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October 29, 2017

Kyle Busch

Coy Gibbs

Martinsville, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We have now been joined by our race winner, driver of the No.18 M&M's Toyota, Kyle Busch, and Coy Gibbs, who's the director of race services at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kyle, we'll start with you; obviously congratulations on the win today and officially clinching your spot into Homestead. Talk a little bit about the race, how it played out, and ultimately being able to come home in Victory Lane today.
KYLE BUSCH: It was a good day for us. We weren't great, but we just kind of kept ourselves running up front all day long. Awesome pit stops kept us up there, as well, too, and being able to have a really good M&M's Toyota today, it was ‑‑ I thought there when we got the lead that it was going to be our day the rest of the way, but it just wasn't meant to be. We just kind of lost a handle on it there right at the end of stage 2 and just wasn't quite able to get it back. A couple of those other guys really got good going there at the end, Brad, the 22, the 24, and so it was just chaos kind of there at the end and just what all has happening with those restarts, so you just kind of had to stay on your toes and try to keep your nose clean, kind of try to stay out of trouble, and fortunately we were able to keep our back bumper clean and clear and then race for the win there on that last restart with the 11 and was able to bring it home. Real proud of all of our guys, our whole team, and being able to get ourselves another opportunity to go race for a championship here this year.
THE MODERATOR: Coy, for you, just talk a little bit about what it means to the team to have Kyle and the No.18 team locked in for Homestead and kind of how your organization will approach the next couple weeks.
KYLE BUSCH: Don't give away all the secrets.
COY GIBBS: No, we're obviously really excited, not only for our family but just for Joe Gibbs Racing and obviously for Kyle and Mars, all our sponsors. I think it was‑‑ you look back on the year, there's so many times when Kyle was the fastest car and we didn't win, so this is kind of reverse for us, but we'll gladly take it. It locks us up into the Chase, so we'll move forward with that.

Q. Kyle, after watching how relatively calm yesterday's truck race was and then really the first 300 or so of this race today, is it always kind of in the back of you guys' minds that the chaos that happened at the end is a possibility here, and are you in a way‑‑ is it a good thing for you that you got to the victory but really don't have anybody mad at you leaving here?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah. That's not the norm for me or what? (Laughter.) Typically I try to race well, try to race clean, try to do a good job to leave here with not too many people mad at me. But we kept our nose clean all day long. It was a great opportunity for us to have a fast race car. We just kind of ran first, second, third, fourth all day long, and was going to probably finish fourth, except there was a couple opportunities there at the end where I was able to find a hole, and the 22 kind of closed it there getting into Turn 1 and a lot of things started happening there, but then the 24 and the 11 getting into it with one another, the seas kind of kept parting for us and kept opening up for us to be able to get up closer to the front, and we were able to take advantage of that today.
Just really anxious, I guess, to race for a championship again and excited about that and being able to go to Homestead now and not necessarily have to fret over the next two weeks. You know, we'll focus on the next two weeks and being able to go race for wins still in order to kind of keep everybody on their toes and everybody worried about whether they'll get through on points or not, but we'll see what happens.

Q. Denny said he didn't think you'd move him, but all is fair in love and war when it comes to Homestead. Is it fun to race with that seeming to be the case? Is pretty much everything fair when it comes to this system?
KYLE BUSCH: Life ain't fair, bud. What's fair and what's not is irrelevant. I just think that when it comes down to the end of the race and you're racing for a win like that and you see the white flag waving and the door kind of cracks its way open a little bit, you've got to put your foot in there and go get it. That was our opportunity to punch our ticket to be able to go to Homestead, and Denny thought the same thing racing with the 24, and obviously I kind of moved him out of the way, didn't crash him or anything like that, and was able to go on and get the checkered flag today.
Great for our team, great for Joe Gibbs Racing still to have a car solid and in at Homestead. The 11 still has got a great shot. They've got speed, they're fast each and every week. Look forward to seeing them get their way through it, whether it's Texas or Phoenix, and hopefully we can have two cars there at Homestead like we did last year with myself and Carl.

Q. How fine of a line is it between moving somebody and wrecking somebody because Denny said that he was trying to do the same thing that you did to him or that Chase did to Keselowski, try to move him up the track, he ends up wrecking Chase. Is it when you guys are trying to move to somebody, are you on the edge of wrecking? How close is that?
KYLE BUSCH: It depends. When you're racing somebody like when I was on the inside of Denny getting into Turn 1, I was all over the brakes and I got some wheel‑hop and got loose and kind of washed up into him and kind of moved him too far out of the way. I didn't want to move him that far out of the way, and then it kind of gave the 78 the inside on me. So that wasn't my intent down there. But down in 3 and 4 coming to the white, when that door opened a little bit, I stuck my nose in there and he was on his way back down to kind of diamond the corner, if you will, and I just didn't allow him to have that diamond on the exit, you know, so you had to get in there, rooting and gouging a little bit. It's Martinsville; it's racing. Our car was relatively clean for much of the day and we were able to win it.
It's a tough balance sometimes. You've got to know who you're racing, when you're racing, what you're racing for. All those sorts of things go into play. I think we all kind of understand what the situation was, which is obviously win and you go to Homestead. Fortunate for us to have that.

Q. Times change, the aero package has changed, but how much will it help that you've gone through this experience and come out on top with the last winner‑take‑all race at Homestead?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it's going to be a tough race. It's never easy. All the Championship Four are going to be fast. It is every single time we go down there. It's crazy to look at it today how many of the championship guys were right up front in the top six, top seven.
That's just kind of the way this business is when it comes down to the end of the season. The cream will always rise, and those guys will always be a part of the race and be a factor.
We go to Homestead not knowing who our other three compadres are yet, but I feel as though the 78 will be one of those, and whether or not the 11 can be another one of those, and if it's going to be the 2 or the 4 or whoever, you know, maybe even the 24 or the 21 for as fast as the 21 was at Texas, who knows. I think it's kind of wide open to see how that's going to play out for the rest of the playoff contenders.

Q. When the wreck with Denny and Chase happened, the fans were going "dirty." Do you think that was dirty?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know, I haven't seen the whole entirety of that crash. I just saw it from behind, and I couldn't tell whether or not he was there or wasn't there. I'd have to reserve my comments until I see it.

Q. Were you surprised that Logano didn't pit, or did it look like‑‑ when his tire was rubbing, or did it look like he was able to hang on somewhat decently?
KYLE BUSCH: I was surprised. I mean, when it's rubbing that bad, you know you've got about five, six, seven laps. I think we saw with McMurray here in the spring, he had the same thing happen to him. What's crazy is I actually smelt it go from rubber to cords and knew it was coming. I knew he didn't have much time left.
I hate it that all that stemmed that way, but when you're racing for a championship like myself, you know, you put yourself in that spot down the front straightaway three wide, and they all kind of came down and crowded me, and I then was hard on the brakes to back out of it, but ultimately it's too late and they didn't give enough room to me, so we all kind of got together there, and then I was back on his inside again after he got it all gathered back up, and he just ran me in the grass again.
You know, it's just kind of crazy that he don't have anything to lose; I have everything to lose. So it's just a product of racing here and coming down to the end of the race at Martinsville, you're trying to get all the spots you can because you know that each and every little point is going to be important.

Q. Does it matter that Brad could have won, and then all this crazy stuff happens‑‑
KYLE BUSCH: No team orders, not on with that one.

Q. You were right behind him, right?
KYLE BUSCH: I think I was just in front of him. I had just passed him, yeah, so I was in front of him when finally I heard caution was out.

Q. Would you have expected one of your teammates to pit if they were not in the playoffs in that situation?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, I think we've all got to be smarter for our company, you know. Certainly I think Logano lost his opportunity, lost his chance to win. I think they're not really racing for anything, if you will. Obviously they're racing for spots and points to be as high as they can, but when you've got to look at the greater good of the company, I would like to expect that our guys are smart enough to do that. Right, Coy? (Laughter.)

Q. Coy, Kyle came back from injury, won the championship two years ago; now he's got another shot to deliver you guys a championship. What have you seen grow in him since he came back a couple years ago into the seat, and how important has he been to the organization just from an overall strength standpoint the last couple years?
COY GIBBS: You know, I wasn't there a couple years ago. I didn't get to follow it all the way through. My brother was still here and my father. I didn't see that side of it. I've just seen this side recently since I've been over here, and obviously he's extremely important to us, our organization, our family, and he's a phenomenal driver. It's perfect. It's what we want. You want a bunch of them if you can get them. But Kyle is‑‑ I remember sitting next to Kyle when he couldn't race a truck race because you were too young, and I was like, good, now I don't have to race against him.
But no, it's obviously‑‑ he's been great for the family, a great partner, a great person to work with since I've been there.

Q. How did the complexion of this race change from the beginning with it being overcast to the sun coming out to transitioning to being under the lights?
KYLE BUSCH: There was a lot of transition today. You know, I thought when our car was the best was there when the sun was out. We were leading, the sun was out. I don't know whether the ambient temp raised at all, but maybe the track temp did a little bit with the sun being on the track for the 30 laps that it was. You know, but after that it just started cooling down, and it just started getting worse for us. I do better here when it's warmer out than when it's cold out for some reason. I'm not sure what it is. But we've just definitely got to continue to work on that and make ourselves better in colder degree temperatures.
When we were here during the test, it was mid 80s and we were flying. We were fast. We were really, really good so we were really excited about coming here, and we showed some of that speed yesterday. We were really good. Everybody was kind of focused on us and looking at us as being the best car, and then it cooled off and got cold and we were only fourth place. There's something that I'm just kind of missing here when it's cool out, and I've got to figure it out.

Q. Kyle, going to Texas next week, I know the tracks are completely different, but is there anything that you can do at Texas that may prepare you guys for Homestead as far as setup or anything during the race that you guys can do?
KYLE BUSCH: No, not really, because Homestead is a relatively old surface now. It's wearing, getting some age on it. Texas being a fresh repave the last time we were there‑‑ I heard a lot of the color has kind of come out of it, so it'll be interesting to see what the racetrack looks like when we get there next week. But it's not going to be close enough that we're going to have enough to be able to learn and set up anything for going into Homestead. So we'll not really focus on too much of what we do in Texas to worry about Homestead. We'll just do it one race at a time here until we get there.

Q. Obviously with the lights, a lot of work has been put into that. We hear about the LED lights having no shadows. Did you experience any of that today with the lights?
KYLE BUSCH: I thought when the track transitioned from day to night, I thought everything was good. I didn't have any issues at all with the lights coming on, finishing the race under the darkness. I just think that Mother Nature didn't really help things with us for as cold as it was today. Yesterday was awesome. It would have been nice to have raced with a warmer day for all the fans and everybody in the grandstands. You know, maybe one of these days with schedule realignments and whatnot, we'll come here sooner in the year and we'll have a full‑fledged night race, so we'll see how that goes.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, Coy, congratulations again, and we appreciate you guys spending some time with us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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