May 2, 2021
Kansas City, Kansas
An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Ben, walk us through that run on the 18 car from your perspective.
BEN BESHORE: Yeah, the M&M's Camry today had some good speed. Felt like we were a second-place car with the 5 car all day to be honest and then Denny got around us sort of midway through the -- I guess to start the third stage there, and we were kind of stuck in third, but Kyle just did an amazing job in the last couple of restarts there of taking the lead and then keeping it on the last couple.
Awesome day for Joe Gibbs Racing and everyone back at the shop. Really put a good car out there and Kyle made the best of it there at the end on his restarts.
Q. An observation, it seems like the team has had more speed off the trailer in recent weeks than maybe it's had at various points this year. Is that a fair observation or assessment?
BEN BESHORE: Yeah, I think maybe Phoenix and Homestead early in the year we weren't our best, to be honest. I felt like Atlanta, Martinsville, Richmond, we had a lot better speed. We did a better job of being in balance right off the truck. Without practice here, it's tough.
The engineers did a great job this week of once again hitting the balance really well. We had to adjust on it most of the day to kind of keep up with the track conditions, but felt like we had speed off the truck, just not quite there with the 5 car yet, but the way the circumstances worked out, it turned out okay.
Q. How much easier does it make it for you where you're not having to play catch-up after the race starts and you guys are kind of behind a little bit but now you're starting races and you're relatively within the ballpark?
BEN BESHORE: Yeah, I mean, honestly that's a huge deal. The field is so competitive that if you're a little bit off on balance and it takes you three stops to get there, to where you need to be, you lose your track position, you're not getting stage points, and it's sort of a ratcheting effect of the back. It's tough. It's so important to unload hitting your balance right and having speed in the car at the same time.
Q. When you're on a team like Joe Gibbs Racing, the expectation is to win. How much pressure do you feel to win, and how much pressure does it take off with a win today to get the win and now you guys can kind of start focusing on the playoff perhaps?
BEN BESHORE: Yeah, absolutely. It's a big deal to win. It's a lot of pressure to win. We're expected to win. When you've got a two-time champion like Kyle Busch, you expect to go out there and run up front in the top 5 every race and just be there at the end.
So yeah, it was a big deal.
And then the question about the pressure being off for winning and locking ourselves in the playoffs there is huge. We can maybe experiment a little bit later in the season or just go for some more raw speed type stuff. But it was huge, and it's a lot of pressure off, to be honest.
Q. As you mentioned there's a lot of pressure that comes along with being Kyle Busch's crew chief. Have you felt that so far this season, and are you guys where you expected to be going into the year?
BEN BESHORE: You know, I'd be lying if I said I wanted to wait until the 11th or 12th race and that being our first win. I would have liked to fire off a little bit better and maybe get one earlier, but it didn't work out. But we got one here today, so really excited about that. Really happy for all the guys on this team that put in a ton of work to get this car as fast as they can. All the preparation back at the body shop, the chassis shop, just a huge deal for all those guys. It was good to see all the Joe Gibbs cars up there and having speed, and happy we were able to come away with the checkered flag.
Q. 12 races in, I've got two questions about Kyle. What has surprised you most about him?
BEN BESHORE: I don't know if many things surprised me. You know, I worked with him for four years as his race engineer, so we've had previous relationship. We've had some Xfinity races together as crew chief and driver. Honestly, I don't think there was a lot of surprises there. I knew exactly how he is, he knows exactly how I am. We're both extremely competitive and expect to go out there and compete for wins every week.
It was tough not getting one until the 12th race, but happy we're here right now.
Q. One of the things he said on the frontstretch, he said that the ups and downs of racing, the ups and downs of life, he and Samantha have had some downs, does that ever creep over into the racing? Is that something you guys have to address as a race team, or does he keep it separate?
BEN BESHORE: No, that's all separate. That's his personal life. I know every time he straps into a car that he's giving 100 percent, so I don't ever feel like he's off a beat because of other stuff going on outside the track. This is his main focus. He's always locked in every week. I don't feel like that's really been a distraction. Maybe it's been a motivation to him. I'm not sure. But we haven't seen a different Kyle Busch when stuff goes bad or anything like that. He's always a hundred percent driving the wheels off the thing every lap.
Q. Do you feel more relief or excitement with this win?
BEN BESHORE: A little of both. I'd say 50/50. Extremely excited, especially for my team to be able to come out here and grab a win and lock ourselves in the playoffs. Relief at the same time to prove that we can do it, that we have the speed in the cars and we can go out there and do it. We weren't as good as the 5, like I said earlier, but we were there at the end, and Kyle didn't make any mistakes and had some great restarts and was able to pull it out.
Q. Obviously you saw where NASCAR waited for everybody to complete their green flag pit stops before throwing the caution for that tire on the infield grass. Are you good with that? It seemed they waited a little bit longer than they typically do, but I guess my question is are you good with it, and do you feel like you have a handle on when NASCAR would throw it and when they won't?
BEN BESHORE: I feel like lately they've been consistent with that kind of stuff where they let it cycle out. It's nice that they do that because it's not an unfair advantage to the guys that short pitted and somebody just let a tire roll out. I think what they did was right. I was happy with the call. We were ready in case they threw a caution, but to be honest with you I was expecting them to keep it out until it fully cycled, especially with only a handful of laps there left. I didn't feel like it was a safety hazard by any means where it was. It was so far away from the racetrack.
I think if we were at a different track or say Atlanta and it rolled out from pit stall 40 and was 12 feet from the racing surface, then that's a different story. But where it was, I thought it wasn't a safety issue.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports