KYLE BUSCH, NO. 8 MCLAREN CUSTOM GRILLS CAMARO ZL1 – Race Win Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our race winner, Kyle Busch.
Kyle, congratulations on that win. 10 races into the season, you now have two wins with your team at RCR. Tell us about those final laps, what it means to have two wins in the books at this point in the season.
KYLE BUSCH: It means a lot obviously. Last time I won here, 15 years ago, my first year with JGR. Here we are with my first year in RCR being able to get back into Victory Lane at Talladega. It's been a little bit.
It is really cool to welcome on a new partner of ours with McLaren Custom Grills, to score a win with them and RCR, Team Chevy, to get the Camaro in Victory Lane here, really good for us.
We were obviously short on fuel, kind of stretching it. I don't think we would have taken that chance, I probably wouldn't have taken that chance of staying out but for the win in Fontana. That opened up our playbook, gave us a chance to be up front, restart up front and go for a win today.
Yeah, just being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you got to be lucky. Feels good to have that. I'm sure all of you guys are going to be going to Cheddar's tomorrow for your free tender meal as I probably need to send Brexton over there, we'll get some of our own.
THE MODERATOR: We'll now go to questions.
Q. It sounded like Randall was trying to call you to pit road too late, you were past it. What exactly was the sequence there of you talking about that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, on my own mind, I was like there's no way you come to pit road and just throw away your day, like your day is done. We didn't have any stage points, we had nothing at that point in the race. I was why not take the chance.
He said, Pit, pit, pit.
I was like, It's a good thing it's too late anyway.
I knew I wasn't going to get it in there, but also I wouldn't have anyways. I would have taken the chance and said, You know what, roll the dice, let's go.
Q. You struggled at superspeedways before you came to RCR. How much has joining RCR helped you gain your confidence? First two plate races this year, you have been a contender.
KYLE BUSCH: I wouldn't say today we contended much. We got up front there for a little bit, then we came off of pit road really, really good in that second stage I believe behind Chase, and the 24 was with us. Then we caught up with the Fords. Then we all got misconjobulated, shucked me to the back, I was in the back again. The 9, I think he won that stage. That must have been the finish of stage two.
Yeah, our average running position and where we ran for most of the day wouldn't have showed we contended much. But take 'em as they come. It was just like a 200-mile-an-hour parade lap. Hard to make passes, get enough room in the middle to make a move up the middle, get enough of a gap to the inside where you can fall in, try to cycle up, get a gap to the outside, cycle up. It was really hard.
Q. You referenced the 15 years. Did you ever feel Lady Luck was going to shine back on you?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, ever since 2015 struck, I've always just hoped to walk out of a speedway race at the end of the day. When you're able to do that, you might as well take solace in it. It's not a win, but at least you're going home on your own two feet.
Races, they're all hard to win, but especially speedway races are hard to win. You got 30 guys out there vying for it, that have a legit shot to win, barring different circumstances.
There were some wrecks in front of us today. We were able to squeak through, not get caught up in it fortunately, which isn't a whole lot of my luck here.
We'll take this one, for sure.
Q. I asked Randall about having a driver that maybe doesn't overrule him on a call, but will say this is where we're at, go against what he called. He said it was almost refreshing to have somebody like that. What does that mean to hear that from your crew chief?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I didn't really voice that over the radio about, Hey, we got to win, we might as well stay out and ride this thing out. I just thought it in my head.
It's cool to work with Randall. Obviously, he gives me a lot of leeway just with my experience and stuff like that, being here.
Probably a few years ago I would have pitted and just taken the finish, whatever that might have been. We probably would have been caught up in that wreck.
But when I thought that we'd have a shot for a front row start at the end, I was like there's no way we can pit. If we run out of gas coming off of turn two after we take the green flag, so be it.
Yeah, just go for it, roll the dice.
Q. When Richard was in here, he said you were helping build back the organization to where it used to be. Is there an area where you feel you've made the biggest impact so far?
KYLE BUSCH: No, not yet. Have you watched our short track program (laughter)? It's a struggle. We're working on that.
I've always known these guys have had a good restrictor plate program. We showed that in Daytona, we were really fast. It was fun to run as quick as we did, as good as we did with Austin to try to win that. Fontana, we were super fast there, too. They had a really good car there last year. The short track stuff has been head-scratching for sure.
On my front and Randall's front, I know we're trying to work through what it takes to turn that around. Hopefully we can get there to make the short track stuff go our way.
Q. Do you feel like you did anything better on a superspeedway today?
KYLE BUSCH: No.
Q. You just got lucky?
KYLE BUSCH: I got lucky, yeah (smiling).
Q. Do you consider the Blaney-Wallace portion of that luck or do you expect that at the end of a race?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, so Bubba was pushing me on the restart. He had me squirreled up a little bit down the backstretch. Then we got separated from each other. He went back to grab whoever was behind him, brought the momentum back forward. I got out a little too far.
Off of four, Bubba was coming with a head of steam. I could have turned up to get in front of him and tried to block. I'm going to get wrecked. My stuff would not take pushes anyways. I was not going to put myself in a spot where I was going to try to take one.
I just let those guys go by and say we'll sort it out down the backstretch and see what happens. We have four more corners to see what happens in this race, two and a half more miles.
They got to pushing real hard, and Bubba went to block. You can't make more than one turn being pushed. By the time you make that second one, you're wrecked.
Q. Has there been anything noticeably different about superspeedway races when it comes to now being in the Chevy camp compared to what you had for so many years?
KYLE BUSCH: We've talked a lot about that. We've actually worked through some of that. The key partner group, had our meeting and stuff on trying to have our eight guys align and be part of the deal together.
There was a couple moments today where that really helped, being able to get down to the bottom, have those guys build a gap so you can get in line before you come to pit road. I thought our pit road execution today was really, really good. We all come in, do our deal, ride pit road, do our stops, got organized really quick. I thought the overall orchestration of that was really good.
I wouldn't say it really materialized on the racetrack a whole lot. I saw the Toyota guys, they were I think four or five of 'em in a row on the outside towards the end of the race. We never really showed that. But there was some good cohesion.
Q. Eight months ago at Watkins Glen you opened up about how it had been a hard year. Now two wins, a new organization, having success. What is it like to be Kyle Busch, what is your mindset now? How did you get from, maybe you'll say it's a dark place, but a darker place to this point? Eight months is a short period of time.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, just having a good, strong support system. Obviously Samantha, Brexton, my family first. But then from there, having a great bunch of guys that I'm surrounded by that when Richard made comment to Randall about there being a chance I come over there, he was really pumped up about it, he was really excited about it. Petree was, as well, too. I remember Petree blowing me up for a couple weeks on phone calls.
They didn't think that Kyle Busch was washed up or anything like that. It was really a breath of fresh air to get over there and get to work.
Trust me, I've probably done more, worked harder in this year than I have in the last four just because of feeling like it's my duty, it's my service to them to give them everything that I've got, absolutely everything that I've got, for them sticking their neck out for me at RCR.
We're working really hard in a lot of areas. I keep pushing these guys on some stuff. I hope that it will continue to get better as we progress through the year.
I think next week is another big test for us as the RCR group statistically speaking at Dover was horrendous a year ago. Hopefully we can turn that around.
Q. You're among the greats, no doubt about that. I'm sure every driver has ego or self doubt. To get two wins quickly, even though you are Kyle Busch, how important is that to have come out of the gate like that as opposed to get your two wins at race 25 or 26?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, right. No, I mean, trust me, I think I said it in Fontana, I'll say it again: the more wins you can get, the earlier you get 'em, the better your season is going to go. The points buildup is obviously what you strive for. Winning races in the Playoffs obviously moves you through automatically to the next round. That's a good plus, you get to carry the points late in the year too.
I've always looked at having strong starts to seasons, that kind of solidifying your base for the remainder of your season. Somebody told me this a long time ago, that any time you get to Charlotte, Coke 600, from there to the end of the season, points fluctuation, one or two spots barring something stupid happening. Three blown up motors in a row will hurt that. Other than that, the cycle of racing naturally, you'll end up about the same spot.
I always like to be having a good, strong start to build that foundation.
Q. It seems like this new Next Gen racing more preaches patience than the aggressive style. Do you think this suits you more with the more mature Kyle Busch?
KYLE BUSCH: What number Kyle are we talking about (smiling)?
Q. 2018 Kyle Busch, how does that compare and contrast to other generations you've raced?
KYLE BUSCH: This style is by far a lot of patience, which I don't think the consensus within the garage area with the drivers is that we enjoy it very much. You'd like to have some areas of opportunities to where you can make some moves, cycle yourself around a little bit.
Man, when you ride around there parade formation for 10s of laps at a time, it gets a bit frustrating. You know that you can do better than that. But you pull out of the line, try to make something happen, you hit a block wall of air, go backwards.
Everybody is just the same. It's just so equal. There's not enough separation within everything to put on, in my opinion, good, exciting racing at the speedway races. I think there's a bit of a struggle right now.
Q. Can you speak a little bit on the partnership with RCR and the give-and-take in the transition?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, to us coming onboard and being a part of RCR for me this year, I've had a lot of great things so far that we've been able to work on and really show some positivity, show some good momentum in a direction that we need for success for this year. Then there's just some of the other areas where we're not really seeing the fruits of our labor yet.
Again, we're all striving for the same thing. That's one goal, and that's to win. We want to see Austin get a win. Unfortunately he had some bum luck today. Want to get him in the Playoffs, as well, too.
The Xfinity program has been on fire. They've been super, super strong this year. That's been fun to see.
We just need to keep it going in the right way.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, congratulations again on that win.
KYLE BUSCH: Thanks.
RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, and RANDALL BURNETT, CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 MCLAREN CUSTOM GRILLS CAMARO ZL1 – Race Win Press Conference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: Good evening, everyone. We've been joined by team owner Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing.
Richard, congratulations on another win. Tell us a little bit about the final laps from your vantage point.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think my stomach was in knots, but not as bad as the crew chief.
Randall was, Pit, pit.
Kyle said, Look, we done made this deal, we done made our decision, let's ride it out no matter what.
He just stayed out. We were on the border of running out of fuel. I was just holding my breath. It wasn't going to be fun if we run out of fuel.
It was a good day, a great day. Great crowd. One of the best crowds I understand at Talladega since Dale Jr. won in 2008 or last one that he won.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Richard.
Q. Your 13th win here at Talladega, second only to Hendrick. What does it feel like to win at Talladega? Such a difficult place to win.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It's such an important win. If you win at Talladega, so much can happen during the race. But Talladega has been so great to RC. I raced here in 1969. One of the biggest breaks I got. I left here with about 1,500, 2,000 dollars, thought I'd never have to work again. Here I am still racing (smiling).
Talladega has been great. Winning with Dale here in the Winston I guess 2000 was the last win for him here.
Q. RCR has had such a resurgence with Kyle. How do you feel as an organization?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think he's helping us build RCR back to where we want to be. I have to give all the credit to Austin Dillon. He's the one that came to me, he knew Tyler was going somewhere else. He said, Pop, what do you think about bringing Kyle Busch over here?
I said, I'll talk to him if he wants to.
We sat down, put a program together. The credit goes to Austin for bringing him on.
Q. You talk about Austin. How do you keep that team from not maybe getting into desperation mode?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Which team?
Q. Austin's team, considering how far back they are in points, looking at the Playoffs. Last year they won the last race to get in. Is there anything you do or want them to do to avoid being in desperation mode?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, you start the season out in desperation mode. That's the way we always look at this deal.
He knows now he's got to win. We know we've got to get a win for him. We'll be digging extra hard to get him there, those 60 points, we got an appeal. I feel we have a decent chance. I don't know who the panel will be, but that will be who will decide it. I think we got a decent chance.
Q. You've had some struggles in recent years, but now when you go back to last season, you've won six of the last 29 races. I don't know if you're going to say you're back or you consider yourself back, but what does it mean to be more of a player than what you had been for a number of years?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Thank you, Dustin. That's a good question.
Racing is like life: there's peaks and valleys. When you get in on a peak, it's harder to stay there. You got to be prepared when you're at the top. We've been there. We've also been in the valley, the very bottom. You got to work harder and have the right drive and emotion to put you up to the top. That's what we've worked hard to get there. It's took a long road. It's been a fun deal.
Q. What does it mean to you personally?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Me personally, it means a lot. I'm still doing this. People say, Why do you do it? If you see all those fans up there, that's why we do it. We're all in this for that reason.
We got some great partners that we've been involved with. Chevy, Bass Pro, so many of them over the years. Just long-term partnerships drive you.
And our crew chief, Randall Burnett. Can you breathe yet (laughter)?
RANDALL BURNETT: Yes (smiling).
Q. A lot of people dread coming to this place. It's been good to you over the years. Why do you think it's been good to you? What is it about this place?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Back even when I was driving, they used to say it was an Indian burial ground. I don't know if any of you remember that. It was always supposed to be the ghost of Talladega to be here.
I just always shook it off and just enjoyed it. I loved racing here as a driver. I love being an owner here. We've had some great runs, great wins. I'm excited about the future of RCR, Kyle, Austin, the whole team.
Q. Richard, it's been 15 races for Kyle since he's won here. 22 for you, back since Clint Bowyer won here in 2011. Did you wonder if you would ever get back to Victory Lane? Did you see this as being one of those it's just going to be a battle?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Talladega is always a battle of survival. That's what the battle really is. If you can be there at the end, you got a chance to win. That's what we wanted to do. That's always our goal here and Daytona. You got to be there at the end.
Both drivers talked about coming out here racing, racing as hard as they could, and they did. It was a good day for one. Austin didn't have that good of a day, he was involved in that crash. But Talladega will give you that, give you the peaks and valleys.
Q. Randall, obviously the pit strategy, a big question. What does it mean to you to be on the box, have your driver say, This is what we're doing, I have control?
RANDALL BURNETT: It's hugely helpful. For him to buy into what we're doing, the communication is there, Hey, man, this is where we're at in the race, this is what we've got going on. For him to understand that, process that, do everything he can to help us along the way, is huge for us, how we play our strategy.
Q. The opposite side of that is can you look at Talladega Superspeedway and say if we need something great to happen, can you come to Talladega and say maybe this is where things turn around for us?
RANDALL BURNETT: Well, yeah, it's a nice shot in the arm for us, honestly. We kind of hung out, tried to stay out of trouble all day. Everybody was kind of along the same lines of just being conscious of how much fuel they were using, all that.
We've came off a rough three or four races for us. To be able to come back out and win this race, it's good for everybody on the team, get a good shot in the arm.
Really looking forward to going back to some of these mile-and-a-half tracks, get back to the meat and potatoes of the schedule, seeing what we've got there.
We've got some work obviously to do on our short track stuff. That will give us a little bit of a break, realign on that, come back, see what we got.
Q. Richard, you've seen a lot of races, ups and downs at Talladega. The optimism of coming to Talladega...
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Like I said earlier, it's all about survival here, one thing, to put yourself in a position to win. All day long, Kyle sit there in that bottom line, when some other lines were moving, kept moving up, moving up. Pit strategy, the calls that Randall made there for the amount of fuel, saving fuel, use less fuel to get you out in front of them. That paid off. That's what it takes.
I'm going to go celebrate with my friend J.P. Morris, Johnny Morris, all the friends at Bass Pro because we're going turkey hunting tomorrow (smiling).
Q. Randall, what happened on the final sequence when you called Kyle in? When did you make the decision?
RANDALL BURNETT: Yeah, we'd had the talk when the first caution came out there like 184, 185. I'm like, Hey, man, we're going to be in a bad spot here possibly if we get too many green-white-checkereds.
He was like, Let's try to give it a go, the first one, see what happens.
He was fully aware. He was aggressively saving us fuel, doing everything he could. He knew the situation at that point. I saw a couple of 'em getting ready to duck off in front of us. They were kind of in the same fuel situation as we were. There were a bunch of us.
Honestly, I called it too late. It was a fortunate mistake, you know what I mean? We kind of lucked out there. He saved enough under those cautions to make it till the end. The caution coming out on the white flag lap there, who knows if we would have ran all the way to the end. We might not have made it.
Just kind of better be lucky than good at that point.
Q. 11 races with him. He's a unique talent, temperamental. Never know what you're going to get. How has it been working with him?
RANDALL BURNETT: It's been great. His ability speaks for itself obviously. What he knows about the cars and the strategy, just how the race plays out, what he needs in a car, all that is hugely helpful.
I think it helps me be better, be more detailed, and really be on top of my game because he's going to challenge you if you're not.
I think everybody on the 8 team has really stepped it up in that manner. I think it's been good so far. I think everything has been great. We have a good relationship, communicate a lot, communicate well. I think that shows.
Q. Kyle hasn't won at one of these tracks in a points race in a long time. When you talk about this style of racing, does he tell you he's good or that he hasn't won in over a decade?
RANDALL BURNETT: Well, no, honestly, when he got there, that was one of the big things that he wanted to get with Derek on. He knows Derek has had some success, our spotter Derek.
He came over, Man, I'll tell you what, I've really struggled at these places. I don't know what it is about my approach, what we do, but I've struggled at these superspeedway tracks.
He was very interested to see how Derek goes about approaching his day and how that communication goes. They spent a lot of time over the winter talking about it, listening to tape, doing all that. I think it paid off.
Obviously we were in a great spot at the 500. Really fast there all weekend. Just kind of missed out on winning that one. Got wadded up at the end. Obviously put ourselves in position there, as well.
I think their relationship is really good. I think Kyle has put a lot of trust in Derek at these places. It's been paying off.
Q. Since you won with Tyler at Road America, you've won five races among the two drivers. How have you been able to build this team that when you have the talent, you can take advantage?
RANDALL BURNETT: I mean, this 8 team, it's strong. The road crew guys, they're all racers. They've grown up racing. We've got great engineers. This team's really strong. We're really close, really connected. We've spent the last three or four years together all through Tyler's coming up through the Cup side, now with Kyle.
Everybody's really dedicated. Everybody wants to come out and win races. Everybody works hard. They pull their weight. They take their responsibility for their part in it. It just makes a great team.
Obviously we've been fortunate enough to have two very talented drivers. Tyler is an incredible talent. Now we got Kyle. His résumé speaks for itself.
Just very fortunate to have those kind of caliber of drivers drive the car, and for our team to stay close-knit and work as hard as they do. It's been great.
Q. Even with the talent you have, how did you have to build it up as a coach?
RANDALL BURNETT: It's one of those deals, we missed a lot of opportunities when Tyler was driving the car. We finished second I don't know how many times. Everybody sees that and they taste that and they want it, right?
It's not hard when you're running up front to keep everybody motivated. It's when you're struggling and things aren't going right. It's tough to keep everybody pulling together in the same direction.
Fortunately, like last year, we had a lot of fast cars all year long. Tyler did a great job. We finally figured out how to break that barrier. Once we did, it started working out better for us.
Kyle came aboard. He's been great to work with. He's a proven winner many times over. Just to be able to get him in the car, us kind of adapt to him, him adapt to us, we kind of found a good middle road I think.
Looking forward to getting to more of these tracks.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the win.