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October 28, 2020

Kyle Busch

Fort Worth, Texas

THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thank you for taking the time to join us. Congratulations on the win tonight. Can you walk us through your run and kind of how you're feeling right now?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it was obviously much needed and very much a lot of relief, as well, too. For me having the opportunity to continue that win streak was certainly high on our list, and when you fall out of the playoffs and you've got nothing else to race for, that's all you have to race for is trophies and getting wins for the rest of this year, and it feels really good to be able to come here to Texas and score that win. We haven't been the best on mile‑and‑a‑halfs this year but we've been working on it and strategizing on things that we can do to improve and it was nice to see some of that in that fruit pay off tonight.

Q. The satisfaction of winning, how would you describe it and compare it to other wins in terms of the feeling?
KYLE BUSCH: Really it kind of felt like a championship win. When you're at Homestead and you're racing around on that final run and every little thing that can go wrong you feel like is going wrong or every creak of the tire you think you've got a flat tire when everything is fine.
Today was one of those days. We had to save fuel that entire last stage. The beginning of the final stage, we were saving fuel there towards the end once Bowyer had to pit, and then after the pit stop, the entirety after the final pit stop I was saving fuel, as well, too. So there was a lot on my mind and things that we were trying to do and accomplish, obviously, with trying to stretch it.
And then the other thing was just the amount of things that can go wrong will go wrong type stuff that goes in your mind, and we had a rubber fire that was in the cockpit of the car. It happened‑‑ it was pretty much the whole final run. If it was a 50‑lap final run it was there for 40 laps. It was just a rubber fire that would light on fire and pretty much smoke me out, like I don't know if I'm going to pass the CO test, but we made it, so it all doesn't matter now.

Q. Since it's still 2020 I was pretty sure you were going to run out of fuel on the last lap.

Q. Obviously you didn't, and you spoke about the relief. What does this do mentally for you in these final weeks to wrap up the season?
KYLE BUSCH: I told Coy when I was on my way into Victory Lane, I said, I'm done, I'm good for the year, I'm retiring; I don't need to go next week or the week after, I'll just sit home.
But no, I mean, that's how much relief it felt like it was. It was just like now the‑‑ I mean, I wouldn't say that‑‑ obviously when you got knocked out‑‑ we got knocked out of the playoffs and going through this Round of Eight, typically there's pressure. You know, you have the pressure, the pressure builds through every round, and the Round of 12 for me was like the Round of Eight. I knew that we had to do everything right in order to make the Round of Eight being like our Final Four.
But we obviously weren't good enough. We weren't able to capitalize and do what we needed to do. Now that you're out, you pretty much have no pressure, you just go out there and you race and whatever happens happens. But when you're able to run up front and run with those guys, you've still got to push hard, you've still got to do things right. Skittles, M&M's, Interstate Batteries, Toyota, all those guys, they want to see us successful, they want to see us win, and it means a lot to be able to continue that winning tradition with the 18 and with Adam and all of our guys, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. They give full effort, man. There's no quit. But it just hasn't quite lined up for us this year.

Q. You have a little bit of momentum going into Martinsville and I know you just said you're done for the year, but that's not who you are; how do you focus now on such a quick turnaround because it's like an NFL team playing Sunday and going to Thursday for you guys.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it is. It's a quick turnaround, but man, it's way more stressful for the team guys than it is for the driver. I'm looking forward to it. I felt like through the middle part of the race once we got everything sorted out from the start of the race there in the first Martinsville, we were pretty good. We ran lap times comparable. We actually ran with the 19 for much of a couple runs, and I was just trying to stay out of his way because he was on the lead lap. So I felt like we were as good as he was. He obviously won the race, so I feel like there's a chance that given if we can make it through the first set of tires without going a lap down, then we'll be okay, and I think we could have a shot to win there, too.

Q. There's been a lot made of the fact that there hasn't been practice this year and that that may have played a part in the struggles this season. You guys got 52 laps on Sunday; did that‑‑ do you feel like that did play a role in where you guys were able to figure out where the car was Sunday and use that information for today's race?
KYLE BUSCH: No, not really. Yes, some, sure. The first run of the race we were off. We were really loose and banging off the splitter, so we came in and we put packer in the front end, and then we sped on pit road, so we restarted in the back and then we tried to make our way back up through, and restarts were killing me. I just could not do restarts very well. I had a lot of tire chatter just felt like the tires were cold, they wouldn't go and wouldn't fire for about eight laps, and then once we got everybody all single filed out and I got clean air on my car and I could run the lines that I wanted to run and control the stuff that I could control, then we were able to drive up through the field and get ourselves back up towards the front.
It just took a little bit, but we were still on the splitter there for the finish of the first stage, as well, so we put more packer in the left front to start the second stage, and that's when we rolled, man. We went right to the front and we were running second there and then Truex I think ran out and we were able to get by him on the green flag stop there before the end of the second stage and win that stage and lead the rest of the way.

Q. Kyle, what do you think it means for this team to‑‑ I don't know if you heard Adam said that he thought you guys had the best car, but to finally win with the best car and win in a way that it was Adam in some ways coaching‑‑ not coaching but kind of suggesting fuel mileage, a full kind of team effort?
KYLE BUSCH: No, you can call it coaching. That's perfectly fine. I mean, that's what it was.
When you're a guy behind the wheel, you need that constant reminder of being able to lift early, and there's not a whole lot of saving fuel in this era we're in right now because there's so much throttle‑on time that any little bit of throttle lift is two, three tenths. So really being able to find the draft and find other cars and do things‑‑ Tony was a big help to do all those things, to be able to save the fuel that we needed to those final two runs was huge. Having Adam there to kind of help that, he's obviously got some data that he's looking at that he can see as far as the fuel savings are going. I even came on the radio and asked one time and said, hey, with what I'm doing, am I doing okay, do I need to do more, what does it look like, because I know they've got tools. He said, just keep doing what you're doing, so I was like, all right, well, what I'm doing must be okay, at least, and fortunately it was‑‑ man, it was just enough.

Q. I'm also curious have you talked to your Truck Series drivers at all about the way you want them to race Martinsville after the kind of fireworks of Texas?
KYLE BUSCH: They're all kids, man. They all come up in late models and K&N and door banging and beating the hell out of each other every series they run in, so they might as well keep doing it in trucks. That's what's going on right now. Rhodes is just as guilty as they are in his earlier years, no question. He has certainly mellowed out and has done a better job as of late, so he if wants to help be a mentor to some of those kids that are just coming in for their first year, I would take that approach.

Q. You mentioned the 16 consecutive years of wins now, but you joined some big names. Drivers always say they look at that last win because they never know when the next one is coming. How important is it to keep that going, and do you look at wins differently than you did maybe early in your career?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I say that‑‑ hmm. I guess for me, the opportunity of being able to continue the win streak is huge, and I say that because there's a lot of people that put the pressure on me, on us as the 18 team that we're known‑‑ we need to win. We should win. We have to win.
All of that stuff kind of weighs on you a little bit, but to be honest with you, it just‑‑ they're right. I'm not self‑touting. I have been told by many a folk that I'm one of the best here, that's been here, and to have that opportunity with myself and my team and the people that are around me, to go out there and win races, it makes sense. Like you should be able to win a race, races every year that you're out there for a long time to come.
Obviously every great thing I guess must come to an end eventually, but man, I'm only 35. Like I feel like I've got at least 10 more years left in me. There should be a great opportunity for this streak to go for a long, long time, and that's why it's been so stressful and has not felt very good to have this dry spell.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the helmet and the auction and what that's going to?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, so thanks. The Bundle of Joy fund, obviously the Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy fund is our charity that we have that we raise money for couples that are going through in vitro fertilization, IVF, the same thing Samantha and I had to go through in order to have our son Brexton.
And so we ‑‑ every year I do a Halloween‑themed helmet. I've done Frankenstein before, we've done some other Disney characters and some other stuff, which has been really fun, thanks to M&M's, they allow me to do that. And this year I just did a theme of‑‑ because we're all guilty of it, especially during quarantine, especially during the last three days here in Texas, we're all guilty of just being zombies on our phones, so I kind of came up with that theme of an idea of just kind of making fun, poking fun to the quarantine and everybody being on their cell phones these days.
Anyways, we're raising money with that helmet and it's now a winning helmet. You can buy your tickets for $18 a piece at the BundleofJoyfund.org or you can go to KyleBusch.com. There's a link there for people to donate and enter for their chance to win.

Q. There were fans in the stands at Texas and they were either cheering for you or that you guys finally got this race in and the rain stayed away. This win has to be a really rallying moment for you and Adam?
KYLE BUSCH: It was. It definitely was. It was great to have the fans out here. I appreciate their support. There were a lot of M&M's jackets I saw. There was four or five kids lined up against the fence and gave a couple of them high‑fives there, so it was cool that they came back out and supported us on Wednesday.
I know it's not in the best of conditions, but those are the true warriors that come on out here and support us in 40‑degree weather. That's pretty awesome. Really appreciate them. There were some jeers, obviously. There are always going to be. So it is what it is, and they're not going home happy, but the M&M's ones are.

Q. You finished in the top 3 ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and your future teammate in Christopher Bell. How excited does that make you for the future of Joe Gibbs Racing?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it's really cool. I take that back. I feel like crap. The 19 needed to win a race, obviously, in order to move on and punch their ticket to the Championship Round, and I'm that guy that spoils it for them, and that was one of their best mile‑and‑a‑half runs that they've had this year, just like our best mile‑and‑a‑half run this year, arguably.
You know, I'm thinking of that as we're coming down to the finish, too, but I'm like, I've got to win, man. Like there's obviously no team orders and we do things straight up and as fast as we can be, we've got to be. Obviously it sucks for them, and I did think, too, that they can be really good at Martinsville, so hopefully they can go out there and do well, maybe win again. I'd like to win Martinsville. It would really suck again if he finishes second to me, but that would be 2020, wouldn't it?

Q. Prior to the season it seemed like you winning multiple races was as certain as death and taxes, that you expect nothing less from yourself and even in victory you're always thinking of ways‑‑ how can I do this better. How humbling have these last few months before getting this win tonight, how humbling has it been to you, and will you savor this win a little bit more than some of the others that you've had in the past?
KYLE BUSCH: Not really, no. I'm not going to savor this one any more than any of the others. It's time to move on and think about Martinsville and get ready to go and what we need to do in order to go there and win. Just because we've been on a dry spell and we've had some bad luck and some things that haven't quite shaken out for us, this was the first true race that nothing happened.
Even on the restarts, as bad as some of the restarts were, I was like, ugh, here we go again, but just rode it out and we were able to work our way back up through the traffic and get up towards the front. Certainly it feels good when you win any time. But I'm not going to celebrate this one any harder thinking that it's my last. I've got to go into next week thinking we can win that one.

Q. I just want to ask you, obviously you and Kevin Harvick are close together on the wins list. You guys have been racing close with each other over the years. Just kind of speak to the on‑track relationship and I guess off‑track relationship you've had with Harvick over the years.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, obviously he made a big step in the win direction this year of catching up and passing myself. Obviously he's a student of the game and has done very well over the years, especially with SHR and getting over there and being with Rodney Childers. Those guys have certainly become a force to be reckoned with. Each and every year we fight them for wins, we fight them for championships. They're very, very good at what they do.
You know, Harvick's earlier years at RCR, obviously we never really saw eye to eye. We liked to fight a lot, and ever since he's kind of moved on to SHR, things have been different. I'm not sure as of why, but we both have grown up over time, and we both now have families and children and things like that, so it's cool when we're able to see them kind of together and us be together a little bit off the racetrack.
We were at the go‑kart track one time, Keelan was there, Brexton was there, they were hanging out and talking and stuff like that. It's cool to get back on at least the terms of being able to race each other competitively, race each other hard but yet race each other clean.
We did that a few times today; I got a run on him, passed him, he gave me room. He got a run on me, I gave him room, he passed me. So there's a lot of guys out there, man, that they'll just get right down on your door and they'll pack air on you or they'll just do dumb stuff and play games really hard, and some of us more veteran guys will chill on some of that for more of the race than the others will. But the name of the game is definitely different than what it was years ago.
Just good to have good relationships with more drivers than not.

Q. I know you said that you guys didn't have race‑winning speed for the last few weeks in the past, so today was there one specific thing that changed that, be it strategy, raw speed, or was it just one of those days where it all came together?
KYLE BUSCH: No, we had raw speed today. That car was fast. Whatever it was, we've‑‑ the guys did a great job. They brought some good stuff here this week.
I think we saw it with myself, the 19, the 95, the 11 obviously got damage at some point, I'm not sure what happened to the 20.
You know, the overall top 3 was Gibbs cars, Toyotas, so maybe there's something there that we can look at and try to study and work on for next year.

Q. A lot of people have questioned the combination of yourself and Adam. What message do you think it sends in getting that win today with regards to that?
KYLE BUSCH: That we can do it under any situation. We can do it under pressure situations of racing for a championship and winning the final races at Homestead and bringing home two championships there, we can do it in the Coke 600, we can do it here when we're knocked out of the playoffs and people would say that we've got nothing to race for, but we come out here and we're able to win.
There's all kinds of different circumstances and different opportunities for us, and I'd like to think that we can be successful for a long time.

Q. Now that you've got the monkey off the back, so to speak, outlook for the next two weeks and possibly getting another couple wins before the year is out?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, absolutely. That's what we're going to push for. We want to go to Martinsville and run up front, try to win that one, and same thing, go to Phoenix, let's spoil the championship party and not see the champion have to be the winner.

Q. Before we sat through all the rain in Texas, I know you had to sit through more rain out there with the late model down at Five Flags. First of all, there were the logistics of this week like, and since they ran that, do you think you'll get the late model out again early this year or next year?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I guess I brought the rain with me, sorry, everybody. Yeah, we were in Pensacola there and we got practice in, we got qualifying in and the radar looked fine for the evening, everything was good and all of a sudden a storm popped up and rained us out, so I wasn't able to race. I was looking forward to it. We got qualified second, so I felt like I had a pretty good race car over there. I was looking forward to that.
As far as coming back for the derby or something like that, I don't know, I really wanted to run that race to see whether or not we were going to be decent enough to race the derby, but I didn't get that opportunity. I'll have to rethink it and see what's happening.
Obviously there's a lot of change going on with people at KBM as well as some things that we've got to make sure that we've got enough cars and parts and things like that for the people that are going to be racing our supers down there anyway, so we'll see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. We appreciate it. Congratulations on the win, and we'll see you at Martinsville.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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