THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by tonight’s second-place finisher, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 8, and driver of the No. 12 Ryan Blaney. We’re also joined by the driver of the No. 22, Joey Logano.
Q. Kyle, you’ve podiumed in all three of these. Why? Are you like the master of quarter-mile tracks or something?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I wish I was better, to tell you the truth. Second, third, second kind of hurts. I don’t know what it really is. It’s just tight nature, tight bullring kind of stuff, the things we all grow up doing with legends cars, late models, all that.
Always kind of enjoy getting back to those every once in a while whenever I can. Last year I remember I went up to New Hampshire and ran a late model race at a big quarter, small three-eighths mile racetrack and finished second there, too. This second stuff sucks.
Q. Ryan, could you have ever imagined having to take a provisional and coming all the way from last to where you finished on the podium?
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, the plan was not to take the provisional. Our group was pretty slow. I guess we just couldn’t go. So we were lucky we got in the race.
We did a good job all night just kind of staying clean, and our car was fast, too, to drive up through the field. A couple restarts went our way as to where our lanes went, and just had a shot. I got a terrible restart on the last one. Probably wouldn’t have won anyway, but came from a long way back, so it was fun. I think every time I’ve been I’ve been spun backwards about two or three times, so it’s not nice to have that one at the last one, so it’s good.
Q. In the last three years you have raced the Clash at the Coliseum. Is there anything in particular that you like about racing here?
KYLE BUSCH: I think it’s interesting. It certainly lends ourselves to a different demographic as well as a different venue, as well, and being in a stadium like this. Kind of opens up the box a little bit on where else we can do events like this. So I think that’s been a real test of whether or not we’re capable at these types of tracks.
It always kind of turns into a little bit of calamity there. It did a little bit there towards the end. We always kind of expect that. Fortunately for us we were on the okay end of it.
RYAN BLANEY: I agree with Kyle. It’s a different demographic, and the way they kind of pulled the trigger on today trying to get it in, I think that was really smart by NASCAR. Maybe it doesn’t show it in the stands just because of what it was, but it gets a lot of support, and then also to have the NASCAR México series here, too, is good, as well, to kind of grow their side. Just a neat area to do it in.
JOEY LOGANO: Just ditto a lot of it. I think it’s very entertaining. Sometimes it’s real frustrating when you’re out there because it’s a tight bullring and you’ve got big cars and they’re sliding around, especially on refires with all tires you’re sliding a lot.
But I know from rewatching races and sitting in the grandstands for one of the LCQs last year or a couple years ago, it was like, this is really entertaining to watch. It becomes pretty crazy at the end, obviously.
But you kind of see that. I think we were actually a little better than we were last year.
Q. Kyle and Ryan, since you were closest to Denny there on the final restart, what was going through your head there? Were you thinking about just knocking the crap out of him or anything like that —
KYLE BUSCH: It’s Denny. Yes. (Laughter.)
Q. Take me through that, I guess.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I got a decent restart on the final one, and then I got a pretty good 1 and 2. He kept having issues of left front lockup and sliding off the bottom pretty bad, so I knew that was going to open up the door for an opportunity, and I got to his side off of middle of 2, but I just never had any acceleration off the corners. I could not get my forward momentum started. So that was kind of my hindrance.
As bad as he was on entry, I was as bad on exit. If we could have had three, four more laps or whatever, I felt like I would have had enough to be able to get close enough to make a move.
You’re also — Blaney was really fast. He might have been better than I was, so I was probably going to have to play defense on him. So it was just going to have to see how it goes. But glad it ended when it did.
Q. Ryan, apparently you thought that Denny jumped the final restart?
RYAN BLANEY: Yeah, by a few feet. Obviously he kicked my ass on the restart so I’m going to say he jumped, but I thought it was a few feet early. It didn’t make a difference.
Q. If this was the last Clash at the Coliseum, how would you guys sum up this three-year experiment in south California?
RYAN BLANEY: I mean, I’d say it was a success, honestly. I think all three years has been received really well, and okay, the racing side can get a lot of chaos at points, but I think everyone enjoys it. Like the fans enjoy it, and it gets good coverage. I think it’s been a success. I don’t see any negative sides to it, really.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I thought it was net positive. I said that the first year we came out here that the old car would not have allowed for this type of track, but this car lends itself to having the opportunity to bump a little bit and not crush fenders and noses and tails and things like that. Overall what happens from here, where do we go, who knows, but if we can find other venues that will put us in, it would be pretty cool to do.
JOEY LOGANO: The experiment was a great success, and we proved that we can do it anywhere. I said it the first year we came here; it was a huge win for the sport. Now that we’ve raced at one of the most historic stadiums in the world, it’s pretty cool.
I think you can pick this up and place it somewhere else if you needed to or something completely different. We’ve done crazier things at this point. There’s dirt races. There’s little small tracks like this, street races. You name it, we can do it.
Q. Figuring that you’ve all seen the Netflix show, since these things are always so creatively edited, how do you think you each came across, and are you happy with it?
KYLE BUSCH: I came across amazing. I think I was the star of the show. How about you guys?
RYAN BLANEY: I loved watching you in it. I loved it.
Yeah, I thought it was pretty good and showed people a different perspective of — gave people a different perspective of the at-home life and then the pressures of the final 10 weeks of the year and the ups and downs and the positives and negatives. The playoffs are pretty brutal, and I think it put a lot of emotion on where these teams and drivers are at and whether you’re a die-hard fan or a brand new fan, I think it gives you something kind of neat to learn. Obviously I can say I like the ending because the ending was great. But I thought they did a good job with it, Netflix, and I hope it keeps going.
JOEY LOGANO: I wish they did it one year sooner. Of course he likes it. He won the championship, and it’s cool. I had a hard time after the second episode watching myself get knocked out of the playoffs again, and I can’t point I couldn’t watch anymore. I couldn’t handle doing it again.
But I will say it’s a huge win for the sport for sure when you see it there in the top 5 or so on the Netflix shows, and how many households that reaches can only be good. It seems like the response has been pretty positive. Really good. I wish it was one year before.
Q. Watching it from up high, it felt like the veteran guys like you guys were trying to walk the line of being aggressive and using the bumper but not so that you’re going to use up any favors that you need later in the year like for an exhibition race, but I felt like maybe some of the younger guys were a little more aggressive and may have gotten some little rivalries going. Is that in your mind as you’re making those moves? Are you trying to walk that line? Do you care? Is it expected that you’re going to get moved and have to bump people out of the way?
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, you try. The racing is usually an eye for an eye more times than not, or trying to come out with some explanation of what happened. Mistakes are mistakes. Here obviously lends for a lot of things, and I’ve been on both ends of it. I got Kyle last year, so —
KYLE BUSCH: I still owe him.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, he does. It’s part of racing here, and you try not to because you know, yeah, there’s bigger races down the line, but sometimes you’re in a bad spot and you just make a mistake. That can happen, too. Or it’s just flat-out aggressive in doing that type of stuff. I don’t know.
KYLE BUSCH: There was a couple moments there, I was running with Truex, and he was behind you, and he was holding up the line, and then he kind of got a little bit of separation and then Truex kind of was holding me up a little bit, and I got a couple good runs off of the corner to make up just — and then bombed him and tried to do it early enough on the straight away that then he was like, okay, it’s happening, and just concede the position.
It depends on who you’re running with. A lot of those guys don’t — they probably haven’t learned any respect over the years in the series that they race, and it’s kind of found its way to our series, unfortunately, on times.
Q. Knowing how aggressively people drive here, do you try to prepare for this race by intrinsically telling yourself —
KYLE BUSCH: That’s a big word. I don’t think we know what that word means.
Q. Do you try to convince yourselves not to get too upset when people bump you and bang you?
JOEY LOGANO: None of us went to college, man.
KYLE BUSCH: Yes, you’ve kind of come in here with the right mindset. You do your homework and you do your study and stuff like that. If you watch the races from the years before, you see that it’s a little bit like that. So you just have to be mindful that it’s going to happen and not lose your cool and not have your helmet fly off and just keep working and repay the favor if needed.