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November 15, 2019

Kyle Busch

Homestead, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We'll now welcome to the stage the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series owner champion, and that is the owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports, Kyle Busch, who won his record extending seventh NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series owner championship tonight. He won in the 51 truck with the driver Christian Eckes who will be part of the program next year.
Maybe we'll start there, had an exciting announcement the other day that Christian will be in that truck next year. How is it that you continue to find these outstanding talented drivers that continue to climb up the NASCAR ranks?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't know, we just keep trying, keep doing. Obviously with the amount of support and everything that we've got from Toyota and TRD and those guys, it's really an opportunity of a lifetime to have a Truck Series team as competitive as we do, especially with the amount of work force that we do with Rudy Fugle and Mike Hillman, as well as Marcus Smith‑‑ Marcus Richmond, excuse me. I'm thinking Chandler Smith.
But overall, just everybody works so hard at the shop, and they do such a phenomenal job, especially Rudy, of being able to lead and really keep our program on top and on the next level of superstardom and being able to continue to help these young drivers along and being able to get them to the next level.
Obviously we know Harrison is moving up for next year, and we've got Eckes coming on board for full time, and Raphaël Lessard as well too. So really excited about those two guys joining our program and having an opportunity to go out there and try to win some races and continue on up through the ladder.

Q. Obviously the pit call was critical to getting the third‑place finish and securing the owner's championship, but were you impressed with the way Christian was able to stay out front there on the old tires for as long as he did?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, absolutely. I thought they ran a great race, and Rudy is one of the best at being able to execute some pit calls and some strategies throughout any sort of race.
We've kind of seen that a little bit earlier this year, as well, with Biffle at Texas and myself in a few instances, as well. He's no dummy; that's why he's won this owner's championship for us at least four or five times. I know Eric Phillips was a couple of those times.
So it's pretty special to be able to continue to do that. Rudy is awesome. But Eckes did a really good job of running a smooth race today and being able to keep ourselves in position and not getting too flustered throughout the event, and to come home with a solid third‑place finish will get him some really good feedback and good notes for what he needs to do here next year. Well, we don't come here for a championship race, but you get my point.

Q. Kyle, to follow up on your comments about Christian, do you feel like he‑‑ I don't want to say proved the whole point, but proved something tonight, being able to run right in the mix with the Championship 4 guys going into his full‑time season?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, definitely. He ran a good season in the ARCA series and was able to come out champion over there. He's gotten some good experience at the mile‑and‑a‑halfs and he's gotten some good experience at Pocono, Talladega, Daytona, so he's been on some of those bigger speedways. I wasn't sure how he would run here, given Homestead is kind of unparticular of mile‑and‑a‑halfs, if you will.
Obviously he took to it real well. I know him and Rudy worked really hard on being able to come here with a good baseline and some good notes of what the last couple years have been with that truck here, with winning the race and the owner's championship for us with William Byron and then last year being oh so close with Noah.
So it's been to where I feel like we've got a good baseline here, but I haven't raced here in such a long time, I really don't have a full understanding.

Q. And I know obviously a lot of the attention goes to the driver's championship, but as a team owner, for you and really to the organization, what do these owner's championships do for KBM as a team and what do they mean to you?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I think it shows our depth. I think it shows our ability to be able to go out there and still be successful no matter how many different drivers we have behind the wheel of our trucks.
This year, for instance, on the 51 you've got Christian Eckes, Brandon Jones, Alex Tagliani, Greg Biffle, Chandler Smith, the Herbst kid from Vegas, and some idiot who drove four races named Busch. It's pretty awesome to have Rudy and those guys to do such a good job with that many different drivers and to go out there and get solid finishes with many of them, Tag finished second, Biffle won, Herbst was third. I think Chandler was best finish of third, Jones was second, Eckes, I think he got a second or a third. Third today, obviously. They were all successful in that truck.

Q. I guess that's your key as you're talking about Rudy and all them taking‑‑ helping with the team. How much pressure does this team, running this team, put on you as a driver? Because obviously it takes away from what you need to do on the track for your own self and your own career. Is that the key is having those guys in place to help take some of that pressure off, because obviously you've got a winning combination.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it is. You know, years ago when we started it, there was some different personnel around and stuff like that, and Rudy came along and Rudy kind of grew into the system. Rudy understood the system when those other guys went off on different ways. Rudy handles a lot of the day‑to‑day, but all the crew chiefs do. They're all in charge of their own teams. Hillman and Richmond as well as Rudy. And then you also have Wes, who does a really good job of handling the shop and all the shop guys and whatnot that he does, and the ability of just being able to orchestrate a lot of stuff behind the scenes as well as our CFO, John Fuller, who is really, really in charge of being able to make sure that we keep the crew chiefs in line with spending, because we know money buys speed, and those guys can certainly spend money, especially when it's not their own. I've learned that really, really well in this business. Just like I want to spend Joe's money, you know.
Having the driver's side of things and also having the ownership side of things gives you a really good perspective about what this sport brings. It's really interesting, all those different dynamics. But I wouldn't say that I take a whole lot of time away from my real job. I try to focus 99 1/2 percent at least on that and allow the guys at KBM to do a good job of what they're good at.

Q. What is your opinion on a driver winning a championship in this format without winning a race during the season?
KYLE BUSCH: They did what they needed to do under the format the way that the format is. We almost saw it here in 2014 with Ryan Newman. I guess he was going to win the race if he beat Harvick.
But yeah, it's just points do still matter, which I think is‑‑ to a lot of the fans' dismay of this format, you still have the format of old with points matter all through the season. So it's a good blend of what the playoffs used to be when they had the 10‑race stretch.
I remember being in the 10‑race stretch and having two bad races and being done, like gone. It didn't matter what you did through the first 26 races. Now you have a good blend of the whole season, and each race actually does matter. But it most matters in this one.
ROSS CHASTAIN: Same thing. He did what he had to do.

Q. Kyle, you mentioned Greg Biffle. Matt's win was the first for a 4 driver since Biffle won his title in 2000. How cool was it to have him contribute a little bit towards the 51's owner's title this year, which kind of started on a whim and actually ended up being a sizable contribution.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, how many points did we make it into the final 4 by, do you know? Did we make it by less than five points, because it would have been Biffle's points, right, that got us in? It was only one point. So anyway, Biffle's win got us into the playoffs because my wins mean nothing.
So obviously I was pretty smart in that selection and going to Texas. Didn't have a driver and just decided that an old retired guy might actually be able to get the job done, and he did.
Hats off to Biffle and being able to win that race for us. He did a really good job. You know, obviously excited about the opportunity to go race for another owner's championship this year. And to be able to come out on top‑‑ it was weird how we were looking at the driver lineups and when we were coming down to the final of the season and we were like, well, Eckes is going to be our guy, and I'm like, Eckes is going to be our guy? But he did a good job executing today and just ran a great, smart race and kept us in position, the position that we needed to.
But thanks to all the drivers that I mentioned. Without them and their ability to score points for us and get us to where we needed to, it wouldn't have been possible, so they all did a good job.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Kyle, and congratulations on the record‑extending seventh owner's championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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