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October 21, 2018

Kurt Busch

Kyle Larson

Kansas City, Kansas

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our second‑place finisher, driver of the No.18 M&M Halloween Toyota, Kyle Busch.
Run us through the day. All kind of seemed not as intense as we had anticipated.
KYLE BUSCH: It was a good day for us. Just had to make sure we had a solid day here to make sure we got into the next round, being able to do a good job of that.
This is a mile‑and‑a‑half racetrack, which is Texas and Homestead. It's important to be good at these places, especially here I feel like because it's getting more similar to Homestead, closer and closer to there. Of course, also with just Texas being a fast mile‑and‑a‑half, there's some tendencies that are similar.
Good day. We had a great race there at the end. We were trying to chase down Chase. We were close. Got kind of there, then just the car died out, didn't have any more to go. I was afraid that was going to happen. Good day for us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kyle Busch.

Q. Were you surprised at all that Chase was able to improve so much during the race?
KYLE BUSCH: Do I care about the 9?

Q. You should.

Q. Because he won here. That means he won here, you're racing mile‑and‑a‑half's, that makes him a contender, right?
KYLE BUSCH: Okay (smiling).
He was really good here when we tested here. We knew he was going to be a force to be reckoned with. He didn't feel like he was going to be here before the race. I spoke with him a little bit. He was leery about how his car was. I told him he was going to be fine.
It looked like our cars were similar to one another, just as similar as they were when we tested here together.
It didn't surprise me he was that fast. I don't think it was necessarily us getting our cars better throughout the race as much as it was track position played a role. It was so hard to pass once everybody got around the top and rolling the wall.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by the third‑place finisher, Kyle Larson, driver of the No.42 McDonald's Trick Treat Win Chevrolet.
The question I asked Kyle is take us through the day.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, it was a good race for us. We were really loose. We kept tightening it up until we got to a good spot, where I could run the wall comfortably. Once I was able to move up, have some sort of security up top, I was better.
But still short runs, halfway through the run, it would finally tighten up, and I could go better. But track was so fast. Even the runs where I felt like I was good, can't make up any time. Everybody's quick. When you're faster, somebody gets stuck.
Held Kyle up for like a hundred laps just running hard (smiling). I think the cool conditions just made it kind of tough to pass today.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.

Q. How would you describe the intensity and the pressure that comes along with this Playoff format?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, I don't know, maybe not in his position because he's got so many bonus points. For the teams that start the Playoffs with not many Playoff points, you're already at a pretty big deficit to those guys. You know you have to be perfect.
Stage points are so important. That's just kind of where us as a team weren't able to get really any stage points. We didn't have any stage points until today. Only one stage out of the six stages.
Can't really expect to make it to the next round without being up front all race long. So that's kind of where our round went wrong.

Q. Kyle Larson, you had to come from all the way back through the field. Did that change your mentality, make you more aggressive knowing you had to get out of here with a win to advance?
KYLE LARSON: I don't know. The races are so long, you don't do anything out of the ordinary when you start in the back. You try and take it, be patient.
Coming from the back like that, able to be aggressive, get to 15th or so pretty quickly. Then you're starting to get to the faster cars that are hard to pass.
I was able to get a couple good restarts that helped us out, a couple decent green flag pit cycles, too, that helped us out. I don't know. It's not like it's a short race, we have to be crazy aggressive.

Q. Are you disappointed? Are you angry? What is your feeling? You've been knocked out in several different ways. Today coming in, you knew it was going to be a Hail Mary.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I don't know. I'm actually glad that nothing stupid took us out of the Playoffs this year. We had that battery come out at Dover a couple years ago. Blew up an engine here last year.
I mean, obviously I would have liked to have made it into the next round. But I'm glad it wasn't anything other than just us not performing where we needed to be that kept us out of the next round.
Just trying to figure out how to make our cars better. Try to figure out this new package we're running next year, try to be prepared, good all season long.

Q. Kyle Busch, you said you needed solid day here to advance. Once you knew you were locked in after the second stage, do you get more aggressive, feel freer?
KYLE BUSCH: No, we just ran a pretty typical race. Our car was there. Like Larson said, once you get rolling around the top, it was just so fast, it was hard to go anywhere else on the racetrack to make passes and moves and stuff.
When we tested here, I don't know, a month or so ago, we tested the top a lot because we knew that was kind of going to be a place to be. I felt like we were one of the best cars up there all day long.
But the problem is when you get to the next guy in front of you, you're running the top, he moves up in front of you, there's nowhere for you to go. You can't dive bomb to the bottom.
When I came off pit road, I was trying to race nice with the 42, save my stuff a little bit. Once I got by him, I still tried to save my stuff, not rush to get up there. It just didn't materialize anyway. The 9 just had way too much of a gap on us that we couldn't overcome.

Q. If you would have gotten to the 9's bumper, how would you have been able to pass him?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know. Too many people hear me, then I won't have that surprise factor again. I can't tell you.
I have no idea (smiling). Might have come down to lap cars, who knows.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys, for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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