THE MODERATOR: We are joined by tonight's runner‑up, Kyle Busch.
Kyle, walk us through your run tonight.
KYLE BUSCH: It was kind of like the other night where we had an up‑and‑down night. Didn't get in the fence tonight. Seemed like it was trying to progress forward the whole night. Didn't get in the wall, didn't set us back. Didn't have loose wheels, didn't set us back. We were able to steadily keep climbing up towards the front.
Had a top five run there and that's kind of where we ended up.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
- We know you have a good relationship with Gustafson. What is your relationship like with Chase? Do you do anything between now and the next time you race? Do you assume he'll do what he needs to do after what happened tonight?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I'm certainly going to reach out. Him and I have always had a cordial relationship over the years. Certainly we're not near as close, we're not friends like you'd say him and Blaney are or anything like that.
I've known him since he was 12 or 13 years old, been racing with him ever since then, late models, super late models, trucks, Xfinity cars, all that sort of stuff.
Obviously I just made a mistake, misjudged the gap, sent him into the wall. That was entirely unintentional. Yeah, I mean, I'll definitely reach out to him and tell him I'm sorry, tell him I hate it that it happened. All I can do. That doesn't change the outcome of the night.
I hate it for him and his guys, yeah.
- Did you see him gesture to you? What were you thinking when you see him out there doing that?
KYLE BUSCH: No, I didn't see him out there doing that. I thought we had protocols where we're not supposed to do that, so okay.
- Obviously talking to Chase is one thing. His fans are all riled up. Now you have to go through that whole thing. Obviously they can't tell you in person for a while. How do you convince Chase's fans that this was just a mistake?
KYLE BUSCH: You don't. You don't. I can say whatever I can say. I've never been a very good politician anyways. His fan base is going to have the hatred to me anyways. I just deal with what I got to deal with.
Rowdy Nation will have my back and we'll go after it after that.
- Any idea how your car was at the end of the race? Were you in position to do anything if the last 20 laps actually got to run?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I actually felt really good about the spot we were in. We had eight, nine lap pressure tires than the 11 did, because they stayed out. We restarted in the fourth position, which was perfect.
I probably made a mistake going down the backstretch looking to the inside of the 11. We threw it off really far on the outside to stay to my outside through three and four. I wasn't able to get a chance of clearing him at all.
As such, if I would have just fallen in line with him down the back straightaway, followed him through three or four or looked high on him through three and four, I would have been in the 9's position most likely and had a better opportunity to have a run on him in one and two.
I just made two mistakes. They all kind of compounded there in a row. I hate it for my team and my guys. I felt like if we could have raced it out, we had better tires than the 11, I felt like we were in the catbird seat.
- We're doing midweek races out of necessity. Tonight looked pretty good. Would you be in favor of continuing a Wednesday night schedule like that once we get out of this situation?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I think it's fine. I think once you get back to practicing, qualifying, racing, having Wednesday night shows, you show up in the morning, you have inspection, you practice, you qualify, you have inspection before the race I guess, then you go race.
I think the way that the schedule is kind of working out, I just hope they can figure out a way to be able to get us a practice or two, if it's 50 minutes each, then we qualify and then we race. I think the time allows throughout the day.
- In future seasons we could still have 36 races in a more condensed number of weeks. I'm sure that's something a lot of people in the sport would like to see, including yourself. How would you feel about that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I would feel fine with it. I wouldn't mind it at all. I think you typically always start the Daytona 500 around President's Day weekend. That's kind of always been our kickoff. It's typically ended in November. Arguably is November too late? Maybe, maybe not. People can argue that point.
It lends its opportunity when you put weekday races in to either, A, shorten the schedule or, B, give more breaks for the teams or drivers. This year we were going to have a two‑week break in the summertime. I don't foresee that happening.
- How different was the track tonight from what you experienced here on Sunday? Temperature‑sensitive racetrack.
KYLE BUSCH: Today it seemed like the track was a bit looser. I know we came with a little bit different setup because we were kind of off here on Sunday. But we started the race really far off on the other side of the fence today. We were tight on Sunday, really loose today. We had to tighten up and get it back to somewhat of a middle ground I guess from the two races.
Overall I felt like Adam and the guys did a great job on the car getting it closer, bringing it up to speed, getting to the front. Seemed like our car picked up speed as well, too, with cleaner air. The M&M's Fudge Brownie car was out for the first time. It looked good on the racetrack.
Wish it looked a little better there with 20 to go than the chaos we caused and also trying to race for a win. We'll have to go after it again next week.
- A lot of people talk about at the beginning of the season let's skip past the West Coast swing, get back East to run a couple of races. This time of the year you have a better assessment where your team stands. There's a lot of talk about Joe Gibbs not being at the top. Was there anything you saw out of these two Darlington races that is more optimistic than that take?
KYLE BUSCH: The 11 had pretty good speed, but he's always good here. Arguably we were pretty equal on that second‑to‑last run although he passed me and was able to drive away a good bit. He definitely had the long run speed over what I did. He's better at being able to take care of his tires, I think.
The 20 led for a bit. I think he overused his stuff and fell back a little bit. You can kind of see those guys up front that ran hard, real fast on the front side of the runs, they'd burn their stuff up and start coming back to the other guys.
Track position was so important. You could hold a guy up for a fair amount, not allow him to pass you very easily. That was I guess a little disappointing in that we were not able to make as good of moves as we wanted with myself and the 18 car with the way my car was driving.
- We talk about the notebook that you can build up, especially from the Sunday race, carrying it over to a couple days later on Wednesday. How much was accurate with the notebook that you brought from the Sunday race? Was there anything unexpected?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we weren't that great on Sunday so we had to make some adjustments to our car. I actually went to the simulator on Tuesday and ran about four hours trying to work on some things. We freed it up on the simulator thinking that's where the rest of our teammates were.
When we unloaded here tonight, it was so loose I could barely hang onto it. Obviously I can't quite drive it as loose as my teammates can. That was kind of surprising for what we were able to do on the simulator to how it translated here on the real racetrack.
Overall we worked on some things. I definitely want to go back and sit down with Adam and kind of pick and choose and look at what things we changed, what things make sense and what things don't make sense so we can try to make more out of what our simulator is and the information it's giving us.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, congratulations on your run tonight. Good luck going into Charlotte.
KYLE BUSCH: Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. Have a good night.