Tag:Kyle Busch
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 8:37 am

Kyle Busch, JGR team post Kentucky comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

KYLE BUSCH:  It certainly is.  It feels awesome to be able to come out here and run the way we did, to unload the way we did off the hauler.  Dave and all the guys, all the engineers back in the shop did a phenomenal job with our racecar and be fast right out of the gates.  Feels good about that.       

Didn't have many adjustments to make, just fine-tuned on it through the weekend.  It was definitely a special event here this weekend.  We felt the energy.  We saw the people.  It was awesome to be able to bring it home in front of all the Toyota folks that we have here as well, too.  The Camrys are built right here in Kentucky.  It's a special night for us to put Camrys in Victory Lane, and David Reutimann finishing second.      

It was a fun race.  There were some exchanges on restarts with Keselowski and Stewart and Johnson.  We were all racing back and forth a little bit.  My brother led early.  It was certainly a fun night for us.  Couldn't be happier to be here in Victory Lane.       

This one ranks right up there with the best of them.  I haven't won any of the big races, unfortunately, yet.  But, you know, it ranks right up there with Las Vegas being another of my prestigious wins that I feel like I've accomplished so far.     

KERRY THARP:  Crew chief Dave Rogers, what are some of the things you might have had to do, and let's go back to the test on Thursday.  How important was that test and how were you able to take what you learned Thursday and apply it to getting into Victory Lane tonight?      

DAVE ROGERS:  Like Kyle said, the engineers did a great job.  We came off the truck really close to setup.  Sometimes that's bad.  We came off the truck really close.  Actually sat out a little bit, wanted to give Kyle a breather.  We let Denny get in the car and drive it, see how he liked it       

Then Kyle went and drove the 20 car for a while.  We started playing driver swap so the crew chiefs could compare notes down the road.      

Then when we got back in the car, got Kyle back in the car, some teams had made some progress and started going faster than us and we started playing catch-up.       

But Kyle did a good job during test day of talking about what he was going to need to race.  We didn't focus on our lap times practicing, we focused on what we needed to race.  Gave me some good feedback after the truck race, made adjustments to our primary car yesterday morning.      

We were off in speed a little bit, but the car was doing one thing only, which is a good thing.  Made some adjustments this morning.  During the race, we didn't do much to it.  Took a little wedge out nearly every stop, but that's about it.       

I think Kyle did a great job of dialing this team in while we were here Thursday and Friday.      

KERRY THARP:  Kyle, it's your third win of the season.  Also now you're the points leader by four over Carl Edwards.       

Coach Gibbs, talk about this race team.  Certainly exhibited a lot of resiliency out here this evening.  I know being the coach that you are, that had to be pleasing to you.      

JOE GIBBS:  I think Kyle and Dave will both tell you it's at total team sport.  When I watch these guys going over the wall, that group is awesome, I got to tell you.  Dave made great calls.  Certainly the whole team performed extremely well.       

I talked to Kyle before the race.  He said, Hey, there's about seven, eight cars that are right there together.  He says, I don't know who's gonna win this.  That's really the way it panned out.  There were a number of good cars, very close racing.       

One thing I really want to emphasize is this:  this crowd, I was out there coming back in from hospitality, honestly, they were 30 abreast trying to walk up to get in the stadium.  They were coming over the top of the hills.  This is fun to be at a place like this.  It was exciting.  Everything was packed.  I went out and signed a few autographs out at a video truck we had.  The people were just great.    

Hats off to this area, the racing, people in this area, everybody that was here, everybody that couldn't get here.  We appreciate being here.  I think it's a huge deal.  I appreciate NASCAR and everybody, Bruton, everybody that helped us get to this part of the country to race.      

KERRY THARP:  We'll take questions now for Kyle, Dave, or Coach Gibbs.      

Q.  Kyle, that last restart, how much did you think Jimmie had for you?  Did you think David Reutimann tie Jimmie at all and give you a chance to get away?     

KYLE BUSCH:  Did Jimmie and them come get tires on that one restart?  I knew he had fresher rubber than I did for a restart.  I tried to do the best I could at being able to get a good restart.  But I overshot my acceleration just by a little bit and spun my tires a fuzz.  That allowed him to get a little bit of momentum on me.       

He got a good start.  We had to race down into turn one side-by-side rather than me getting a jump on him.  I was just hoping that the outside lane would prevail, I could get a run through there, carry my momentum and clear him down the backstretch, race him into turn three.      

It was certainly a tense moment there for a second.  But after I took the white, I saw the 00 coming on the 48 and getting there to make a move on him.  I was like, C'mon, Reuty.  If you start racing him and hold him up, that's going to help me.  I cannot just cruise through turns three and four but concentrate on hitting my marks rather than seeing if somebody would get in my mirror.       

It was awesome also to have a Camry come home 1-2.  Home state of where the Camry is built.      

Q.  Kyle, did I hear you say in Victory Lane you're staying overnight and heading out tomorrow?     

KYLE BUSCH:  That's right.      

Q.  That makes you not only the fastest man on the track, but the smartest man.     

KYLE BUSCH:  I had this planned long ago, not thinking about what transpired here tonight.  Seems like I'm pretty smart, I guess.  I'm just falling into the lucky category.     

Q.  Kyle, you've won in four different series at this track, led a lot of laps.  Talk about what it is about this track.      

KYLE BUSCH:  I wish I knew, you know.  It's certainly a driver's racetrack.  There's a lot of characteristics here with all the bumps, the way you have to run the line around, whether it's the bottom or whether it's the second lane, where the bumps are, figuring out that, whether you go through them or around them.  Certainly it makes for an interesting setup, having to talk to your guys, having to work around a shock package or springs that will help your car that will make your car handle best through the turns, over the bumps.  You take all that into consideration, do the best you can.       

I've been fortunate enough to work with great people over the years and have won in all three of the NASCAR series as well as the ARCA series here when I was 17 or 18 years old.      

Q.  Kyle, can you talk about the beginning of the race there when you and Kurt were running side-by-side several laps, how that felt.      

KYLE BUSCH:  There at the start of the race, I started on the pole, outside of the front row.  The 42 was on my outside.  Kurt started third.  Kurt got a good jump on the start, got underneath me coming through turns three and four.  I was a little bit tight to begin with this evening.  Just got a good run on him.  Led the first lap to the last 30 laps still we got to the pit stops.  It was a race from there.       

We started running together again.  I think I got by him, took off and led much of the rest of the race.       

It was fun being able to race with him.  Having him stay up there all night.  I don't know where those guys finished, I couldn't tell you if they finished well.  It would have been cool for him and I to race each other out there like myself and Jimmie Johnson.  All in all, you know, it was fun in the beginning.  It was good that we were able to win.       

Q.  You said, Way to go, Reutimann, at the end.  Given your history, were you surprised he almost blocked Jimmie to give you the lead?  199 wins, has that begun to sink in, what that means, what kind of accomplishment that is for a 26-year-old?      

KYLE BUSCH:  No.  It was, Way to go Reutimann, just being able to come home second, bring a Camry home in first and second place tonight, beat Jimmie.  He did help hold up Jimmie a little bit there through the last turn in order to just kind of solidify our win a little bit more, but also to get himself a good finish.  Those guys deserve it.  They've been working hard.  Maybe haven't been running as well as they would have liked to this year.       

Dave works really, really well with their crew chief.  Reutimann and I have squared everything away.  We're all good there.  Talk quite a bit.  So that was really good for those guys.       

You know, 199 -- I wish I was 199, but 99 is certainly cool.  It's definitely one of my goals.  Whether it's an important one or not, you know, to me it's something that I want to do, it's something that Dave is passionate about in helping me do, Joe Gibbs, all of Joe Gibbs Racing as well.  We're working as hard as we can to get as many as we can, whether it's Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or Camping World Trucks.  It feels a lot better when they're Sprint Cup wins.      

Q.  After you got by Kurt, you just seemed to get stronger as the race went on.  How confident were you that you had the car to beat tonight?      

KYLE BUSCH:  I was pretty confident that we were the car to beat.  Whether you stay the car to beat is the next question because how long this race is, how you change from daytime to twilight to nighttime, the track goes through a lot of different changes.       

Dave had to do a lot of thinking on his own that I was telling him the car is good, but he would still make a change knowing what the track is going to do.  That's just experience.  Knowing this racetrack pretty well, for us it worked well.  We kept up with it.       

We stayed up front all the night, made it seem easy, but certainly it wasn't.  There at the end there was a couple tense moments, but we prevailed.     

Q.  You take the points lead tonight, which doesn't mean a heck of lot at this point in the season.  This is a mile-and-a-half track, the bread and butter of the schedule that determines championship contenders.  Do you take any confidence out of this?     

KYLE BUSCH:  Sure.  That's something that Dave and I have talked about and looked at and know that we need to get better at our mile-and-a-half program.  The 11 was certainly really good at it last year.  We've been looking a lot at their stuff, trying to figure out why, what we were doing differently that we could do better to run up front with those guys.       

We had it here tonight certainly.  It was really good to figure this place out in Kentucky.  But, you know, the next steps are, of course, going to be the Chase races that are the mile-and-a-half's, like Chicago and Texas, Charlotte is in there, Homestead is in there.  Those places we've run well at in the past, but maybe not on a consistent basis.  It would certainly be nice to know that we're figuring things out.      

Q.  Kyle, I know you want to win next week or maybe at ORP, but how cool would it be if you could get win 100 at the Brickyard since you haven't won there?      

KYLE BUSCH:  I'm hoping it comes at Loudon, sorry.  Certainly whenever the next one is, I'll be cherishing it just as much as I did the last one.       

To me, I don't want to wait that long for win 100.  Hopefully we get the opportunity to run up front again and, you know, have a chance to win some other races before we get to the Brickyard.      

Brickyard is still a little ways off.  Maybe we can talk about 104 or something by then.      

Q.  Kyle, not a lot of passing tonight behind you.  That being said, compared to other tracks you visited this season, how important was track position tonight?      

KYLE BUSCH:  Yeah, certainly it's an important racetrack to have track position, to start up front.  There were a few cars that came from the back up to the middle part.  A couple guys from the middle that maybe moved up to the top eight or something like that.       

But, you know, up front, it seems like it's a lot harder to pass.  There were times when I was gaining -- the 2 would get out on me and I would kind of gain on him once we got to traffic.  I felt my car was better in traffic.  This place is so wide and you carry so much momentum, you're on the throttle for so long that there's really not much time for you to gain on the next guy in front of you, you know.       

The track was roughly two-and-a-half-lanes wide, running on the bottom two-and-a-half lanes because the top was a little slick.  Whatever grind they did up top seemed to hurt it, I think, rather than help it.       

You know, we'll see what transpires here.  I've heard rumors of repaving this place.  Hopefully they ask us before they do it.      

Q.  Coach Gibbs, you've been in the sport, you've seen some other inaugural races.  With a sellout like this, if that continues down the road here at Kentucky, do you see this becoming one of the more marquee events on the schedule?      

JOE GIBBS:  I look at all of them as marquee events from the standpoint, this area, you're coming to it for the first time.  I remember the very first time we came here and raced the Nationwide.  I think it's an exciting area.  I look at all of America as kind of our playground.  I think this place is special and different.       

I don't look at any one particular place.  Obviously we start with Daytona, that's a huge deal for us.  But I look at all the other parts of the country, it's unique getting a chance to go there, display our sport, getting a chance to be a part of that culture and that community.

Touring the race shops in Charlotte.  We chart where the people are from.  They're from all over.  We appreciate that.  So I look at each one of them as special and different.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 12:52 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 11:45 am

Speed Read: Quaker State 400

By Pete Pistone



The Kentucky Derby has nothing to worry about. 

Despite Speedway Motorsports Inc. president Bruton Smith’s claim that someday his stock car race at Kentucky Speedway would be bigger “than that little old horsey race,” the folks at Churchill Downs can sleep easy for a while. 

That’s because Saturday night’s inaugural Quaker State 400 will take the track a very long time to recover from. 

The long-awaited Sprint Cup Series debut at the Kentucky track was marred by a double-barreled dose of dull racing and horrific traffic. 

Kyle Busch dominated the race that featured little if any side-by-side racing and mostly the long, strung out single file parades that 1.5-mile tracks like Kentucky produce more often than not. 

Except for a few flashes of excitement and a three-lap dash to the checkered flag thanks to a late race caution, Saturday night’s 400-miler won’t be remembered for much more than Busch putting his name in the record book as the track’s first time Cup winner. 

Unfortunately the inaugural Kentucky Sprint Cup race will go down as one of the sport’s biggest miscalculations in history. 

The sold-out crowd of more than 110,000 was forced to deal with horrific traffic issues that saw some fans finally arrive at the track after a more than five hour commute only to be turned away by police because parking lots were overflowing. 

And just like that the goodwill and energy that surrounded the race weekend disappeared. 

Since SMI announced the company was shifting a date from Atlanta Motor Speedway to Kentucky, interest was high in the Bluegrass State as was the excitement about NASCAR’s top series finally coming to town. 

Despite attracting crowds in the neighborhood of 60-65,000 over the years for Nationwide, truck series and Indy Car races, speedway management obviously had no idea how to plan for the extra 40,000 customers who had purchased tickets for Saturday night’s race. 

Track officials released a statement apologizing to fans for the mismanagement but the damage will be irreversible for thousands of fans: 

"We've had an overwhelming response to our inaugural Quaker State 400. We know we had challenges related to traffic. We're already planning improvements and looking forward to a much better situation for next year's event."

Rather than basking in the glow of the historic night, officials now have a mess of epic proportions to clean up in twelve months.
Just like the tire debacle of the 2008 Brickyard 400 sent a negative impact that has clearly affected attendance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kentucky now faces an uphill battle to win back the business of fans that will be understandably leery of trying to attend another event at the track.
In a season when NASCAR has seen some positives in gaining back lost attendance, television ratings and interest in the sport Saturday night's fiasco is a major black eye. 

All of which makes Kyle Busch’s win very much an afterthought.


David Reutimann 

Was able to get around Jimmie Johnson in the last laps scramble to the finish line and score a much-needed second place finish behind Busch. His win last summer at Chicagoland Speedway coupled with Saturday night’s runner-up performance could make Reutimann someone to watch on the 1.5-mile tracks coming up. 

Ryan Newman 

Was finally able to get the finish to show for a strong night’s performance and not have any late race challenges get in his way. Newman’s strong night ended in a fourth place finish and helped the Stewart-Haas Racing driver inch up in the point standings. 

Brad Keselowski 

Brought a lot of momentum and confidence into Saturday’s Cup race after his Nationwide Series win the night before. Looked to be in a good spot as the fuel game played itself out in the final stages of the race but the late race caution shuffled him back in the field however Keselowski was still able to notch a seventh place finish.



Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

Is suffering through a difficult stretch of bad luck and frustration that continued Saturday night when he blew a tire after leaving pit road on his final stop of the race. The damage relegated Junior to a 30th place finish and dropped him to eighth in the Sprint Cup Series standings.

Jamie McMurray  

His three big wins at Daytona, Indianapolis and Charlotte last season must seem like an eternity ago to the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver. Made a dramatic exit from Saturday night’s race when his engine blew in a giant cloud of smoke that blinded not just McMurray but the drivers racing behind. A scary looking incident that could have been a lot worse. 

Clint Bowyer  

A very frustrated RCR driver all night long who had to deal with an ill-handling racecar from nearly the drop of the green flag. Bowyer has been mired in a string of poor finishes that continued Saturday night when he exited after making contact with the wall and was handed a 35th place finish.



(Choice comments and communications from drivers and crew chiefs)  

"(Blank)--- no! You saw me staring at you from the infield, didn't you?" – Clint Bowyer answering his crew chief’s question if changes on pit road worked

"If I run him down, it's going to get ugly.'' – Denny Hamlin about racing with David Ragan 

"Man this is one frustrating place to race.'' – Jeff Gordon

"I'm pushing way too hard. Trying to make up for pit stops ... Its' a mess right now.'' – Kurt Busch



On a scale of one to five "Pistone Pistons" I’ll give Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 a two. The headlines will be about the massive traffic jam and the hundreds if not thousands of unhappy fans. But as for the actual on track product the race was about as typical a mile-and-half affair as you’ll see. Not much in the way of side-by-side racing and fuel strategy about the only drama to play out as the laps wound down. It came down to a three-lap dash that Kyle Busch won but overall there weren’t many memorable moments of the good kind Saturday night in the Bluegrass State.



Summer in New England is next up for the Sprint Cup Series with next Sunday’s visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The one-mile track has evolved into more or less a short track in recent years with a Martinsville-like feel. There could be some leftover paybacks to be dealt out from the Sonoma road course fun and games two weeks ago and Loudon is the perfect place to cash those checks. But as the Chase gets closer and the Wild Card race heats up New Hampshire – which comes a week before the last off weekend of the season – could be a pivotal stop of the summer stretch.

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 6:35 pm

Kentucky qualifying rained out

By Pete Pistone

SPARTA, Ky. - Rain forced NASCAR officials to cancel qualifying for the inaugural Quaker State 400. Although part of the field was able to take time a heavy shower halfway through the session ended qualifying.

The starting line-up will be set based on Friday's practice session which was led by Kyle Busch, who will start on the pole with Juan Pablo Montoya outside the front row.

Two drivers who would have been in the field had the session been completed were sent home including Michael Waltrip and David Stremme. Waltrip was carrying a special paint scheme honoring his brother Darrell's recent election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame but the Kentucky native will now be a spectator Saturday night.


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Posted on: July 8, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:52 pm

Kyle Busch leads Kentucky final practice

By Pete Pistone

SPARTA. Ky. - Kyle Busch led the way in friday's one and only Sprint Cup Series practice session at Kentucky Speedway. Rain forced officials to consolidate the day's two planned sessions into one and Busch, fresh off his Camping World Truck Series win at the track on Thursday night topped the speed chart.

Busch turned a lap of 175.764 mph to lead the way. Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne were the first five. Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Tony Stewart and Paul Menard completed the top ten.

Sprint Cup Series qualifying is still slated for later Friday afternoon but there are still showers in the area. Should qualifying get washed out, Saturday night's Quaker State 400 starting line-up would be based on Friday's practice session.


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Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:55 pm

Behind the Hauler: J.D. Gibbs

By Pete Pistone

HUNTERSVILLE, NC - JANUARY 27:  Team owner Joe Gibbs (3rd-R) poses with J.D. Gibbs (3rd-L), JGR President, Joey Logano (L), driver of the #20 Home Depot Toyota, Kyle Busch (2nd-L), driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, Denny Hamlin (2nd-R), driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, and driver Brian Scott (R), during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at Joe Gibbs Racing, on January 27, 2011 in Huntersville, North Carolina.

(The Joe Gibbs Racing team has been in the spotlight early in the 2011 season)

Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs stopped by Sirius NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" this week to discuss a wide range of topics including the unapproved oil pans found with the team's three cars during inspection at Michigan, Denny Hamlin's first win of the season and his championship prospects and the possibility of free agent Carl Edwards joining the organization in 2012:

Denny Hamlin won eight times last year but it wasn’t until Sunday at Michigan that he scored his first victory of 2011. Are you pleased with the team’s performance in the first fifteen races despite what’s perceived as some as a slow start? 

Overall, the 11 car, each year that it's been in existence, has been a strong-performing car. You kind of start the year off not as quickly and successfully as we would like. To watch them kind of come together and lift each other up, be a team that was kind of for me I get a lot of satisfaction watching those guys rally around each other and look for some great momentum for the rest of the year. 

All three JGR cars of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano were found to have what NASCAR called unapproved oil pans found during pre-race inspection at Michigan last Friday. What is your view as the team owner about what transpired in that situation? 

I think for us we take responsibility but the reality is there’s a lot of parts in these cars and it’s not an illegal part it just has to be submitted so they can see it, look at it and then they give you your stamp. And so a lot of things you bring to the track they look at it and then go okay run the race or say take it off and let us look at it or just say hey take it off. So I think that’s where some of our guys weren’t thinking and I thought there was some kind of an issue that really wasn’t there but they though it was, they kind of raised the red flag and then your put in a position with on our part was not submitting it first. But that’s part of the sport and it’s our responsibility to say hey we have to submit this stuff first especially for the bigger items and kind of go forward with that. 

The perception from some is that there is some kind of quality control issue at JGR and do you agree with that view? 

Yeh I think from our standpoint our guys have definitely been working hard on the reliability. We’ve got good performance and that’s been a big part but the reliability piece is somewhat difficult…we have three teams here. Most teams might have six, seven eight teams to work with and they can see more things than we see. So part of it is seeing more with the three teams we have and to work closer with Toyota and TRD on what issues they see, what we see and kind of just have better communication but part of it is…we’ve been doing this twenty years and had a motor program probably for seventeen of them and one of the hardest things you do is build motors. You try to be consistent and be fast and that hasn’t changed but hopefully we’ll be able to get some of these kinds worked out and get some more reliability. 

This isn’t the first team you’re team has been in the spotlight for things away from the race track but they always seems to rise to the occasion – you had Denny Hamlin first and Kyle Busch third Sunday in Michigan. What is it about your race team that they can rebound and perform so well when things like this are thrown in their way? 

Our guys mentally are pretty strong, they’re tough but I think that’s probably the same with a lot of teams in the garage. But I think our guys if you’re running in the field like mid-pack or further, no one is going to talk about you anyway. An issue comes up in tech line nobody cares. When you run upfront and you’re expected to win and challenge it’s a big deal. And so I think our guys to a good job, the crew chiefs’ responsibility with their guys have done a good job, with media and with fans….kind of controlling that piece and I think from an ownership standpoint we’ve done a good job and we need to keep working on that to make sure our guys continue. What’s been fun for me is watching Kyle and Denny and Joey each of them have been good at a different track really where they haven’t been good at. It makes Kyle good at tracks where he hasn’t been good at and Joey good at tracks where he hasn’t been good at and Denny the same.  That’s been a good thing for me and interesting to watch this year. 

JGR has been mentioned often of late as a possible destination for Carl Edwards who is a free agent from Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the year. Have you had discussions about bringing Edwards into your fold and perhaps starting a fourth team? 

For us in each of the past three years when a driver’s name comes up when you look around the garage we’re one of the few teams that has a fourth spot available. So they all get plugged in there. Obviously this year it’s been a bigger deal because Carl’s become a bigger name among drivers. But we learned when we put the 11 car together you have to have all of the pieces right. You have to have the sponsor, you have to have the driver, you have to have the team…if you don’t have one of those aspects and we learned the hard way putting the 11 car together it’s going to be a rough road. So you’ve gotta make sure that just because it all looks good you have to make sure it all fits together. We have the room for a fourth car that we can do, we can be prepared but we’ve learned you’re better off with three and just making that work until you get all the pieces in place for a fourth one.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 5:53 pm

Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch post Michigan comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

KERRY THARP: Let's roll right into our post race press conference. Our race runner-up is Matt Kenseth. Currently sixth in points now after tonight's race.           

Matt, certainly you gave it a heck of an effort there trying to come away with this win. Your thoughts about today?           

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, we had a really great car today. I'm happy that there was a caution and we didn't run out of gas and we got to race for the end. That was no fun running half throttle. It was nice to be able to go race, but unfortunately I didn't do a great job on the restart. I spun my tires, Denny saw me hanging back a little bit and took off. Once he's clear, it's really hard to pass, especially on a short run like that, the track gets black, it's all slimy with the new tires.          

My car wasn't good on a short run. Took us about 10 laps. Didn't have enough to get around him once he cleared me there.           

KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Matt.            

Q. Your teammate, Carl Edwards, said something about the 2013 cars taking away downforce. I know Jack was talking about the new Mustang. What was he talking about?           

MATT KENSETH: I'm right with you. I have no idea. I know nothing about the '13 car. That's not a lie. I know nothing about it.            

Q. How frustrated were you today? Forced with fuel mileage.           

MATT KENSETH: Yeah, I mean, you know, you try to not get too frustrated because it's a team effort, try not to make tons of mistakes. You try not to get too frustrated. At least the third time we haven't got a full fuel, fourth time, something like that. We recovered at Texas. We didn't recover at Charlotte. Cost us a shot at a win. We did it again here today.           

We got lucky and got a caution so it didn't end up costing us, but it could have. We had a slow pit stop that put us behind. Hard to overcome that. Happy we got to second.           

Q. Matt, to clarify, Carl Edwards said he feels like this race was too much about track position and NASCAR should look at taking downforce off for the 2013 cars. Seems like every week it's evolved into a track position game.           

MATT KENSETH: I don't have any suggestions for what NASCAR should do.          

But, yeah, it's been more difficult to pass I think lately. I like this new nose in this car a little bit better. But seems like it's just a little bit harder to pass. But I honestly think that's probably the tire more than it is anything else. Seems like the tires we've been running this year lay down a lot of rubber, which is nice. But on the restart, it was slime bottom to top. You are on top of all that rubber sliding. That's what it feels like to me. I don't know if that's what it is or not.           

You do the best with what they give you. It's definitely an advantage to be in front. It's hard to pass, that's for sure.           

KERRY THARP: Let's hear now from our third-place finisher today, Kyle Busch. Kyle is now fourth in our championship points race.          

Kyle, talk about today's race. You certainly had a strong car for much of the afternoon.          

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we did. We had a really good Snickers Camry. It was fun to drive. Probably one of the best cars I've had here at Michigan in a while. It was good to come from as far back as we did. Had a good race with many of the guys out there. Once I got to the 17 and 16 up front, it seemed like it was even harder to race with those guys. We were all running the same speed. Lap after lap we would run the same time.           

It was good to get out there and lead a little bit. I felt like if we could have went the rest of the way, we may have had a shot at beating the 17. He definitely caught us there on that one run there. But they pitted, and we may have been able to come out with him or in front of him, who knows. We had the restart and everything. Got bungled up. Dropped back a few spots.           

Came to pit road for a couple tires. That final restart we got a good one, passed a couple cars. Once I got to third, I was trying to run with those guys, but my car was definitely better once I could get up to the top. Seemed like you couldn't get up to the top until later in the run at least after restarts. It wouldn't be until about 20 or 25 laps that my car would start coming in. Just too late.           

Overall happy with today, happy with the finish. If you finish third in the last 10 races every single race, you might win this thing, so we'll take it.           

KERRY THARP: We'll now open it up for questions for Matt or Kyle.            

Q. Kyle, what happened on the last restart where you went from second to sixth?           

KYLE BUSCH: I was just a little bit ahead of Matt. When I saw Matt start taking off, I took off. I guess I took off pretty good. I didn't spin my tires at all. I was too far ahead of him. I didn't know how that was going to look in NASCAR's eyes. I tried to back up a little bit, not beat him too bad from the start/finish line.           

Once I slowed my momentum down, the herd was coming. I had to let them go by me, regather, get my momentum built back up in turns one and two, go back after it. Once I got back like that, my car was perfect out front. In traffic there I was just a little bit too tight in the center, a little bit too loose off. It was hard to get the throttle down and accelerate back up to those guys.            

Q. Kyle, what exactly was the ailment you were fighting all day?           

KYLE BUSCH: I don't know what it was. But just a center chest pain I had early in the race. It was really hard to breathe. Couldn't tell you what it was. I don't know. I've never felt that before.           

Guys gave me some special sauce and dialed me right in, so I'm good (smiling).            

Q. Kyle, were you close at all to coming out of the car?           

KYLE BUSCH: No. I didn't feel that bad. You know, it was just hard to breathe. I had to take real short breaths. Felt like I was running a 400-mile marathon, which essentially I was. But I felt like I was running on my feet instead of in a racecar.           

It was all right.            

Q. If that last caution hadn't come out, up until that point what were you thinking? What were possible scenarios or options?           

MATT KENSETH: I think I was going to run out of gas, so I was riding around half throttle, which isn't much fun. Didn't feel like racing. I was riding around slow, said I was two laps short. I wasn't going to save that. But I wasn't going to pit either. Just running slow, hoping for a caution.          

KYLE BUSCH: We were pretty good to go the rest of the way. I was just trying to run down the next car in front of me. I think at that time it was the 27. He had just gotten passed by the 14. He was my next one. I don't know if I would have got there or not. We probably would have just finished where we were running.          

Q. Kyle, obviously the weekend didn't start well for you guys at Joe Gibbs Racing with the oil pan thing. Apparently everyone pulled together. Didn't seem to affect anyone. You have your best 1-2 as a team of the season. When that happened did you just fluff it off, let's go do what we need to do here?           

KYLE BUSCH: Well, I think the guys come in this weekend, you know, not knowing that we were going to have the problems that we had. It just was circumstances that came about that they had to deal with at the time. All the crew members and crew chiefs, that is. Once they got everything squared away and fixed, we got to the racetrack, it was business as usual.           

I think everybody did a great job in that respect. We'll see what happens this week, if anything. But, you know, we didn't get to run 'em, so that was kind of disappointing for the engineering department I'm sure. All the hard work they've done on that stuff, you know. Some teams, they get away with it, other teams maybe not. In this case, we took it off. We knew that we just needed to run stock standard pieces that had been already approved and go on with our business.            

Q. Kyle, about the track position. Seems like fuel mileage and where you are on the racetrack is determining a lot of the superspeedway races lately. What is your view on that?           

KYLE BUSCH: I would go with that's the way it's been for a long time. I don't know that I've ever seen a guy in the last run of the race take four tires and drive by everybody and win the thing. Last time that happened was probably a long, long time ago.           

I don't know that you can really change much. I think this has been a product we've had for a long time, maybe unfortunately we're just taking more notice to it. Like Matt said, the tires are good tires. They have a lot of grip. They lay down a lot of rubber. But we don't clean off enough of the rubber for enough lanes to race on when we go back green. So if you run in the cleaned-off part of the racetrack, you have a lot of grip. If you try to go up high, make it three- or four-wide, you start slipping and sliding, can't make up any ground. Hard to make up distance on the cars in front of you when you have that.           

I don't feel there's anything wrong with what we have. I feel like we are able to race each other a lot more when we're side-by-side with this car versus the '08 car when we had the splitter and the wing on it, didn't have a lot of downforce in it. Them things were evil. They were just so hard to drive. We were all sliding all over the place. It was hard to get beside each other and race each other anytime.           

Now there were a few times today where I drove it on the inside of somebody like Biffle or Matt and the car stuck and I was able to race with them instead of just praying for my life I wasn't going to spin out and wreck.            

Q. Matt, you had fuel issues. Kasey Kahne had a real difficult situation with fuel. Do you have a solution for the fuel can situation? And what's the status of Crown Royal for next year?           

MATT KENSETH: The fuel thing, I mean, the rules are the same for everybody on pit road. Everyone has the same piece of equipment to work with. I don't think we have an equipment problem, I think we have a problem getting it plugged in right away and making the exchange fast enough. So we're getting our tires changed so much faster than the fuel. Everybody else on pit road doesn't seem to be waiting for fuel. We drop the jack before it's full. I think that's a problem we have to keep working on internally. I don't think that's a rule or NASCAR problem. Everyone has the same rules and the same pieces. That's up to us to figure out how to do that as good or better than everybody else.           

The status for Crown Royal, I'm not really sure what it is right now.            

Q. Kyle, for some reason a lot of teams when they have controversy or chaos around them, they really fall apart. You seem to pick it up and run better when you're in the news for things you might not necessarily want to be in the news for. Why is that?           

KYLE BUSCH: I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about (smiling).           

MATT KENSETH: I've never really seen you run bad, so I don't know what he's talking about either.           

KYLE BUSCH: Thanks, Matt. I don't know what he is talking about in reference to everything going on (smiling).           

It's a matter of putting together, like I said, a couple weeks ago. You get in your racecar, put your helmet on, do your business as you're supposed to. You worry about making the racecar go faster.           

These guys that I work with on the 18 team, the 11 team, all the Joe Gibbs Racing team, I'll include the 20 as well, we work with those guys a lot, they've been able to focus on what needs to be focused on.           

Sure, sometimes at the shop there's time where you have five or ten minutes of giggling or laughing or whatever. Once that's over and they start working on things, they come up with some really good ideas and we've brought some good racecars to the racetrack here lately.           

I can't say enough about the fab shop, body shop, everybody there that's been giving us good aerodynamics, Mark who is working really, really hard in the engine department. Seems like the pieces may not all be there being the best of everything, but we have one or the other, we have pieces of that. We're able to run competitively.           

Sure, it's tough for some of the family members. Maybe they go home and they're like, Gosh, you guys are in the news or whatever. You have to put that to the side, not let it bother you, work on what's ahead and what's going to make your team better and faster.            

Q. Kyle, is that some of the stuff you're seeing with what Denny has been able to do? Certainly he's put together over a longer period of time some top 10s, moved up in the points.           

KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, if it wasn't for my mishap at Charlotte, I think we'd be doing pretty good right now. I had a problem there that I just was trying to get too much with not enough, lost a car there.           

But, you know, we've been steady. Seems like when the green flag flies, we're a contender. We just need to be putting ourselves in the right place at the right time more often.           

Today we thought we had that there, except the second to last restart we got bottled up, didn't quite go as expected. But we were able to rebound at least from possibly running sixth to getting a good third.            

Q. Is that what you're seeing out of Denny?           

KYLE BUSCH: I don't know that I've not ever seen Denny struggle. He does do a good job at being able to steadily run well all the time. If it's seventh through tenth or top fives, he seems to be really, really good at that, always has been. It hasn't been long periods of time where he struggles with 23rd places, 28ths, 30ths. You don't see that very often out of those guys.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:02 pm

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick off probation

Posted by Pete Pistone

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are off probation beginning this week at Michigan International Speedway. The duo have been on probation since their altercation at Darlington Raceway on Mother's Day weekend. Both drivers met the media Friday at Michigan International Speedway and gave their view of having the probationary period end:



“You know obviously the probation ties your hands a little bit on certain things, but you have to go out and you still go out and you race as hard as you can and do the things that you need to do. And I’m going to just keep doing most of the same things that we’ve been doing and just keep racing hard.” 


“A lot of these things, you go out on the race track and things happen and you do what you think is right at the right time.”


“I think for us, our main focus is racing for the championship. You have to do what’s right for your race team and sometimes it works that way and sometimes it doesn’t. So it’s all in what’s right for my team at that particular moment to try to put ourselves in the best position to try to be competitive for the championship.”




“It didn’t matter being on it or being off of it. I try to race the best I can each and every week, as hard as I can and as clean as I can. Sure, sometimes there’s a time where you get into somebody or you get loose and you get into them and you spin them and they’re mad at you. It wasn’t intentional. There’s no malicious intent involved in it. It’s just a product of racing. Hopefully we can keep racing that way.” 


“I’m not expecting anything at anytime, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. It’s fine with me. It’s not my problem. I race my race car and he drives his. You saw how I raced.” 


“There’s no difference in being on probation or off probation for me because I race the same whether I’m on or whether I’m off. There’s no difference there. Like I said, there’s times in which you’re racing hard and you get loose and get into somebody or you get into somebody and there’s no intent in doing that. It just happens. It’s just a product of hard racing.” 


“Yeah, when you’re getting pushed down the front straightaway all the way to the bottom of the race track you’re trying to get away from the situation. It wasn’t happening. He (Kevin Harvick) kept following me so I backed off and waited for my next opportunity to pass him and then when I did pass him, he then pushed me all the way down the frontstretch. At first, it brought back a memory of what he said after Homestead and how he was racing me like a clown all day and then he parked me. So, it seems like there was a different side there.”


“It’s a lot easier to do earlier in the race than it is at the end of the race. If it was for a win, it would certainly be a heck of a lot harder to do than if it’s for a fifth or sixth or a something like that. I’ve learned a lot. I think it will be a lot different.”



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Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Oil pan issues for Gibbs team

By Pete Pistone

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Joe Gibbs Racing teams ran afoul of NASCAR Friday morning during inspection when an irregularity was found with the team's oil pans in the cars of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano.

NASCAR official Kerry Tharp issued the following statement in response to the situation:

Friday morning during opening day inspection at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR officials determined that the oil pans from the three Joe Gibbs Racing cars - the No. 11, No. 18 and No. 20 - had not been submitted for prior approval by NASCAR. NASCAR instructed the three teams to change out these oil pans. If the teams did not change them out prior to today's first practice session, their practice times would not be allowed. It's my understanding that all three teams have changed out their oil pans - so their practice times will be ok.

NASCAR will discuss early next week if there will be any additional penalties assessed to these three teams.


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