, and I'm sure other tracks have tried that before. I think that's why the infield ovals are at Vegas and Charlotte and Texas and everything else for the legends cars, and you know, you just don't see the eyeballs in the stands.

Q. With the TrackBite solution, Grant Enfinger mentioned yesterday it didn't really seem to wear off during the truck race. How long did that solution seem to last out there for you today?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, it stays the entire time, but in my mind it definitely wears off. I felt like it was a lot wore off in the first run of the race. Anytime you put on new tires, it feels like that solution is useful for probably 15, 20 laps and then after that it kind of equals out to other grooves, even though everybody still runs that main groove because we're just used to running there, and it has that little bit more grip than the main groove that used to be here, that middle lane. That's why you just kind of stay in it, you stay running in it. I think that the PJ1 offers itself an opportunity on restarts to be two wide and not be crashing into one another, although that's probably what some fans want to see. Pick your poison on what you want to do or what you want to see, and I think the racetracks will work with that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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