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July 15, 2020

Kyle Busch

Bristol, Tennessee

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Kyle Busch, driver of the No.18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kyle, walk us through that All‑Star Race from your perspective.
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, it was all right, I guess. Certainly wish we had some more speed and some or agility in our M&M's Toyota to be able to get ourselves up front, closer to the front. We were making some time, making some spots there a little bit coming to that last 15‑lap run.
I think if I could have got Brad, then maybe restarted where Brad did on the inside lane, I don't know, maybe things would have been a little bit different. I wouldn't have had to pass Brad and the 12. I don't know, I had plenty of time to get there. What am I joking about?
I don't know. That's about all we had. Just feels like running real hard, trying real hard, doing all I can with the four tires underneath me.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor up for questions.

Q. With a short race, only 20 cars, ways it lap traffic that made it difficult to catch the leader or should they just not have traction compound for a race like that where the top groove is never going to come in?
KYLE BUSCH: Yes and no. I mean, I think we could have done without the traction compound and just left it the way it was before getting here, seeing what happened. I don't know that we've run here without the traction compound in the last little bit.
This is the lower downforce package, so you tend to slide around a little bit more. You're going to search for that grip. Guys would venture up to the top. If the top becomes the top groove, then what do you do? How do you pass? That's why we put the stuff on the bottom, trying to get that old‑fashioned bump‑n‑run.
You got to be able to catch a guy to bump a guy. When there's no catching them, there's no bumping them. I don't know what the rest of the space looked like behind me as far as how separated the rest of the field was. It seemed like once we got strung out, it was just strung out.

Q. We haven't got a chance to talk to you too much recently about your season. This race seemed somewhat reflective that you're trying hard, can't quite get there. What has your mentality been like fighting through all this, trying to get speed?
KYLE BUSCH: It's tough. We're struggling right now. There's just no speed in our racecars for some reason. I don't know what's going on. It seemed like tonight, even when we were mired in 10th, I was driving 110% just to maintain where the hell I was, not going forward. That's usually not indicative of us, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota, whatever.
It's certainly been frustrating this year. It seems like any time I fall into a rhythm, I back up myself just a little bit to 90, 95%, I'm going backwards. I'm getting passed, slowing down. You can't run at 100% all the time every lap. When you do, you start making mistakes.
We've just been run into a lot this year, too. When we've had nothing happen, we get run into. Those are bad finishes, as well. I don't know. We can chalk it up to a whole bunch of things.
For lack of a better term is we've got to be faster.

Q. Would you like to see this race continue to be at a short track or would you like to see it go back to Charlotte?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it don't matter to me. It could rotate, that's fine. Charlotte is close to home. It hasn't put on the most dramatic and best finishes out there lately.
Unfortunately for Bristol, with tonight, it didn't seem to produce all that much excitement either. My bad (laughter). We'll have to find something else that will, I guess, keep going.

Q. What was your reaction to how the choose rule worked out for you?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think it was okay. It was kind of interesting how it played out, how a few guys took to it, what it did.
Seemed like a lot of times guys were restarting kind of in their positions, maybe one off here or there, but not a whole lot different. There was a time where I think there was like four or five guys that chose the outside, one guy on the inside. I went ahead and took that inside spot. I think I netted out back even again.
The inside here tonight, for whatever reason, even though the inside is the preferred groove once you get going, it's such a detriment when you fire off. I don't know why. It's just weird.
I thought it worked. I thought it worked well, went well. Maybe we'll see it happen more.

Q. You spoke about your season, how you've been good but not quite good enough. Have you had this kind of season before, feeling before like you spent the whole year one step behind?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, 2014 was really close to this. We struggled super bad when we came out with this new body style, the Gen‑6 body style. We were pretty bad as a company at JGR that year. We won one restrictor plate race that year, that was at California. Rest of us didn't win at all. That was a frustrating season.
Unfortunately I don't have a win yet. But it feels just like that year. I don't know where it's going at, whatever. We do have six second‑place finishes. I think, four, five, six, whatever the hell it is. We've been close a couple of times. Many of the other races we're getting run into.
We've had flat tires, gone two laps down, tried to do the right thing and drive it back to pit road, not drive a caution. It penalizes us in the day. Now I understand why those guys do that.
Other than that, you get run into by a guy that shouldn't be pitting on the same pit lap as you, I think, at Talladega. I mean, I can keep going. No point in that.
We got to fight harder, do better. That's all there is to it.

Q. How did you come out of it in 2014? Did it roll into 2015 before you started to see the benefits of working so hard?
KYLE BUSCH: So when we fired off the '15 season, I was injured. I was watching from home. I was seeing we were still kind of slow. The 11, the 19, the 20, they weren't quite there yet. Then Martinsville, they all ran really good.
When I came back Charlotte time a few weeks later, it started to kind of click, everybody started to go in the right direction. We won four, five times. Then it seems like Matt won a couple, Denny won a couple, Carl won a couple. Started to go there.
It took us a good year and a half to get back up to the top of the circle. I don't know if that's what we're on now. I certainly hope not. It's definitely frustrating. Trust me, it's not very fun where we're at. I know everybody is kicking themselves and trying to do all they can to work harder and be smarter.

Q. You talked about this race ended up lacking the dramatics that a lot of people were hoping for. Was it a case of your car lacking a little bit at the end or was it hard to pass?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, it was difficult to pass for me, for my car. I had trouble. Being back in 10th, I had a hard time being able to make moves and pass guys. Once that outside lane kind of worked a little bit, I got a little bit better at being able to make some moves. Not great still.
I don't know what would have made it better. I was the closest to the 9. Didn't seem like anybody else was going to get closer than I was. It was left up to me to try to put on a race and get there and make it a battle towards the end. I just didn't have enough. I just couldn't get there.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thanks for joining us tonight.
KYLE BUSCH: Thank you.

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