NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Coca-Cola 600
Topics: Coca-Cola 600
May 30, 2010
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
KERRY THARP: We have our third-place finisher Kyle Busch. Kyle, certainly a good night out there for you tonight with the 18 car. You shaved that points margin from Harvick down to 29 points. Your thoughts?
KYLE BUSCH: My thoughts are, what a night. We had a really good racecar. I thought we were one of the best. I could keep up with the 2 and the 1 in the daylight hours, getting to lap 150 to 200, whenever we took the lead there. But we came to pit road for a two-tire stop, on the exit got tangled up with a couple cars. Missed the first one. Second one I never saw him. He was behind my door. Never even knew he was there.
Tore up the car pretty bad. We had a lot of body damage. It hurt the tow. I don't think the tow was ever right. I had to move my wheel one click on the spokes. We got that kind of repaired. I don't know how great it looked, but we got that going. The handling of the car was really off after that. We were trying to fight through the rest of the night, see what we could get. Salvage a good day.
He would kept making swings at it to try to make it better. Got a third-place finish out of it. Real proud of the guys and Dave and everybody on the team for sticking in there.
I haven't seen Nick, but I'm sure I'll see him back at the track. Ran over him at the last stop leaving. He'll be coming over to the house tomorrow so I'm sure he'll knock me over.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Kyle.
Q. Even though you've had good results, are you a little tired of making comebacks?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, in the Cup cars it seems all I do at this place anyway. I think I finished third the fall race a few years ago in the 5 car. We had to come back from some adversity there, too.
Real proud of the way that we did. I can't say that we could have asked for a better finish. The 2 and 1 were just so stout. They were unbelievable. They were yarding us but two and a half 10ths a lap at least the last run of the race. Lucky to hold off the 5 and the 54.
I don't know where we should have finished, but probably 10th to 12th with what we had. We made some bold moves on restarts. Guys did an awesome job on pit road that got me the track position.
Q. Are the performances an adequate barometer of the chemistry between you and Dave right now? Why has it clicked so well between the two of you?
KYLE BUSCH: I certainly hope so. I think Dave and I have a great working relationship. I did with Steve. You know, things just didn't seem to click as well with him as they are now.
I think Dave has done a really, really nice job. He came into this deal not knowing a whole lot about these cars. He's really gone to work, learned, made a lot of sacrifices. I can't thank him enough for doing it. His family has made sacrifices. He hasn't been home a whole lot.
Pretty proud of the way our results are paying off. This is why you work as hard as you do.
Q. Kyle, you talked about the tow on your car. Was it still a stout enough piece to get you what you got tonight? How big of a boost getting that car fixed were those cautions?
KYLE BUSCH: It took a lot of work to get the thing halfway decent. We worked an awful lot on it, had to restart in the back. I was worried about going down a lap down if the green flag run went long enough.
It seemed like we did a nice enough job at being able to repair the car to keep it on the lead lap to then being able to work on it some more to then being able to adjust on it so we could -- we had some good pit stops, too, which gave us good track position, so we took advantage of that.
Q. Kyle, what happened with Jeff Burton on that last restart? What did Jeff say to you on pit road?
KYLE BUSCH: I have no idea what transpired there. I haven't seen the replay. What I remember was on the restart there, the 33 car ducked low after the start/finish line and pulled to my inside. That forced me to the middle. I was middle three-wide with the 33, myself and the 31. I don't know who else was on the outside there, but we were kind of in between those two cars.
I didn't get a whole lot of room. I was pinching the 33 as tight as I could, trying not to wreck him. I was trying not to get squeezed in the middle with the 31 and get pinched, spin him out. I did the best I could.
I don't know if I touched him or got into him, cut his left rear tire. After the race he was just real mad at me. He said I didn't race him with enough respect, if I'm not going to give him respect, he's not going to show me any. I said, Look, man, last restart of the race. You have to go, make some bold moves. It wasn't me that made it three-wide, it was your teammate. Have a chat with him. I would be more than happy to sit with Jeff Burton and talk with him about it and for him to point out on a replay to me.
KERRY THARP: We have our race runner-up, Jamie McMurray. Jamie, congratulations, great performance out there. Certainly that No. 1 car was up front all night long.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, we had a great car. I was worried after Happy Hour. I didn't feel like we had -- our car had really good speed, it just didn't drive very good. Bono did a great job at making the right adjustments. Put a similar setup in it that we ran in the All-Star Race. Really from the get-go the car was really good. They did a nice job on adjusting it all night long. I really felt like we had a 10th-place car at the beginning, made it about a fifth-place car. About a hundred laps to go, track position, we had the best car.
It's unfortunate that the caution came out. The car had so much speed in it that I was only having to drive about 90%, I was still able to run a 10th and a half or so quicker. The car just had really good speed in it tonight. They did a great job adjusting on it.
You know, I knew whoever came out ahead on that last pit stop between Kurt and I, if somebody didn't screw up, that would be the race winner. It would take me too many laps to run Kurt down. You get within 10 or 12 car lengths, you stall out. I just didn't have enough time in the end.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Jamie and Kyle.
Q. Jamie, during that last stretch, how much was in your mind of the potential for this to be even more historic day for Chip Ganassi, since you talked to him about the race when he got here? Did you think you had anything for Kurt on the last run?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I thought if I could get on the outside of Kurt in the first few laps I would have something for him, our cars were so even for the first 10 or 15 laps. With him being in the clean air, it's just hard to get a run on him.
It was amazing the speed that we were able to run, how much wide-open throttle you ran the first 10 or 12 laps of a run. It's hard to pass when you're running at that speed.
Honestly, I didn't think much about winning today because of Chip winning the 500. He did come on my radio about halfway through when he showed up and tried to talk because he didn't know he was talking to me. I yelled. I didn't know who it was. Then they told me under caution that that was Chip. That was kind of funny. That was a good moment to have with him.
But I haven't seen him since the 500. He talked on the radio a little bit on one of those cautions and really that's all we discussed about it.
Q. Jamie, shortly before you took the lead for the first time you came over the radio and said, You can radio up to the 2 car, tell him I'll be there in a second. Did you have an idea then that your car had become really good at that time? That's unusually bragging a little bit on your part, wasn't it?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, Kevin does a really good job at being very relaxed throughout the races, typically saying funny stuff, will make me laugh. I don't do a very good job at playing that game back. I'm usually very serious.
But, you know, honestly, my car drove so well tonight that I knew if it kept driving like that, it was going to be hard for anyone to outrun us. I was just trying to have fun there. I'm really good friends with Kurt. We're probably going to hang out tomorrow. We live a few blocks from each other, are really good friends.
I was just having fun.
Q. Jamie, can you talk about how much running the Nationwide car has helped you on Sundays.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, I don't know that's actually helped me. We had really fast cars at the beginning of the year and I wasn't running the Nationwide races. But I've had a lot of fun getting to run those. It's pretty cool to get to drive for Dale Jr. it's pretty much his whole family that works over there. It's been a lot of fun for me.
I don't know that it has helped that much. The cars drive so much different. It's a pretty big challenge to get out of the Nationwide car and then get in the Cup car and go back and forth. It takes a couple laps to get used to that. There's so much speed difference. I wish they would take the Nationwide car, take that plate, cut about half the spoiler off so they would drive bad. You just can run so much throttle on the track.
Q. Jamie, earlier in the race you talked about you had kind of struggled getting in and out of your pit box. Obviously that last pit stop you got beat off pit road. Bono came over after the race and told the guys good job. Was it more a matter of getting in and out of your pit box that was the issue? What was the problem?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I don't know about the last stop. I think we didn't have a great stop. I don't think it was that bad. It just wasn't perfect. The issue that I had earlier in the race, the boxes are concrete, they always spray 'em with like Coke syrup or whatever we're using now. Normally they're really sticky, especially when they're concrete.
But my pit stall was really slick, like trying to stop. Then when I would try to leave, it was almost like it was wet. I couldn't get going. I was losing a lot of spots in the pits.
That last stop, I mean, it probably hurt me a little bit, but I don't think that is necessarily what caused us to come out third.
Q. We're halfway through the 'regular season.' How would you assess where you feel you are and what you need to do the next 13 races to maintain or get a spot in the Chase?
KYLE BUSCH: I feel really good about where we're at. I feel we've had a lot -- at the beginning of the year, started out a little slow. Had some 20th-place finishes, teens, stuff like that. Now recently the last six or seven, we've clicked off some top 10, top fives in a row.
We had a win last week at Dover, third place here. Now we go to the summer stretch. Some of the racetracks I don't excel that well, next week at Pocono, for instance. Hopefully we can get some good runs at those places, keep our momentum going of what we have so far this year.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, I mean, every race that we've actually finished without an issue, we've had a top-five car. It's been incredible the speed that our cars have had all year long.
We run second one week and 30th the next. It's just about being a little bit more consistent. Like Kyle said, Pocono is not a very good track for me. Next week will be about getting a solid finish out of it. If that means 10th or 15th, you need to finish there, not screw up, run 30th.
The performance of our cars has been really good. Juan has been the same way. It's just about getting the finishes.
Q. Kyle, all year we've heard about you and Denny, Jimmie being the threats to win the championship. Kurt seems to be coming on now. Can you talk about whether we should consider him a serious threat?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't see why not. He's been running well all year long. They've had a lot of successes so far. They swept here Charlotte. The team's doing well. Steve is doing a good job. Kurt is, too.
I think, what, is that five? That's six. The Busch family has won six in a row since the Nationwide race at Dover. So that's kind of cool. Kurt is a lot better at Pocono than I am. I wish him the best of luck next weekend at being able to win that one. Hopefully we can get a solid run and get a top 10, if we can get one.
Q. Kyle, championship teams are usually made out of overcoming adversity. You're a guy that likes to win. How does a night like tonight, can you take the confidence from this and move forward, when you were in 20th, 25th, with a car that was pretty much junk, and came back to finish 3rd?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, these are the nights that championships are made of. We've protected ourselves tonight, got back up through there, got a good, solid third-place finish out of it I'm happy about it. I'm not dissatisfied at all that we didn't win tonight's race. I would have liked to have. But didn't have a car capable of doing it after we got caught up in that wreck. Frustrating we were really good early. Part of what happened tonight in 600 miles, beating guys out of the pits coming in. Unfortunate we had that circumstance. The M&M car was fast. Got it back going well at the end where we could come up through there and finish well.
Q. Jamie, can you talk about the chemistry between you and Bono.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Yeah, I mean, Bono was my most pleasant surprise coming to EGR. I didn't know him. I parked next to Martin over the last few years. I knew Bono from the Busch Series at the time. I had seen him interviewed on TV. I didn't really know him. I didn't realize how much our personalities were alike.
He's become a really good friend of mine. I don't know. We just seem to think alike. I feel like I do a really good job of listening to the crew chief and the engineers talk. When I feel like I need something with my car, I'll suggest that. Kevin, when we sit in our debriefs after practice, he doesn't talk a lot. He's just like, I want you to talk and I want to listen, feel you out. He sits back and he just listens to what I have to say. Usually he thinks about it for four or five hours, I'll call him later on and ask him what he's thinking.
He does a really good job. The thing that I like the most about him, and Kyle would like this, is that Bono in his spare time works on his racecar. When he has an extra 30 minutes or extra day off, he works on his modified. He just loves racing that much. This is his life. He's a racer. You know, I'm the same way. I've got like a little kart shop. When I have spare time, I work on my go-karts. We just are a lot alike. That's been the best surprise for me coming over here.
Q. Kyle, when you did have your contact on pit road, you got a speeding penalty coming off. Did you know you were going to have to come back to pit road and you were trying to get back as fast as you could and it didn't matter or did you lose track?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it was pretty much we were coming back anyway. I just let her eat, try to come around. We were going to get caught up before we got to pit road anyway. I was trying to get caught up so I could get in behind those cars and get my train of thought on what was going on and tell the guys exactly what I felt, see that the steering wheel was off, communicate as much information to them as I could so when we got back there they could make some changes.
KERRY THARP: Guys, thank you.
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