Q and A with Kyle Busch after closest finish in Truck history
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Traxxas Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 1st
What did you think of the move you made to win the race?
“That was cool. I didn’t want to do it. Man, Aric (Almirola) deserved to win the race and deserved it from last year. I had Johnny (Sauter) pushing on me and I was getting loose through the tri-oval – just trying to stay with the 51 (Almirola). I turned it back to the bottom to try to straighten it back out and I was still loose alongside of him. I thought the 13 (Sauter) was going to my bottom so I wanted to block him. It was just crazy there at the end. I can’t thank Traxxas, Toyota Tundra – these guys do an awesome job here at Kyle Busch Motorsports. M&M’s, Flexco, NOS Energy Drink, Gillette and my good friend Jim Hunter who passed away this morning. Thoughts go to him and his family and everybody. Real proud of all these guys and this is a cool one.”
Did you want to stay behind Aric Almirola at the end of the race?
“That’s exactly what I thought – I was like, I just want to push him (Aric Almirola). I got under his back bumper off of four and we came to the tri-oval and I started getting loose. I thought I had Johnny (Sauter) pushing me so I kind of steered up a little bit to try to save it. I couldn’t go too high because Johnny was going to go to my bottom so I had to bring it back down. I got underneath Aric and at that point you just have to stay in the throttle and keep digging. I don’t even know where the yellow line was. For as loose as my stuff was through there, I was trying to save it and get away from those guys and not spin out. All in all, great job by these guys. Everybody with Camping World and all the great folks – the fans in the stands is cool too.”
Do you feel like the NCWTS owner’s championship is almost wrapped up?
“It’s not over until it’s over. It ain’t over. I don’t know where they are right now, but we feel comfortable with where we’re at and to win today with our Traxxas Tundra and to go to Homestead with Traxxas on board and of course Interstate Batteries at Texas next week and then Phoenix is going to be Z-Line Designs again. It’s going to be cool. We’re looking forward to these last four races and it’s going to be a shootout and a fight to the end.”
Was your plan to make a move in the final lap of the race for the win?
“I know what happened here last year with Aric (Almirola) pushing me to the win. That is all I was planning on. I was going down the backstretch thinking stay behind him, stay behind him. If you get two wide you just make such a big hole in the air for all the guys behind you to get you. I came to the tri-oval pushing Aric and I thought the 13 (Johnny Sauter) was on my butt and I was loose through the tri-oval so I started chasing it up a little bit. Once I got out there I was like, ‘Man, I’m too far, the 13’s going to go to my inside.’ I saw him in my left mirror so I kind of ducked back down and tried to block the bottom. I got underneath Aric and then I beat him to the line obviously. I hate it that Aric went through that, but this was a great race truck right here. This Kyle Busch Motorsports Traxxas Tundra was awesome and these guys did a great job. We didn’t qualify up front, kind of as we expected, but it was fast when it mattered in the race there. We stayed out of trouble and luckily we made it here. This is very cool.”
Were you aware of how close you were to the yellow line?
“I was so busy watching the mirror and the 13 (Johnny Sauter) truck and seeing where he was and trying not to run into the side of the 51 and trying to get away. I was just sideways. The yellow line never even crossed my mind there at the end.”
How was your race overall today?
“As far as our race day goes – obviously it was pretty exciting. In the beginning there we just were kind of hanging out and biding our time kind of riding. We were a little hot so we just decided that we would just stay back there and not worry too much. Once we got to the first pit stop, we took some tape off the grill and stuff like that and was able to get the thing a little cooler for running in the draft. Once we did that, we were just biding our time and working out way up through traffic. Matt Crafton and I worked well together on the outside. I remember the 2 (Ken Schrader) and I worked together on the outside really well a couple times. All in all you really had to be smart up on the outside lane to get the draft to really work and to get up towards the front. Jason White at the end of the race was a really good friend for us and he did a great job getting us out front and getting the lead and just kind of racing with the 51 (Aric Almirola) there and the 13 (Johnny Sauter) coming to the checkers. It was crazy and it was a battle. I was just trying to keep the thing straight and luckily I was able to do that.”
Is this the way driver’s like to win races?
“It’s pretty spectacular the way you come down towards the end and you have no idea how it’s going to play out and then all of the sudden you cross the start-finish line and you’re wondering, ‘Did I win? What happened? Who crossed the start-finish line first? ’ It’s pretty amazing the way this place and the way it races and what happens and how close the finishes can be. You run 250 miles or tomorrow you run 500 miles and the finishes are as close as they are. We remember, I don’t, but I’m sure some fellow people remember back in the 60s or 70s races being finished by a lap – the winner won by a lap or something like that. It’s pretty amazing and for how tight competition is nowadays and what it comes to, but with myself and Kyle Busch Motorsports and our Traxxas Tundra today – I’m ecstatic. I’m real proud of the way the guys worked. We were frustrated yesterday. We didn’t qualify anywhere near where we thought we should have or could have. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get the speed out of it by ourselves that we would like to. Hopefully we go to Daytona in the spring and bring the same piece back or build a new one or whatever and maybe we can find some more speed.”