THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the second and third-place finishers of today’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, and that is Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch.
If you have any questions for either of these gentlemen, please raise your hand.
Q. Two years in a row you’ve been up here second- and third-place finishers. This year you swapped. Why is it you guys are doing so well at this track? Kyle, you’ve talked about stacking momentum all weekend.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, I don’t necessarily know what it is, but sometimes drivers will take to places. But this place here being a short track, me growing up short track racing with some of the late models and stuff that I have done, I’ve been to a lot of places like this. Been Legends cars as well too over the years.
But I’m sure many of those guys out there have, as well, whether it’s been dirt, whether it’s been pavement. I don’t know, yeah. Having good stuff obviously helps. Last year being in the JGR stuff we were really fast. Our teammates were terrible this year; now our teammates are good, or the JGR cars were good and we got beat by one of them, but Austin and I worked hard together today on, A, working together, but, B, all the information to put ourselves in the best possible spot.
Good collaboration between the RCR bunch.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, I’ll just echo what Kyle said. It was really fun. Our car was really good. It really kind of turned on that last practice. We figured out that our car was pretty good on the long run. We were able to qualify decent, which is good for us. Not a great qualifier usually at the short tracks.
Felt like if we could just maintain we could have a shot. Kyle helped me there at the end. He knew we had a fast car, so let me try and got a shot at Martin. That was nice, so hopefully I can pay back the favor we go to Daytona and work together well. It’s a great start for all of us.
As far as the track question and being up here, I’ll give a shout-out to all my Bowman Gray boys back in Winston-Salem North Carolina. I grew up going there and watching that place, and this is about as close as it gets to Bowman Gray Stadium.
Q. How did you get back up through the field when you were totally spun out and in the back?
KYLE BUSCH: I passed them.
Q. Not everybody could do that.
KYLE BUSCH: I don’t know. I mean, I felt like in the first 50 laps of the race we had probably a third-place car, and then we kind of tapered off after the long run there a little bit in the first half and we worked on the car.
We made it better in the second half but never had an opportunity to show it, getting dumped by the 22. Then we had to turn around and just try to work through traffic. A lot of guys were getting bottled up on the bottom. I’d go high, go around a few of them, then they would start blocking high because they would see that, so I would cross over and get underneath them and move them back up the track in order where I wanted to run where my car was best.
So, yeah, some of the guys in front of me, some cautions. Obviously, there were some more there towards the end, guys spinning. A lot of guys, more contact as the end of the race happened. Not just one would wash out. Like two or three would get washed out, so you could pick off a couple at a time.
Q. In a race like this where the whole field is getting physical, everybody is bumping everybody, is there different standards of what would make somebody super mad or carry over a feud to the next race? If everybody is doing it, is it more acceptable, or are people still going to have those same memories that they would if it was any other race?
AUSTIN DILLON: I mean, I think everybody knows here that there’s going to be contact. The first 30 laps my head was against the head rest probably every lap. It was just bang, bang, back and forth, every corner. I couldn’t believe how aggressive it was the first run. There was nothing but just hammer each other and hope to come out the other side.
I got hit one time at the end, I was telling Kyle, when we got back in line, it knocked the wheel out of my hands. I couldn’t believe it. Just kind of picked up the gas and caught it back.
But you’re taking some pretty good blows out there and trying to stay calm. I think Martin got mad at me one time, and it was the 24 driving through me. The hard part is knowing if it’s the guy behind you or if it’s the guy two behind you or even three.
You’ve got to have a short memory about it. Obviously Bubba knocked me through the corner. I was going to hit him back. Didn’t mean to turn him like that, but when it gets down to the end I think everybody knows what’s going on, and that’s what you see at places like this and Bowman Gray Stadium.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, Logano didn’t get hit by nobody. He just flat-out drove through me, so he’s got another one coming. I owe him a few.
Q. For both of you, last year this race was widely praised and it seemed like it was an overall success. This year do you feel the same level of happiness or excitement coming out of here as last year or different thoughts?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, last year’s show I felt like was relatively clean and good racing, some bumping, some banging, but we could run long stretches of green flag action, where today was I would call it a disaster with the disrespect from everybody of just driving through each other and not just letting everything kind of work its way out.
But it’s a quarter mile. It’s tight-quarters racing. Actually this is probably how it should have gone last year, so we got spoiled with a good show the first year. Maybe this was just normal.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, and everybody has gotten a little better since last year, so the parity was close. There were a lot of fast guys. The little bit, if you are faster than someone, you kind of have to bump them, because they can kind of check up on the exit of the corner and stop you.
If you get that run and you’re there, you kind of have to use it or be used.
Q. Would you guys like to see it come back here for year three?
KYLE BUSCH: I don’t care. I’ll be here wherever we’ve got to go.
AUSTIN DILLON: I think we both would like to be in the 1 position. That’s what I’ve learned from Kyle in a short period of time. We’ve got to win, so that’s the main goal.
KYLE BUSCH: We were damn close to starting it off right out of the gate, so next week.
Q. Along those lines, the expectation you guys have for going forward, can you gauge what it could be like from this race and how you guys are going to work together as teammates, because kind of the storyline tonight would be you guys running second and third.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it could definitely be a story of that where we’ve been working well together this whole weekend off the track, on the track, and having the opportunity of being able to take care of one another on a couple of those restarts.
You know, the 3 would be easy off the corner and give me a gap to be able to get down and some other stuff that we did, too.
Yeah, I mean, that’s just a good omen for great teamwork and good sportsmanship from the two of us, so let’s keep that rolling.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, I agree. I think the other good part is some of the things that we like in a race car — what I was excited about, because I’ve watched Kyle’s data over the years, and the way he approaches the setup of a car and things I think we’re actually pretty close. Like our delta would be close.
So that’s nice to be able to hopefully work off of that, and we’re only going to be able to build off that as we go and find those places that when we have a good run, where do I need to be setup-wise compared to him to echo that.
Q. Kyle, this was your first race having Richard Childress in your ear when an incident happens. He’s not the owner that’s going to talk you down. He’s just as fired up as you are probably. What was that like inside the car?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah. I mean, it’s good. It’s cool. You know, Rick would get on the radio just a little tiny bit when I was at Hendrick, and then Joe, he never got on the radio. I think they disconnected his button. A long time ago they did that.
But yeah, Richard, I know he’s prone to key up a little bit here now and again. That was fine. He come on the radio and he goes, he just flat out drove through you, and I’m like, well, what do you want me to do about it?
Trust me, I started behind him a couple times on restarts and never really got a great chance. I probably could have, but it was more important to go forward than retaliate. I don’t think there’s a lot of others that thought that way. Look at where they finished.
Q. Austin, did you and Bubba get a chance to talk before you came in here?
AUSTIN DILLON: No, uh-uh. I’m sure we will. I hate it for him because he was really good. We were a little better on the long run and I got by him pretty clean the first time, and I chose to restart there behind Martin thinking that if we could get off 2 and then I could just race, but it just doesn’t go that way.
You’re just getting beat and beat, and then when we went through 1 and 2, I mean, I got crossed up. I thought I was going to wreck into the inside wall and I got hit, and my spotter told me, release the brake, release the brake, got shoved all the way to the third lane outside.
So after that he said, three wide, I think, one time, two wide, and then, I mean, yeah, I was probably pretty frustrated at that point.
Q. Bubba got hit in the back of the car early in the race and he complained over his radio. He said, hey, NASCAR, it still hurts, with some expletives. I’m wondering if you guys took any hits in the back and what it felt like, if it felt any better, worse, different, anything?
KYLE BUSCH: I mean, truthfully, it didn’t really feel much different at that speed and just the bumper car action that you get through the middle of the corner. Yeah, like Austin said, when you get hit a few times, your head is getting jacked into the back of the head rest and you’re getting the whiplash effect. But what the damage to the cars looks like front and rear, underneath, you have no idea, but it’s still a brunt of a hit.
But if we had the old cars that we used to have, nobody would have a radiator left. I think half the field would be parked in the infield. Might not be a bad thought, but get some of those squirrels out of there, but yeah, it’s a necessary evil to the fronts, for as hard of a shots as some of the guys were taking, Bubba’s bumper, you could see the damage that he had to it, so he might have been one of the ones that got hit the hardest.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, it still doesn’t feel good. I think the positive part is NASCAR has showed us things that they’re trying to do to help that area of the car, for the low speed impacts, the lower speed impacts. We’re making progress. That’s the biggest thing.
Q. I just want to clarify, so you feel like there were so many more cautions tonight because the field was so much more even and the only way to pass someone was to move somebody out of the way? That’s the primary reason?
AUSTIN DILLON: I would say yeah. Everybody has learned a lot from last year. There was quite a bit of bad cars last year.
KYLE BUSCH: And I’d be one of them.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, the 19 is a great example, last to first. When the field is that tight and you have a little bit of advantage, the only way to do something is to kind of — you can try and cross them up, but then they can pinch you down the straightaway here, and then you’ll lose whatever run you had.
THE MODERATOR: Austin, Kyle, congratulations on your medals. Great run. Appreciate your time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports