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October 22, 2017

Ryan Blaney

Kurt Busch

Kansas City, Kansas

THE MODERATOR: We will begin today's post race press conference. Joined by the runner‑up finisher of today's race, Kurt Busch, driver of the No.1 Monster Energy Haas Automation Ford for Stewart‑Haas Racing.
Kurt, wild race out there. You were able to bring this home second. Walk us through your day.
KURT BUSCH: For us, we had a real adventurous day. Actually, I brushed the wall early on, got a lap down, had to dig out of that hole all day.
For the call early to stay out and then to put on scuff tires to limp it home through one of the stages, that was a gutsy call by Tony Gibson. I have to say hats off to Gibson for that because that put us back on the same sequence with the leaders and the tires. That gave us the same amount of sets of stickers that we could use towards the end of the race.
Man, I tell you, the restarts, when you have scuffs, you have a couple heat cycles on them, they're just not the same tire. Guys are buzzing the tires, sliding all over them. I was one of them. The big accident on the back, these tires, you feel like you've got them under control, then the next thing you know you don't because the cars are really unstable once they get a couple heat cycles on them.
All in all, Tony Gibson deserves this second‑place finish. He got on me pretty hard on Saturday morning after qualifying. He said, You know, we got a brake problem.
I said, What do you mean?
He goes, You didn't use brake, that's why we didn't run good in run two and run three.
I like, Man, I never use brake in qualifying.
So he actually really pissed me off. I spent the whole race pretty agitated. At the end I made sure I used brake and brought it home in second.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined also by today's third‑place finisher, and that is none other than Ryan Blaney, driver of the No.21 Omnicraft Auto Parts Ford for the Wood Brother Racing, advancing on into the Round of Eight in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
You had to start all the way from the back to come home third. Walk us through your day.
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, it was a long day for sure, especially coming from the back. We made decent ground before the competition caution.
The deal that happened Friday, having to start in the back, coming back, having a pretty fast car there at the end really all race shows some pretty great resilience from the Wood Brothers team, and it definitely feels good to be moving on, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor for questions.

Q. In what ways were you all able to regroup your pit crew and yourselves as drivers with that wreck on lap 199 that took out several vehicles, including the 19 car?
KURT BUSCH: In all honesty, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. I'd say today I spent 99% of my restarts on the bottom lane. That's just the way it unfolded. So I would really look at Lady Luck on that as the first reason why we were able to escape that situation.
Secondly, I mean, yeah, you're driving cautiously on the restarts with scuffs because guys are able to get sideways real easy. You just hope that you're in the right place and you're able to make a move to get away from all the trouble.
RYAN BLANEY: Pretty much what Kurt said. I was right behind him on the bottom when that happened. This tire is unforgiving at this racetrack. I saw the 77 get really loose. When someone gets that free, that sideways, there's a 50% chance he's going to come back up in front of the field. Unfortunately, that's what happened.
Some of that is luck, for sure, being on the bottom, being able to get clear of that. I think we've done a great job this year. I would say this is probably the most fun I've ever had racing with anybody, no matter what car. They just make it a really fun year. Just to be competitive, still be in this thing, that's just a bonus, to be honest with you.
So I didn't really have any goals, expectations. I just wanted us to do well, see where it ended up. It's going pretty decent for us right now. Hopefully we can keep that going.

Q. Kurt, so many times you're on the bad end of Lady Luck. To finally kind of get around everything and put it together and finish second, is this something you guys can build on, the 41 team, for the rest of the season?
KURT BUSCH: Yeah, it was nice to have things unfold in our favor today, even though I brushed the wall and got us a lap down early. The mentality that I've been trying to accept right now is run for 10th, try not to push the car too hard. Anything above 10th is icing on the cake. You just go where you can.
I've been trying to drive it too hard. There's guys like a seven‑time champion who spun in front of me today just because of the insecurity that these cars have when they're side‑by‑side, the way that they're affected by the air.
I know for us, we're not on the positive side of the grip level curve. We're right behind it. So I just need to keep the car at that level. Yeah, we'll try to build on it. It's a matter of just keeping track of the adjustments throughout the race, making sure that we use every set of sticker tires that we possibly can and get the most out of sticker tires. When we have scuffs, we struggle. We're a 15th place car on scuffs.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on your finish today. Good luck next week in Martinsville.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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