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February 15, 2014
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP:¬† We'll roll into our post race for tonight's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.¬† Our third‑place [sic] finisher is 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski.
Brad, talk about tonight's race.¬† Certainly was a survival of the fittest there towards the latter stages of the race.
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† It was definitely a race of attrition.¬† We survived somewhat till the end.¬† Obviously came up one spot short, which in a race like this is all that matters.
Just kind of the timing of the runs, I thought it was great racing.¬† The cars are a tiny bit more responsive than they were last year.¬† Obviously if the field gets up by the wall, it's pretty tough to make a move.
But all in all I thought it was pretty good racing.¬† This format is great for plate racing.¬† I thought it was a decent night.¬† Obviously if you're not winning in a race like this, it's really kind of irrelevant, none of that stuff matters, so...
KERRY THARP:¬† Joining us now is our third‑place finisher, Kyle Busch.
Kyle, talk about how things went out there tonight for the No.18 Toyota.
KYLE BUSCH:¬† I don't know (laughter).¬† I guess it was all right.¬† We had some excitement out there.¬† Other than that, you know, it was an interesting race there at the end with so few cars.¬† Certainly, the side draft always comes into play here.¬† With so few cars, I think that's ultimately an effective tool to use.
It was kind of dull there early.¬† Single file stuff going on.¬† Started mixing up, got side‑by‑side towards the end of the first segment.¬† Then we saw a big melee that eliminated about everybody in the second part.
For us the M&M Camry was good.¬† Appreciate the guys working on it for me after spinning out or not spinning out, however you want to term that, carrying on and getting to the end.
KERRY THARP:¬† We'll take questions.
Q.¬† How much does this really teach you for the 500?¬† Is this just getting the rust knocked off or is it a real good indication of what we should expect or what you should expect?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† I thought it was a pretty good indication early.¬† The racing that was going on first segment, second segment, till the first big crash happened.¬† After that, nothing to see in this race that you'll see in the 500 hopefully.
But other than that, yeah, I mean, like I said, there was some interesting moments where the inside lane then started going, guys were trying to make the outside lane go.¬† Seemed like more guys were trying to get the third lane going up against the wall, that kind of killed the middle lane a little bit, so the bottom more so persevered, opposite of what we normally see at the top.
Thought that was just interesting how that kind of changed dynamically there.¬† I think it was the second segment.
Q.¬† Brad, the last couple laps, it seemed like all the help you had previously went away.¬† What were the last two laps like for you?¬† What happened?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† Just, you know, a couple cars‑‑ three cars had good runs, the 18, 11 and the 22.¬† The 11 timed his run just perfectly and made the most of it.¬† It's the end of the race.¬† Everybody's taking their opportunity to win it.¬† You can't expect any help.¬† Everybody is kind of out for themselves, as they should be.
Q.¬† Kyle, could you take us through your save.
KYLE BUSCH:¬† Take my quotes from 2012 and cut, copy, paste.¬† Just kidding (laughter).
I have no idea.¬† I don't really know how it all started.¬† I was up top following Logano, or he was coming up in front of me.¬† I kind of tried to go back low and get a run off the bottom of the track to pass him and I got clipped and instantly spun out.¬† Just sort of started doing the same stuff I did then.¬† Lot of brake, lot of gas, downshifting, everything in between.
It always takes about two times to get it kind of squared back up.¬† Once I got going on the apron, I didn't even know where straight was on the steering wheel.¬† I was floating my hands, kind of letting the thing find center by itself.¬† Sometimes you got to let the car do its own job, too.
Q.¬† Will that work on I‑77?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† If there's snow.¬† If not, probably not.
Q.¬† When we see something like that, we ask, How did he do that?¬† Are you ever amazed at doing something like that?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† I was just lucky that I didn't get hit by anybody else.¬† When you start backing back up the racetrack, you get hit again, you're in for a merry‑go‑round.¬† That was a lucky part for one.
As long as nobody ever really messes you up again, you can sort of drive through things, I guess.¬† I don't know.¬† I've done it now three times, I guess, so I've got experience at it where most others probably don't.
All in all it turned out.¬† I was lucky enough to get through it, make it on, carry on through the race, finish third.¬† Just shy of what I ended up last time I did that (smiling).
Q.¬† Brad, your take on the crash that whittled down the field to half.¬† Was it an issue of loss of speed because of the side draft?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† Which one are you talking about?
Q.¬† The big crash.
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† Yeah, I was quite a ways in front of it, from what I can remember.
The start/finish one?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† Logano dumped the 20, so I think you need to talk to the 22.¬† He was in front of it.
Q.¬† Did you have any loss of speed going through there?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† No, not that I remember.¬† I was racing side‑by‑side with somebody, looked in my mirror, there was a big cloud of smoke.¬† I couldn't tell what happened, to be honest.
Q.¬† What has been the effect side‑by‑side in this configuration of the car?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† Well, the cars are different than what they were in 2012 essentially from what they were in '11.¬† To get rid of the tandem, part of that package to do so has made the cars to where they're more side‑draft sensitive, kind of back to what we used to have, the difference being that the cars are less sensitive to the left side than what they used to be.
I think that's why you see all the guys running up against the wall whenever they can.¬† That package has definitely changed the racing here, allowed the cars to stretch out a little bit, which I guess isn't necessarily a bad thing.¬† I think it is a pretty good thing here in this format.¬† I thought we had a pretty good race.
Q.¬† Was there damage at all from the spin or was the bigger concern just loss of track position?
KYLE BUSCH:¬† That is awesome, loss of track position.¬† There were seven cars, right (laughter)?
The nose is pushed way up.¬† I was walking by it when it was on its way to the sticks.¬† The nose was up about an inch and a half.¬† The rear tail piece was half drug, which actually may be an advantage to get rid of that piece, slows it down, that two‑inch flange underneath the bumper.
Other than that, just the nose being up, man, kills it so bad.¬† It just slows it down so much.¬† We pulled some packer on one of those pit stops we came in late, tried to get it back down some.¬† I don't know whether it helped or not.¬† I never felt the splitter touch again.¬† It's not even a backup car.¬† It's got to go back to the shop and get cut all off, yeah.
Q.¬† There at the end we saw some wild racing.¬† Looked like you were able to go wherever you wanted to without help.¬† Is that because there were so few cars?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† The field was so small, I wouldn't take anything from the second half of the race and say you would see it in the 500.
Kind of like Kyle said earlier, it was kind of its own deal.
KYLE BUSCH:¬† Yeah, it's tough.¬† So few cars.¬† The reason we were all racing around, we could go anywhere we wanted to, there was more space.¬† Less cars, more space.¬† Gives you opportunity to do stupid things, I guess you'd say.
That's about it really.¬† You can't make moves like that bottom to top, top to bottom, when there's 30 cars out there.
Q.¬† Could y'all walk us through what you saw when the pace car caught on fire?¬† Seen anything like that?¬† We've seen people steal pace cars, but...
KYLE BUSCH:¬† You were right behind it.
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† When you think you see it all, then you see that.¬† It's just never ending.
We've seen wires, jet driers.¬† I don't even know what to expect for the 500.¬† Seems like we always find the weirdest thing for the 500.
I just hope nobody was hurt.¬† Doesn't look like they were.¬† Whew, that's an interesting one there.
I couldn't exactly tell what happened.¬† I just saw the whole back of the car was on fire.¬† I thought it was a racecar.¬† Someone said it was the pace car.¬† I just couldn't help but start laughing.
What are you going to do? ¬†That's racing.
KYLE BUSCH:¬† I was half a lap behind.¬† I didn't get to see it.¬† I saw the aftermath where two guys were getting out of it.¬† Seemed like they were running for their life, scared of a little fire.¬† Maybe they need fire suits now, yeah (smiling).
Q.¬† Kyle, different race, different circumstances next Sunday.¬† Two JGR cars in the top three.¬† Talk about how strong you guys are going to be, throwing Matt in there next week.
KYLE BUSCH:¬† Denny is on a mission, man.¬† I think he lost too much time last year sitting on the sidelines, so he's got some wins to make up for.
He won last year the last race of the year at Homestead, was quickest in practice by doing what he needed to do to get a quick lap in practice for sitting on the pole for this race tonight, then he wins tonight.
He's on fire right now.
He's good.¬† He's fast.¬† He's ready.¬† I think he keeps saying he feels good.¬† You know, it was nice to see us and the 18 be able to rebound and come back and finish third.¬† Whether we could have more cars out there or not, I'm not sure.
But, you know, a little disappointing to see the 20 have their issues that they had there.¬† Would have been nice to have had maybe the 20 or 10 other cars out there to race with.
But, yeah, I think JGR, as a whole, we were fast here last year.¬† Denny has really shown some speed and some smarts, I guess.¬† He's made some really good moves here in the race tonight.
Q.¬† Can you talk about between practice and the Unlimited how much you're looking forward to the Daytona 500 compared to last year?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† I think you're always looking forward to the Daytona 500.¬† It's the biggest race of the year.¬† It's an opportunity to really put yourself on the list of the great ones if you can win it.
It's an opportunity and something to get excited for, no matter how the cars drive.¬† In this particular situation, I think it's very similar to what we had last year.¬† I think the fastest cars will find their way to the front hopefully with the best drivers in it.
Q.¬† Listening to television, it appears there's a critical viewpoint in the car where you all can't necessarily see.¬† Are they correct in saying that?¬† Is that something you would like NASCAR to look at?
BRAD KESELOWSKI:¬† The cars are hard to see out of, but that's what we get paid for, is to make a hard judgment call in a split second.
I think we have to be wary as a sport of childproofing these cars.¬† They should be hard to drive.¬† They should have things they do that stand out and allow talent to rise to the top.
I'm one of those that's not in favor of childproofing the cars, putting more spoiler on them, more downforce, more whatever.¬† This should be the cream of the crop, the baddest of the bad racecar drivers and you shouldn't have everything handed to you.
When you have all that stuff handed to you, where does it stop?¬† Should we put traction control on at Martinsville so you can push the gas pedal down?
They should be hard to drive.¬† That's why it's Cup.¬† It's elite.¬† I'm wary of trying to fix things that aren't broken.
KERRY THARP:¬† Kyle and Brad, thank you for coming by and good luck the rest of Speedweeks.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports