1st – Kyle Busch and Coy Gibbs (JGR Manger)
2nd – Kevin Harvick
Kyle Larson – Dominated race
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, happy birthday to you, and sweeping the weekend in the Buschy McBusch Race 400, how satisfied are you?
KYLE BUSCH: Obviously very satisfied. We had a strong car. We ran up front all day. Dropping the green flag, we were heading towards the front, so that was definitely a confidence booster, and just kept trying to make little adjustments to the car all day long in order to get it to where we wanted it there closer towards the end, and nothing was really hitting on it and making it better, but the final two adjustments definitely were a positive for us. Didn’t necessarily take us from a third-place car to a winning car, but all the restarts and circumstances did, and got us in the right position when we needed it.
THE MODERATOR: Coy, from your perspective, this has to be a really satisfying day for you, as well. First you had Ty winning yesterday in the ARCA Menard’s Series race, and then Kyle bringing it home today. How satisfied are you after this victory?
COY GIBBS: That was a great weekend. It’s great to see Kyle win. We’re ready to get back on track, and it’s been a while, but I could feel it, him and Ben are clicking, so we’re looking for a lot more.
Q: Kyle, 17 seasons now, you talked about the importance of winning a race every year and the history behind that. You’re now tied with David Pearson, one behind Richard Petty. What does that mean to you?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it’s cool. It gives me chills. I don’t know if I just got a chill from the air-conditioning or actually hearing that.
It’s meaningful. It’s a huge accomplishment. I feel like any accomplishment that’s still out there that’s able to be achieved to get it is something to be honored with.
Being able to do it 17 years now and hopefully go on into 18, 19, 20, whatever it is, there’s definitely not very many things that you’re going to beat The King at, that’s for darned sure. Hopefully we can continue that tradition and then make sure that we get to 18, get to 19 and so on.
Q: Coy kind of mentioned, Kyle, about you maybe clicking off some wins. Do you feel like you’re on the verge of rattling off a bunch of wins or do you feel like you guys still have some steps to go?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I feel like we still have a little bit to gain, especially at the 750 tracks. I wouldn’t say that we’re the best of where we need to be on that stuff. We have definitely gained a ton of ground on the 550 package, so I feel really good about that. That was definitely a push through the off-season and what we learned late last year in order to get ready for this year.
That’s been a confidence booster as well as a team morale booster with many of us being able to run closer up towards the front.
You know, like I said, the 750, though, we’ve got some work there. We’ve got some ideas of what we need to do to work on, but next weekend is another test of that.
Q: I assume you know NASCAR kind of let the green flag pit stops play out while there was a tire sitting in the infield grass, sat there for about 10 or 15 laps. Are you good with them kind of letting everybody get in their pit stops before throwing a caution for something like that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think everybody getting into their pit stops and everything kind of cycling back through and getting back to zero is a good call. I would go with that all day long.
I just don’t know if pit cycles were done and then we ran 10 more, or if pit cycles were done and we ran like two more. If that’s the way it was then I thought that was a good call.
Q: First off, on the final restart, kind of curious if you expected Brad or Kevin to make a run on you, especially with the fact that they had fresher tires?
KYLE BUSCH: You know, the biggest thing that I was hopeful for and that happened was getting Truex behind me. Having my teammate behind me I felt like was going to be a huge added bonus for us. To wave him on when it was time to go, when I was going to go so he could push me and get us clear going into Turn 1 and then those guys on the outside kind of got crossed up, so that gave us clear track from there on. With just two laps to go in these cars and the package you’re able to just hold it wide open as the leader you’re just trying to cut the draft as much as you can and still to make corner the way you need to make your corner, and if you can run the bottom and wrap the bottom really tight to the white line then those guys have to go higher than you, which is just a longer way around and it’s harder to make a pass up there.
The tires won’t equal out until probably 10 or 12 laps, so I knew that we had plenty of — I guess, short amount of time left.
Q: Winning on your birthday for the second time in your career, I’ve got to ask, what’s the party going to be like tonight?
KYLE BUSCH: I don’t know. You know, I’ll tell you what, I give a lot of due credit for the marketing people at Busch beer. They do an amazing job, so it’s pretty awesome to win the Buschy McBusch Race with Kyle Busch, and I’ve always told Kevin Harvick he’s one of the biggest Kyle Busch fans because he wears my name on him every single week. So it was nice to beat him today.
Q: I know Bob asked you a question along these lines last night, with the IVF struggles and everything you’re going through. Obviously we’ve all watched the videos; it’s extremely painful for you guys what’s going on, and then you’re able to come out and sweep the weekend. How do you process all that? How do you prevent that from crossing into your racing and not letting it affect you? I imagine it’s on your mind quite a lot.
KYLE BUSCH: It is. It certainly is. Samantha and I, we obviously talked last night on the phone before bed and was talking this morning again before they were going to the racetrack with Brexton.
You know, it would be nice to have them here, but I just was cool with Brexton going racing. Samantha really wanted to be here on my birthday and I was like, it’s just another day, don’t worry about it, go have fun with him and take him racing.
Overall it’s definitely on your mind, in the back of your mind. I wouldn’t say I necessarily thought about it racing, during the race today, but obviously getting out of the car, winning, it being my birthday and Jamie Little kind of mentioned the fact of your racing has kind of been a little bit of a struggle, the ups and the downs, and that, boom, instantly kind of triggered the thoughts of the infertility journey.
It’s crazy when you can do everything you think is the right way to do it and the doctors tell you everything is great and everything is the way it needs to be and it looks amazing, and it just doesn’t work, it’s like, well, why. Obviously there’s a greater factor that’s involved that just isn’t favoring us yet.
Q: Just to follow on that, for the purpose of accuracy because I’m not around you guys every week, have you recently — are you awaiting tests or have you learned that the last test didn’t take? Not to get too personal, but I just want to be right. Where are you on this?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, so Samantha and I obviously when we had infertility to begin with, our first round worked with Brexton, so thankfully we have the miracle of Brexton. He was the first round that worked fine.
The second round Samantha miscarried around 16 weeks, and then the third round never even took.
The fourth round was with a surrogate, didn’t even take.
And then this round was a whole new doctor, clinic, facility, everything, different — a little bit different procedure, not a whole lot different, and everything looked fine, everything looked great, and unfortunately this time didn’t even take. Nothing there. We got negative results, and we’ll see what our next steps are.
Q: Four wins this year for JGR, do you consider you guys the top team in the series?
COY GIBBS: Good gosh, I wouldn’t say that. I think we — obviously there’s a lot of guys out there winning, so it’s been a different year, a lot of different winners, so I would definitely not say we’re the top dogs. Hopefully we are at the end, but it’s going to be a long, hard fight.
Q: Kyle, any word on how Brexton did?
KYLE BUSCH: I have not heard. I have no idea. I don’t have my phone on me, so I’m waiting to here what happened there, so hopefully it was a good day.
Q: Kyle, you said yesterday that you’re not a big birthday guy, but you’re two for two on winning on your birthday, so has that changed now?
KYLE BUSCH: Not really, man. It’s just another day. It’s another race. Fortunately it’s pretty cool. Not a lot of guys have done it on their birthday, so this is — there’s no better day to win I guess than on your birthday. You get to party twice. We’ll see how all that turns out tonight. Actually we’re celebrating on Tuesday, so we’re going to have a fun time on Tuesday.
Q: With now getting into the playoffs with the victory, what do you feel your team needs to focus on to be stronger as we get to the second half of the year and into the playoffs from September?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think one of the things is just trying to be a little bit stronger on the 750 tracks. I feel like we’re kind of missing just a little bit of something there. Every time we’re on one of those racetracks we blow the rear tires off about 30, 40 laps into a run. We’ve got some work to do in order to keep the rear tires underneath me, and I feel like that’s the number one thing that our focus will be for going into Darlington next week. It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be slippery, it’s going to be slick. That place is always a handful anyways, and now we’re going there with the 750 low downforce package. It’s going to be a handful for sure.
Q: Coy, we’ve constantly seen Ty Gibbs out there, no sponsors on the car, nothing. How is the marketing on that side with him because it seems like with all the promise it’s surprising to see the lack of sponsorship.
COY GIBBS: Yeah, I think we’re definitely working on it. That’s not my side of the — go ask my dad what the problem is. That’s his problem. (Laughter.)
I just spend the money, I don’t bring it in.
No, I don’t know. We’re definitely working on it. We didn’t expect him obviously maybe to do as good as he has to this point, so hopefully we get some people on board.
Q: What was the most significant factor that worked out today for you?
KYLE BUSCH: I think the biggest — well, a couple things. One of those being just having a good car right off the start of the race and being able to work our way forward. Being able to run in the top 3 all day long, once we got there, it seemed like we stayed there, so that was a huge benefit to us.
And then I think the last one was the final restart with Truex behind me, having a teammate behind me to push me to give me that nice run all the way down into Turn 1 to get clear of those other guys on the outside, and to then be able to just protect after that and bring home the race. Huge kudos to our teammate.
Q: Kyle, I was just sitting here thinking as an old timer in this sport, it’s hard for me to believe you’re 36. It’s hard for me to believe — I mean, 58 wins, that’s a big number. How do you feel about those numbers? That you’re 36 and you have 58.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, it’s cool and all, but to be honest with you, I can’t tell you how many wins we’ve thrown away or missed out on versus the ones we’ve stolen; know what I mean? I don’t even know where the number total really could be.
I think that’s the biggest thing that kind of sticks in my mind is the ones that got away and you’re never going to get them back. Even if you got to 100 wins in the Cup Series, man, that would be amazing, but then I’d always wonder, well, hell, I could have had 130; you know what I mean? It’s just a matter of continuing to persevere and push through. Last year was a tough year only getting one, so that definitely hurt the yearly average. We’ve got to get back on that. I’m telling Ben every day, we’ve got to win 10 races this year so I can get that average back up.
Realistically, though, if you can have five-win seasons, that’s exactly where you need to be, so hopefully we can continue to keep this roll going and get ourselves where we need to be.
Q: Coy, you have three out of four drivers in Victory Lane, four wins after 11 races. You kind of downplayed your team there a moment ago, but how good do you feel about that start to the season?
COY GIBBS: I think it’s obviously encouraging to see Kyle get to Victory Lane, and we’d love to see Denny get there, too. He’s had a bunch of seconds. But this is a long, hard season, so I’m not going to jump up and down quite yet. I think it’s important to get on a roll and it’s important to carry that into the playoffs, so that’s kind of what we’re looking at.
Q: Coy, on the sponsorship front, obviously having all those wins helps on that, but how do you feel the overall general sponsorship front is going for Joe Gibbs and the industry at large?
COY GIBBS: I mean, I think it’s been tough, obviously, with COVID. I think that definitely plays a role. Honestly it’s more just not being able to interact with the sponsors you currently do have and if you’re trying to re-sign people it makes it a little difficult. But we’ve got a strong group of sponsors on board. They’ve been great, worked with us through the pandemic, and we’re looking good.
We’d love to get some sponsorship on Ty. Obviously Monster helps out every now and then, but we’d love to secure something for him, but for our big four, it looks pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations on the triumph and good luck next week at the track too tough to tame at Darlington.
THE MODERATOR: We’re now joined by Kyle Larson and today’s runner-up Kevin Harvick. Kyle, I know you had quite a run going today. Disappointing finish. Walk us through that final restart from your perspective, please.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, just lining up behind Blaney, and my plan was just to push him as hard as I could and try and be with him on the backstretch to shove him and hopefully get them guys racing in front of me or potentially get inside or outside for the lead somehow. I had just planned on pushing him really hard, and obviously I did that and got him sideways and ended up getting us both in the wall.
Probably should have just laid off once I got to the corner and hopefully a run came to where I could get to his back bumper on the backstretch. Hate that I screwed that up and cost ourselves a good finish.
THE MODERATOR: Kevin, could you walk us through your finish today here in the Buschy McBusch 400?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, you know, we were a little bit off at the beginning. The guys did a great job of adjusting our car and getting our car better throughout the day. Then we had a pit road penalty while we were running fourth there and had to go to the back, and luckily we had a couple cautions and Rodney made a couple great calls and put tires on the car a couple times and really put us on offense there at the end and were able to get a couple good restarts and come out with a good finish.
Q: Kevin, obviously NASCAR kind of waited for that tire that was in the infield for probably 10 or 15 laps before throwing the caution. They waited for the green flag cycle to kind of flush out. Is that okay? Are drivers okay with that rather than having a bunch of cars a lap down to kind of wait if they feel like they can?
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I haven’t seen it, so I don’t really know exactly the scenario there.
Q: Kyle, did you feel good going into those final restarts or once you lost the deed did you feel like it was going to be tough to come back to win?
KYLE LARSON: I mean, nobody got to the lead from the second row, so I knew I was in trouble, and like I said, I just wanted to do a good job to keep Ryan side-by-side with Kyle and maybe get them racing and punch a big hole for me to get a run somehow.
Obviously I didn’t want to be on the second row the final restart. I had Brad lined up behind me the one before, and he wasn’t able to get to my back bumper. He had to protect from the guys behind him trying to pull out of line, so just got our lane slowed up, and yeah, just didn’t work out.
Q: How frustrating have these opening 11 races been for you, and today’s run and the aggression that your team showed kind of a sign of things to come that will eventually lead to Victory Lane this year?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think we all just want to win. You never know how the year is going to start. I think we’ve done a good job with everything that we have except for a couple weeks where we had some bad luck with flat tires, but some years start out good and you go like gangbusters and some years they don’t start out good and you have to figure it out. So that’s just part of the game. I’ve been around this for a long time, and you just keep grinding away, and hopefully eventually you pick it up, and if you don’t, you start over the next year.
Q: Kyle, I know you’re disappointed about today, but if at the start of this year with a new team you looked 11 races in, would you be satisfied with what’s happened so far? Obviously you’ve been to Victory Lane but what about your opening 11 races and how do you feel about them?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s great. We’ve got one win. Could have four or five. But yeah, just another day where I lead a lot of laps and don’t win. Just got to figure it out.
Q: Kyle, did Blaney door slam you on the cool down lap? I wasn’t sure if I heard that right.
KYLE LARSON: No.
Q: Second thing, I wanted to ask you the same thing that Bob asked Harvick. Obviously there’s that tire sitting there for 15 laps. Had they called the caution, different part, there’s a big debate, how do you feel as a driver about them stopping the race at that point, kind of changed the outcome of the whole rest of the race?
KYLE LARSON: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really have an opinion on it because until Bob asked I didn’t even know that was the reason why there was a caution. Yeah, I mean, I don’t really have an opinion. Sorry.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for taking the time to join us today, and good luck next week at Darlington.