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June 27, 2021

Kyle Busch

Coy Gibbs

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Press Conference

An Interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race winner, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Minis Toyota. Also the Joe Gibbs Racing vice chairman and COO Coy Gibbs.

We'll get right into questions here.

Q. Kyle, can you talk a little bit about the four-car pack you were in. Did you know how much fuel you were saving? Did the draft help a lot trying to make it to the end?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, so we were in that pack. I was kind of a little bit farther behind of it than I wanted to be. I thought we were too far back. I tried to close in once, then those guys stretched it back out. I fell off, tried to close it back in again. That time I was able to kind of stay closer, more attached. I felt like I was doing a good job saving fuel while doing all of that.

I thought I did a better job of saving fuel when I got closer to them. As much as they were rolling out of the gas, I was rolling out of the gas out down the straightaways. We were all saving. If we were laps ahead of them on fuel, we were either going to be let go earlier than them and race it out to the finish or we were just going to be more beneficial to being in the draft, being back in the draft.

Q. Coy, talk a little bit about your son Ty, his progression so far.

COY GIBBS: It's probably the good genes he has that we handed down (laughter). I was a terrible driver. Kyle can testify to that. You were young when I was coming up.

KYLE BUSCH: I was 16.

COY GIBBS: They actually banned you, right?

KYLE BUSCH: That's right. Glad you remember that (smiling).

COY GIBBS: It's been good. You don't know how good anyone is until you stick 'em up in there. We probably would have changed what we're doing, what he's racing this year, if we knew he could run that good. It's been a pleasant surprise. I'm obviously happy for him, proud as his father. It's fun to watch him grow.

Q. Kyle, during the course of the race, with the transmission issue, when did you regain confidence to come back and win?

KYLE BUSCH: You don't ever really know. But when we left pit road, that was it, like the clutch was gone. There was no more. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to make it down pit road again and be able to leave with just my guys behind me pushing me. Even when I left the last time, it was smoking. I don't know what was smoking, but probably the clutch because the clutch was fried, was smoking.

Fortunately we were just able to get back around, get the restart timed right, then just kind of start picking 'em off. We knew we were going to be close. We came down the last time to top off to put us within a lap, lap and a half of being able to make it to the end. I think I've been in that same situation here a few years ago. We ran out of gas on the last lap coming out of turn two. We weren't able to win.

It was a little bit of I guess vindication that we came back from that one to be able to win this one. Just kept fighting through it. I mean, when you're in all those different positions and situations, have you no clue what's going on around you. The crew chief can kind of tell the story, and the spotter can tell the story. They were. I was asking them to tell me the story because at first they were like, It's just you and the 23 that's going to be able to make it. All of a sudden, Now the 11 is going to try to make it. Now the 5 is going to try to make it. Now the 1 is going to try to make it. Guys, c'mon, give me the facts, the story. Now the 24 is going to try to make it.

A lot of guys were stretching it, trying to see if they could make it. This place is so big around. With this aero package being so draggy, you can't really lift early getting into the corners and save fuel. It's very, very hard to do. We were fortunate enough to be in that right position, being in the fourth spot of that draft.

Q. Kyle, have you ever had a previous instance when you're stuck in fourth gear?

KYLE BUSCH: Not that I can recall, uh-uh. No.

Q. You were singing on the radio a couple times. What is your karaoke song of choice?

KYLE BUSCH: (Chuckles) Yeah.

COY GIBBS: Be careful.

KYLE BUSCH: Well, it fits well with what's on my chest here, Slim Shady.

Q. How badly do you feel like you needed this weekend? It's been a good stretch, but to end the Hendrick domination, to go second yesterday, first today, what does it say about where you and your team are?

KYLE BUSCH: Well, this is a really, really good place for us. We've been fortunate to be fast here since probably since 2014, '15 time frame. We've carried that on through to today. We have a really good baseline package of what we know how to work off of. As the aero packages change, the tires change, all that changes, you have to change a little bit, as well, too. Our guys did a really good job of coming here with fast stuff. Same thing this weekend. We were fast.

The Hendrick cars were still faster. Yesterday for sure through the corners. Never really ran with them, raced with them much today. I guess I did with the 24 a little bit when I was stuck behind the 3. He couldn't pass me either. Again today we were pretty quick.

Overall this is a good place for us. We like coming here and having good runs. Last week was not so good for us. We did have that flat tire that knocked us all the way back. Still I don't think we're going to finish much more than 12th-ish anyway.

Q. You went to a local dirt track last week. What was it like finding a dirt track on the road?

KYLE BUSCH: It was fun. Friday night we went over to Snydersville. Well, back up. He didn't have any racing this weekend so we were like, Let's find him more racing, I guess (laughter). That was a dad thing. Pulled some strings with mom.

But called Hirschman. Tony Hirschman is from around here. Asked him about calling around, seeing what tracks were available, if there was a car available. He did that with a promoter at Snydersville. Fortunately we got that guy, he still had his car. He was ready to sell it. He thought he had it sold last week. Fortunately we still had it this week.

We went over, got fitted, got him ready to go. Finished second in his race Friday, then finished second twice again yesterday. I finished second twice yesterday. The Busches came up here with a lot of seconds. We did not want to leave today with another second. Fortunately it worked out for us.

Q. Any part of you that enjoys the challenge of fuel mileage racing?

KYLE BUSCH: Yes and no. It's stressful, that's for sure. Like you just don't know. I mean, there's so many variables, so many unknowns. Some of the guys, like even me, as we're going down the front straightaway, I wish I could clutch it. I didn't have one. I probably could have done a better job saving fuel. I was lifting off the gas and the thing was sitting there going (whirring sound) instead of being able to clutch it.

Yeah, I mean, that's how fuel mileage races are. It's fun to a point, especially when you come out on top of it and you do it right. That makes you feel good. There was one other fuel mileage race last year, yeah. Texas, that's how we won at Texas. That was a good one for us. Same today.

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE BUSCH: Thanks (laughter). Right? Fortunately if you look at the metrics, I think we had the fastest car. We did have that over them at least where we had the fastest car. It was just a matter of being in the right position at the right time.

I could have beat 'em yesterday, but Kyle Larson didn't push me far enough into turn one. I think the 12 pushed the 48 farther. That's how he got slid up in front of me. It's racing. Racing is racing.

Q. When you have a crew member in your car with you, do you ever think it's a lost cause?

KYLE BUSCH: He was going to work. I was leaving him alone. They said, All right, Nate, go out. I said, Wait, you don't want to go with me? That made him get out a lot faster (laughter).

Fortunately he's not a small guy, but he did a good job, what he needed to do. We couldn't get it done. I guess he didn't do a good job, but he did fine. He got the boot cut out of the way, tried to get the thing unstuck. Had to have been internal if the shifter mechanism wouldn't come unstuck. It had to be something inside.

We'll take that back and look at it.

Q. Were you worried when Denny ran out of fuel?

KYLE BUSCH: No. We knew he was a lap, lap and a half worse than us. So when he ran out, did he run out? When did he run out?

COY GIBBS: Two to go, right? Yeah.

KYLE BUSCH: I know he came to pit coming to the white. I don't know where he ran out at. Anyways, I saw him come off of three, turn three, lower when I got to his outside. That was him peeling off. When he peeled off, I was like, Okay, well, if I can make it at least one more lap to this point, I still have four seconds behind me, I think I can make it to the line before they catch me. I felt pretty good at that point.

Q. How do you feel about going to Road America next weekend?

KYLE BUSCH: I'm looking forward to it. I went up there last week, got some practice laps, never seeing the place. Ran around there in some sports car type stuff. Got some good seat time. Hopefully that all kind of pays to what an Xfinity car will be like, what a Cup car will be like, and I can be good.

Anything for Coy? We'll let him go then.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coy.

KYLE BUSCH: He's bored. He's got a plane to catch. Don't keep the old man here longer than you have to (laughter).

Q. I have one more for Coy: As far as sponsorship goes for Ty, still a blank car right now, what is that situation like? Is that more of just waiting to get offers for what he's proving he's worth right now?

COY GIBBS: I was hoping Kyle would step up, but that hasn't happened (smiling).

No, it's awkward when you have a limited schedule. You don't know how he's going to do. You're not pushing it real hard. You miss the budgets, you miss all the dates. It would something we're pushing pretty hard next year on. Hopefully we can get some money on him.

KYLE BUSCH: Fortunately he's not like his dad, he's got great hair. Maybe they can go sell Sports Clips for him and that can be a full-time deal. See, I know how to do this. I'm not upper management. So I don't make those calls.

COY GIBBS: I think they took one coming up.

KYLE BUSCH: See. I'm not the only one that thought of it.

What else?

Q. Coy, for Ty coming in second, falling just a little bit short, do you feel like his confidence is shaken or has it gone up a little bit?

COY GIBBS: I drove and I was terrible. I had no confidence ever. But I think you get to a point as a driver where you know you're good enough, and then it just becomes do we have the right setup, do we have the right equipment? I think he's kind of getting to that point where he slipped up once, let Cindric by. That probably was it, honestly. So he can go back.

I don't think he stresses out about it like he used to when he was younger - maybe.

KYLE BUSCH: Like three months ago (laughter)?


THE MODERATOR: Coy, thank you for taking some time with us.

We'll continue with questions for Kyle.

Q. You were catching the 11 quick before he ran out of fuel. Looks like it was going to be a heads-up fight before he ran out. Were you confident you were going to be able to get that pass done?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we were really close. We have kind of mirroring each other. I could gain on him in turn two, kind of stay equal to him in three, then he would get a little bit on me getting into turn one just because I felt like I was trying to still save a little bit being behind him. I could kind of let him throw it off in there. He would really push off at turn one, so I felt like he was going to burn his front tires up with the remaining laps left. Hopefully I could get by him, get a chance to get by him.

When we went down from two to three coming to the white, we went from two to three, I had a run-on off of two, and was looking low and then he blocked low, and I went back high, and he really didn't come back to block up high. I threw it in on his outside. I was like, All right, this is it, I'm going to take it.

He was coming to pit road, so... I don't know if he just positioned himself low, so then I didn't block his opportunity to get to pit road. That might have been what went down there, so he was already out. I had no idea that was going down.

Overall once I got my quarter panel, my front fender to his quarter panel, that's kind of when I knew I had him.

Q. Having Brexton and Samantha here for a win in 2021, how does that add to the celebration?

KYLE BUSCH: No, it's cool. We get the opportunity to spend weekends together for a little bit. Obviously Brex is kind of on his own racing career, if you will, a little bit, doing some go-kart stuff all the time. This was an off weekend for him, but we still found some stuff for him to do. We were up till midnight on Friday night, up till 1:00 in the morning yesterday driving home. Giving it our full effort that we could. He did a good job.

So he had fun. All these kids at the racetrack have a good time with another one, play with one another, racing against each other. So it's fun to see that. I never had that as a kid growing up.

Yeah, so just having the families back is good. Earlier today some of the M&M's family was here. We hung out with those guys, their kids and stuff. Brexton got to hang out. They're all the same age. They got to hang out, so that was fun.

Q. Your overall impression of the doubleheader concept here at Pocono? Can you give me something on Tony Hirschman and his role with you and today's victory?

KYLE BUSCH: Doubleheaders? My personal opinion with as much as the schedule has kind of changed over the last couple years, what all has been going on with different racetracks and such, fans' reception to coming and supporting some of those racetracks, we don't need to go to any racetrack more than once. You know what I mean? Spread the wealth. That's my opinion.

I like how we're able to take a date from Dover, go to Nashville. I don't know why we don't go to Chicago still. We go to Atlanta twice. That was dumb. I don't know why we don't go to Kentucky. Apparently that governor is pretty pissed off. That wasn't a smart move.

Just going to these places, you still want to be able to spread the wealth around a little bit. I mean, Kentucky, I can see where the fans might be a little upset about Kentucky is the traffic situation the first year was really bad. As it fizzles out and everybody figures it out, it will get better over time.

Texas, I don't know how many guys were at Texas for the first few at Texas? That thing was horrendous. I'm sure Dustin was there. It was quite interesting, just the horror stories. I wasn't there, but the horror stories you heard about it.

That's my opinion. We should go to every place once, find a couple more places we can go to and spread the wealth.

Second question was about Tony? He's terrible. He sucks (laughter). I don't know how he's made it this long. Every September time frame, he always texts me and says, Hey, man, are we still good for next year? What is that supposed to mean, are you quitting? No, I thought you were firing me. Well, I was close.

No, he's done a great job. Hirschman and I, we've come to understand each other. When I had my bad days, he takes it with a grain of salt, let's it roll off the back. That's always good when you can have guys like that that don't take it personal or anything.

He does a good job. I like Tony. Tony is a racer. His dad, his brother Matt is obviously one of the superstars in the modified ranks, kicks everybody's butt every time they go somewhere. Good to see all those guys still be successful all the time.

They raced last night. How did he do?

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE BUSCH: Matt didn't do good? I take that back. More times than not he's winning. Fun to watch those guys.

Tony is good help, a good resource, a good guy to lean on. Probably is one of the reasons why I lost here yesterday in the truck race. He spotted for John Hunter. That pissed me off (smiling).

Q. Do you have to do anything in the car, drive with one hand? Can you describe the process with what you have to do when you have a bad shifter like that.

KYLE BUSCH: The first thing that happened is I was rolling around under yellow, scrubbing my tires getting ready for the restart and it popped out of gear. I was like, okay, that was weird.

I put it in third; third was fine. Put it back in second; second was fine. Put it in fourth, and it popped out again. So I was like, Well, damn. I don't know if I'm going to be able to run around here the rest of the day and hold this in. It took some brute force to hold it back in.

When we took the green on the restart, everything was fine. Shifting gears, getting it into fourth was fine. I'm holding it down the backstretch, getting into turn two and chaos ensued. I got loose. I don't know remember what all happened in that moment. I came out of two. I'm like, I can't do this, I have to let go. I let go of the shifter, I started making laps, everything was fine, it stayed in gear.

The next caution comes out. I go to hit the shifter just to see what's wrong, what's going on with it, it's stuck. Like it's welded in fourth gear. It won't wiggle, won't move, nothing. I was like, Okay, they were like, Come down pit road. Yeah, what pit road speed? We don't have pit road speed for fourth gear. I was like, What do you want? I don't have lights, I got nothing.

All right, do 2500. I don't even have a readout that says 2500. There's a bar graph basically. It just floats with a green light on how much rpm you have. I watched that as close as I could. Tried not to speed. Larson was pushing me, he was behind me on that one. I was holding him up a little bit, but I didn't want to speed. That was it. The rest of the day it was locked in.

I don't know if it was better that it was locked in than me having to hold it. Maybe it was. I don't know.

Q. In a weird way could you say the transmission problem won you the race because you were on pit road a little extra time to get the fuel tank topped up?

KYLE BUSCH: No, absolutely. We would never have been in that position if we didn't have the trans stuck. When we came down for the green flag stop, I tried to exit pit road, it was really luggy obviously. I lost tons of time doing that. Then when we came down that last time to top off, that was it. Like, the clutch was gone when I left. It was smoking, it was burned up, there was no more left in that.

We got all we could get out of it with everything that was going on right there. But you're right, yeah, it put us in the perfect spot that we were topped off. We were like, Look, put as much gas in it as we can, pack it full, we're going to run it out of the rest of the day. Even if there was another caution, we weren't going to come down pit road. We were going to have to see what ensued.

Q. You mentioned earlier in the race before your shifter issues on your radio, then in Victory Lane, about how fast you thought your car was today. Do you feel you guys have made a lot of progress over the last several weeks?

KYLE BUSCH: No. Like I said earlier, this is just a really good place for us. We have a great baseline here. This is a track where we can come here, feel good about our setup, baseline, everything we got, and be quick.

I don't know that the Hendrick guys can say the same thing like that. They haven't been fast here in a while. Obviously they were better, they were faster this time around. But this was a good chance for us to stack up as good as we can be and as good as they are, and see what happened.

We were right on par with them. On a 10 out of 10 scale, if they're a 10 fast, we were a 9.95. We might have been a 10, they were 9.95. It was really close.

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it tells you you better be better at hitting your setups every else you go. You know what I mean? We still had a little bit of an issue this week that I kind of feel like we always have. We don't -- I don't know how to say this without giving it all away. We don't use all four tires as good as we should. Denny and I have talked about that for a couple years, kind of complained about that. I feel like the Hendrick guys have always had the mechanical grip, but now they've also gotten the aero grip, engine, mechanical. They've got all three parts. I feel like we're still just a tick off on the mechanical.

Q. In a sport where 10 days can seem like a long period of time, it had been 50 days since anybody other than Hendrick had won. What was it like to get some validation in a period like this?

KYLE BUSCH: Well, I mean, we won. We got the victory. It was a fuel mileage race, granted. I felt like we were fast. We won it because of a fuel mileage situation with our transmission being what it was.

But I have no idea what the front of the race looked like after we took that final green flag. Was it the 24 car that was out front leading the thing? I mean, who was it?

Q. (No microphone.)

KYLE BUSCH: There was a Hendrick car that was going to win, right? Or looked poised to have victory without being short on fuel. I don't know that we necessarily outdid them anyhow. We were just a little better situation than they were.

Nobody is going to think the race is going to go green till the end, top off their tanks with one to go unless you're in the back. You're not going to give up that track position. That's just how it played out.

Q. Today Bubba Wallace finished fifth, first top-10 finish for that organization. He's in the meetings with you guys. I don't know how much you talk with him. He's a guy that certainly we've seen his confidence go up and down. What do you think a finish like this means today for them?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think that's good. Any time you're able to run good, have strong finishes, finish up front like that, that's going to build your confidence a little bit, tell you that you can do it.

Like I said before, though, it's just a matter of getting closer and having -- you can't always have a perfect race car, but getting closer to that 10 out of 10 type race car that you can have at the racetrack. That's what is going to give you success, put you in those positions.

Yes, he's in our meetings, he's in there all the time. When we talk and stuff, especially earlier in the season when they didn't have much communication yet started, he would say, Look, I had a four out of 10 car today. I had a six out of 10 car, seven, whatever it might have been. I bet you we get in the meeting tomorrow and he's going to talk highly on his car. That's going to be a step in the right direction for that bunch, for sure.

Q. Talk a little bit about Tony Hirschman's role with Kyle Busch Motorsports. What has he brought for your organization, for the younger drivers?

KYLE BUSCH: He's just a good teacher, a good driver-spotter, if you will. Some of these young guys coming up through, they don't know no better. Having a spotter up top that has that experience, that has that information that know-how, to be able to tell them to block the run that's on the bottom, get in front of the guy up top, pass this guy on the outside, whatever it might be. Sometimes the spotter has to drive the truck, car, whatever it might be.

Tony does a good job with that. He lets you know a lot about what's going on behind you. There's a lot behind you that helps you go forward these days. Just the way the engine packages are and stuff like that.

You're almost looking as much out your rear glass as you are your front glass to make speed these days.

With all that being said, Tony is a good one. I've had him for a long time. I feel like when I got him, he was pretty good, like pretty well-versed. I feel like him and I, we've definitely built a relationship over time that's also transferred over to some of the other guys he gets to run with.

Last year he's always on the full-time truck of ours on the truck side at KBM. This year he's with John Hunter. I don't remember who he was with last year. He was with William when William was really good. He was with Christopher when Christopher was good. He's kind of always that go-to guy, our number one spotter guy for KBM.

THE MODERATOR: Kyle, congratulations on the victory. Thank you.

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