NASCAR: Bristol Dirt Race Post-Race Press Conference


  • Kyle Busch, winning Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
  • Coy Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing Vice Chairman and COO

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by tonight’s race winner, driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, that is Kyle Busch. And co-owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, Coy Gibbs.

Kyle, take us through what you saw in the last turn that eventually led to victory.

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it kind of stems back I think the last 10 laps or so. Hirschman coming over the radio and telling me keep in it, stay in it, keep in position even though the guys behind us, they were falling off of us, getting further away.

But the guys in front of me, they were running hard, racing for the win obviously. My car would not just refire after the rain delays for whatever reason. Took about 20 laps to get going. The last few laps I feel like we kind of maintained with them, at least kept them in our windshield in case something did happen.

Kyle Busch celebrates his win in the NASCAR Bristol Dirt race. Photo courtesy of Toyota

There you have it. The final corner there was chaos ensued I guess, then we were able to make it through, steal a win, back into one. Feels good to get one here in this Next Gen race car. Feels good to win on dirt. A lot of caveats.

THE MODERATOR: Coy, take us through your emotions probably thinking that you were going to finish third, then win the race.

COY GIBBS: I think with four to go, 2.4 second gap. I honestly was…

KYLE BUSCH: …walking home.

COY GIBBS: I was hoping for a caution. Then chaos happened and we ended up with the win.

I think it’s a testament to Kyle. He fights every lap. He always has. Whether the car is good, bad, doesn’t matter. He’s always fighting for us. It paid off tonight for sure.


Kyle, four, five laps to go, your spotter came on the radio and said to maintain third position, you never know what’s going to happen in front of you. In your head were you thinking this could happen or did you realize something could happen or shrugged it off?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, the most reminiscent of that that’s happened I guess that I can recall was Logano and Denny Hamlin getting into it at California Speedway and me being able to zoom to the top, get that win. Reminded me a lot of that.

Just being close enough to get what I needed of the corner there, the last corner through three and four. I ran it as I normally would, up top, got that run off the corner. I was able to outdo Reddick to the line.

I guess I’ve been in that position once before. I can’t recall many more than that.

Kyle Busch celebrates his win in the NASCAR Bristol Dirt race. Photo courtesy of Toyota

During the red flag, you thought you were going to be the leader, then you weren’t. What was going through your head? I’m going to have to protest this?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, I thought we were the leader. I don’t know how we would not have been the leader. They opened pit road. People pitted. Other people stayed out. That’s a strategy call. That sets up everybody for the end of their race, right?

I don’t know how you could not say that we were not the leader. There were eight others that stayed out with us. I would bet they were right there with us on that call.

From your comments last week, you’re not the biggest fan of racing Cup on dirt. Was this any better or worse than what you thought it was going to be?

KYLE BUSCH: A lot of, lot of, lot of different variables here for this answer.

But the biggest one is they did a better job with the track this year for sure. God helped us out a lot tonight with watering it periodically, so that was really good. We didn’t even have to rely on the water truck driver.

But the biggest thing that hinders me from enjoying this is just the application. We’re trying to do something that isn’t applicable, in my opinion. I mean, the first 10 laps of the race, everybody is shooting mud off, we’re covering everybody’s grilles. Our windshields are covered with the dirt going off the windshield, stuff like that.

Those guys talk about the windshields and stuff like that: if we get rid of the windshields, we could have tear-offs and stuff. That’s fine, but the cars are 3500 pounds. You saw what it’s like on the last corner, the last lap, to drive around here every single lap. You are on edge, on your toes, just trying not to crash every single lap.

When you’re in a dirt car, I’ve now run micros, dirt late models, a few different types of vehicles on dirt. When there’s grip, it’s grip and rip. You are driving the heck out of that thing. Makes you breathe hard. This thing here, you’re just not breathing because you’re so tensed up of not crashing. It’s just the application.

If it’s a good show, it’s a good show. I think Bristol is fine with or without. I’ve won on them all, so I think I have the best say.

No bites? Must be late (smiling).

You quoted Richard Petty saying that it takes the sport backwards, cut the cord. After tonight’s race, do you feel still like it takes the sports backwards?

KYLE BUSCH: There were some bright spots, for sure, to the night, to this race. I don’t know if the good outweighed the bad. I don’t know.

I feel like our races are always long enough already. We did have a couple rain delays where we honestly actually watered the track. That’s what you would get if you did it properly. You would get watering the racetrack delays to keep the track right. That’s just breaking up the action.

I don’t know that the fans necessarily enjoyed those breaks in the action. Our races are always typically, go, go, go, go through the end.

Again, like, you go to all these dirt shows, the biggest dirt races in the country are 50 laps. There’s one in the world 100, but all the rest are 50 laps, and there’s a reason for that.

You tied Richard Petty tonight for the NASCAR record of at least one win a season in 18 years, 18 consecutive years. How does that feel?

KYLE BUSCH: Great. Elaborate on that, okay?

To me, it’s a long time, 18 years. The biggest thing to me is just having that opportunity and being thankful for my chances with Joe Gibbs Racing, Joe, Coy, everybody at M&M’s, Interstate Batteries having my back over this long a time, keeping me in the seat.

But a lot of different people to work with, a lot of different cars we’ve gone through, a lot of things that we have done and won races in in those years.

With how struggle-some I feel like our year has been this year, did we deserve this one? Yeah, I mean, we ran up front all night, we were in contention, that was great. I’ll take that.

We got a lot of work to do to win more races and be in contention each and every week. I say all this because, yes, the 18 is important, but I feel like I’m in the prime of my career and I would love to be running up front and dominating and winning races and contending for championships. That’s our ultimate goal.

Kyle, when Alex Bowman won in Vegas, you were kind of upset he backed into it. You did use the word when you first got into the media center that you ‘backed’ into this one. Is there a difference in who backs into it and when and how?

KYLE BUSCH: I think you take ’em how you get ’em. I feel like we ran up front all night long. Actually, I passed Kyle Larson – write that down (smiling). I ripped the lip, as they say, a few times there on restarts in order to get some spots and stuff like that to get us in better positions, to be in contention to be up where we needed to be.

Yeah, I think the fastest car tonight was actually the 14 car. I think we were faster than the 8 car once we got a few cycles and heat on our tires. We could not come back after rain delays very well. So, the 8 drove away from me. I couldn’t contend there.

The last restart before that, before the second rain delay happened, I was on his bumper like he was in my way. I was just trying to figure out a way to get by him without doing exactly what Briscoe did and just crash trying.

Again, that kind of goes back to the show. When we’re all in a line and we’re ripping the lip, the right rear tire is in the moisture, somebody tries to go low, there’s no groove, no pass, like, we don’t have the right application. Other forms can do slide jobs and whatnot. You try to throw it off in there faster than you think you can, you’re going to crash, you’re going to spin, so…

Point proven last lap. Check it out.

Coy, Ty has had two very eventful back-to-back weeks, especially last week when he physically scuffled. What sort of conversations may you or may you not have had with him?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, dad.

COY GIBBS: You’re ruining a good night. Do you feel bad about that?

I mean, look, that’s my son. I have his back 24/7, 365 days a year. Our conversations are private. We’re a pretty tough family. We raise our children tough. I’m proud of him as a human and I think he’s talented driving a car. So that’s what you got.

Kyle, when the two guys got together and they both spun, how aware were you of what was happening? Did you see Reddick come back on the track? Did you think the finish might be closer with him?

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I was going into three as the 14 dove low and was sliding. I saw the right rear of the 14 make contact with the left rear of the 8. Then I lost visual through getting in the corner. They were into my window net or right front A post. I couldn’t see them at that point.

Tony was just talking to me on the radio that they were sideways, they were spinning, they were going to the bottom of the track, just keep going, keep your foot in it, drive, drive, drive. He was just kind of telling me.

As soon as I come up about the middle of turn four, I saw the 8 down low at the bottom and I matted it for everything it had, drove it off the top, was hoping I could get there in the nick of time. Wasn’t by much, but it was just enough.

Kyle, could you elaborate on how you feel this season has gone for you, and what this latest win says about it.

KYLE BUSCH: I don’t think the win here tonight really says anything about our season. We all have had some vocal meetings this year with some struggles and things like that.

I would say realistically we’ve had a shot — take out the two speedway races, Atlanta and Daytona, there’s seven others. I’d say realistically we’ve had a shot to win two of those: Vegas and Richmond. All of rest of them have literally been 15th to 20th. We were just scrounging to get whatever we could get out of those days.

A couple of them we messed up on, threw them away. I was running third or going for third on the last lap at COTA. Ended up spinning out. That was a bad day. We’ve just had some bad luck.

Maybe Fontana we were faster than we anticipated, though. It’s just not been our typical Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota having speed every week.

Coy, I don’t know whether Kyle having 60 wins versus 59 wins means a ton when talking to sponsors. You do still need to find sponsorship for him next year. Does a win and making the Playoffs mean anything as far as that sponsor search? Have you made any progress on it recently?

COY GIBBS: Yeah, so, I don’t deal with the sponsorship stuff directly. I kind of stick on the competition side.

But we’ve got a couple people we’re talking to, so we’re excited about that, excited about the leads. I think anytime you win it helps. I honestly think it helps.

I remember the one year we knocked Martin out of the Playoffs. You got your win, you were so excited (laughter). I was excited for you. Not excited for Martin, but I was excited for you at the time.

I know that means a lot to them. I’m more excited for him.

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I remember. Texas, yeah.

COY GIBBS: We were struggling all year.

KYLE BUSCH: Martin finished second. Oops.

COY GIBBS: I think it helps. It doesn’t hurt, for sure.

Joe Gibbs winning two of the last three races, did it feel like you’re turning a corner with this car or two great tracks for Denny and you?

KYLE BUSCH: We got lucky.

No, Denny was on the right side of strategy honestly. I think he was a third-place car at Richmond and they made it work. We were right there with him. I had a very good view of how good his car was.

Tonight just being in the right position at the right time.

I wouldn’t say that these two wins are indicative of how good we are. We’re fortunate to have gotten these wins to be in the Playoffs. Again, we still got to better all of our programs and be stronger as a unit.



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