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October 1, 2017

Kyle Busch

Dover, Delaware

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our race winner Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M's Caramel Toyota. Really strong opening round of the playoffs here for you, a lot of momentum going into the Round of 12. Why don't you talk about that for us.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, today was a good day, just being able to execute and do a really good job. The team obviously gave me a fast race car and a good piece, although early on it seemed like a bit of a struggle, and we weren't as good as we wanted to be or as good as we expected to be, but we never gave up, kept working on it and making some good changes, some good adjustments to the car, and there at the end with that long run, for as far as Chase got out there, I wasn't sure I'd be able to run him back down, but fortunately I did and gave it everything I had there for those last 60 laps.
I was sore, my tongue was hanging out, the car's tongue was hanging out, right rear tire was shot, just getting looser and looser as the run kind of kept going, was hindering my speed and the time that I could get there as fast as I wanted, but all in all, just a fun race and fun to be able to put on a good show like that, even though you have the agony or the delay of how long it took me to get there and then the pass was kind of like, whoa, that's quick. Trust me, from my standpoint, it was pretty exciting.

Q. Jimmie said after the race that typically 95 percent of the time the bottom is how you would win in that situation. You made the top work. Were you just trying something just to see if that was going to help make up time? And then the second thing is being how far back you were, how do you really know‑‑ are they just reading you lap times? How do you know you're making up enough speed to know that that's the way to go?
KYLE BUSCH: So yeah, the battle for the win there, when I got close, it was about eight laps, seven laps to go, something like that. I was on the top side and I wasn't making up any ground on him, so I went back to the bottom, and I wasn't necessarily making up any ground on him there at the bottom, either. I got within a half a second and kind of stalled out, but then it seemed like he caught the 31 and a couple other cars in front of him and it kind of slowed his lap times down, and so I went back to the top to get the clean air and get the momentum rolling, and it just seemed to help me and gave me the speed that I needed. Jimmie is right, there's more times than not you're not going to be able to pass that guy. If Chase would have got through the traffic, it would have held me up in the traffic for a couple laps, he would have had distance on me, and I would not have been able to run him down and pass him running the outside. If nobody was in front of him, he would have been fine, he would have won the race; it was just circumstantial how it all played out there.

Q. Could Chase have done anything differently?
KYLE BUSCH: The only thing Chase could have done differently was just moved around and tried to get out of the wake of the cars that were in front of him. I was actually surprised he didn't. He kept running the bottom behind those guys, and the bottom was what got him there for that point in the day. He was good down there all day long, but he was just getting slowed down too much by the air and everything in front of him.
He could have just tried to blitz them on the top and get around them sooner, but other than that, I think he was just so focused on what he had all day long, making the bottom work, that he just stuck with it.

Q. I'm curious, you mentioned a little bit, what was that key point where you really realized that, hey, I've got a chance, I've got a shot in this race, and I can really come away with a win?
KYLE BUSCH: It wasn't until about four to go, I guess, when I went back to the outside and made up ground on him. You know, I mean, through the entire run, I was gaining on him and closing in and closing in, but man, you don't ever really think you're going to get the job done or make a pass until you're actually there and alongside the guy because the racing surface here, you can be fast on the bottom, have somebody plug it up and be faster on the top, or there could have been a lap car that went to the top and slowed me down, but there just wasn't. So it just kind of ‑‑ the way it happened it just worked out perfect for us.
Four to go, I figured, okay, I've got my momentum back, rolling on the outside, I'm gaining on him, I'm gaining on him, and then finally off of 2 I had a run and he gave me room to his outside, so that right there was sealing the deal.

Q. Because you were second, do you have maybe more of an option to try various lanes to get through lap traffic than maybe kind of depending on what got you there, which is what Chase did?
KYLE BUSCH: Yes and no. When you're chasing‑‑ when you are Chase and you have been leading for that long and you've lost that amount of distance to the car behind you, you've got to move around. You know, you can't give up four seconds of the lead and not do something else. I feel like that's kind of where they lost it today. I don't know if he was getting communication from his spotter or his crew chief or somebody just saying, stick to the bottom, stick with what has got you to this point, but that was obviously bad advice.
Should have moved around and searched for something and tried to pick off cars and traffic as quickly as possible.

Q. Does the fact that you've led 1,600 some odd laps this year and he's only led 200 something make a difference just kind of knowing how to get through lap traffic with the way guys are driving right now?
KYLE BUSCH: Not really. I would just say that's experience. I would just say that that's trusting your abilities, trusting what you're doing, making the most of what you've got going on. I was actually kind of nervous that I was going to get too loose and not be able to get to him because that was the most adjustment of my track bar I had to use all day long. The two runs prior to that I never moved it, and that run right there I moved it probably two inches.
It just kept getting looser on me, so running the top was obviously hurting my tires, and for Chase maybe that's why he didn't go up there, because he was already too loose, and it seemed like the top was a tick looser.

Q. Even though Truex still has a big mass of points, does the last couple of weeks make you the favorite now do you think?
KYLE BUSCH: (Laughs.) No. There's a lot of racing to go. You know, I think week to week, you can probably change your favorite. Early on the first third of the race I probably would have said Larson is your new championship favorite, but you've got to let these things play out. You know, I don't know that there's necessarily a favorite. Maybe it closes our gap that the 78 had on us a little bit where I still think it's 78, 18, 42, and there's different distances between us each and every week, I guess, depending on how we run and what all kind of goes on, so it's all about getting the stars to align and doing your job and having everything go your way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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