Mexico City: Winning team interview
KYLE BUSCH, No. 20 Doosan Infracore Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 1st How would you characterize your 2008 season? "It's a pretty phenomenal job by these Joe Gibbs Racing guys who do such an awesome job. I have to thank Doosan for ...
KYLE BUSCH, No. 20 Doosan Infracore Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 1st
How would you characterize your 2008 season?
"It's a pretty phenomenal job by these Joe Gibbs Racing guys who do such an awesome job. I have to thank Doosan for coming on board this week and Toyota for making it possible and it's just awesome to come down here -- everyone wants to come down to Mexico and win it. Only one guy gets to go home with the trophy so glad it's us."
Will you consider running the entire 2008 Nationwide drivers championship?
"The consideration is there but still it's one round and a race by race deal. I'm not going to let anything out of the bag quite yet - - I'm not even sure if there's anything left in the bag to let out. We've still got some races to fill but we'll make a decision here shortly. I love winning -- I'll win as long as we can win, that doesn't bother me one bit. Once again, I'd like to thank Doosan, Joe Gibbs Racing and all the guys back at the shop, everybody engine shop, trans and gear shop this week -- just awesome."
Tell us about your day in Mexico?
"Obviously it was a pretty good day. We ran up front majority of the race there. You know (Scott) Pruett had a little mishap there in turn four and I was able to get by him. It looked like his car was fading back a little bit, but our cars stayed pretty decent there that whole time. If I ran a clean lap I'd run a good enough lap where those guys couldn't get me. Luckily I built up a good enough lead because (Marcos) Ambrose was pretty good there at the end and I started choking a little bit. This Toyota was awfully strong."
When did you become the road racing ace?
"Bob Bondurant School also helped me out a lot. Every year I go there before we go to Sonoma. I didn't get anything before I came here. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing but I know I wouldn't stack up with the Cup guys when we get to Sonoma so I definitely need to get more road race experience here."
Was today's race a rough and tumble event?
"These guys were battling like it was coming to the end of the race, which it was but we don't have V-8 super cars and we can't body slam each other and take each other out. The 59 (Marcos Ambrose) spun two guys out on the restarts and somebody else spun the 6 (David Ragan) out and it was just mayhem. We had to keep making sure we missed all that stuff and got through it all. Luckily we were able to do it and keep our nose clean and made it here first."
What do you think about the Mexican audience?
"They were pretty pumped up. The whole day it started out a little bit slow because they didn't quite get to their seats by the start of the race. As soon as they heard the cars going around and lap 2 showed up when there was a caution and I looked up and was like, 'Man the stands are full.' It was pretty cool. There's a lot of enthusiasm out there and the fans are pretty receptive to me coming back down here and being able to win the race so that was pretty cool."
How was your race today?
"It was a good run for us. We had a road race out there and some pit strategy played into it towards the middle and end of the race in what was going to happen. We weren't exactly sure which way to go but stuck to our plan and what we originally anticipated was to pit at lap 12 and pit again at lap 44-46 and try to go the rest of the way from there. Luckily we didn't have to have a caution there at the end and didn't have a green-white-checkered. Marcos (Ambrose) was pretty good there at the end and was coming on a little bit. Fortunately I built up a little bit of a lead there where I could hold him off and got by (Scott) Pruett there with the little mistake he made getting into turn four smoking the tire. From there on out it was smooth sailing. I was trying to buy my time, hit my marks and make sure I didn't screw up anything to come home with the victory."
Were you getting frustrated with Scott Pruett at all and how long did you think it would take you to get by him?
"Road racing is a different game than oval racing is. You go down lower getting into the corners in order to take a guy's ability to get by you on braking. He did that a few times. I got on his outside and he forced me off into the grass. He was just blocking a little too much I believe. I think I understand now why he got dumped last year. If it came down to it, then it was going to be again. He smoked the tires and I was able to get by him clean and ran away from him and didn't have to deal with any body again. Marcos (Ambrose) was a little rough there, too. Boris (Said) was a little upset with that and I'm sure Kyle Krisiloff, who had a decent run wasn't too appreciative of that either. The 6 (David Ragan) got spun out by somebody else. There was just too much rough racing there at the end. Guys were not being cooperative at all and really over there heads."
Can you talk about this being your first-ever win on a road course in NASCAR?
"Obviously being able to win my first race on a road course, it's pretty special anytime. I'm glad it was down here in Mexico City. We had a great race. It was fun to be able to win on a road course because there are only certain guys who tend to be able to do it. My first year or year and a half, I just sucked and was terrible. I sort of picked up on it some how. More in 2006 and 2007 I really became used to it and learned how to do it. We should have had some better finishes at Watkins Glen in the Cup car a couple times and had a shot to win there a couple of years ago. To finally be able to get a win on a road course means a lot. It shows I'm capable of winning anywhere, I guess so that's pretty cool."
Have you done anything different in these three races you've won than what you did in the first six of the season?
"A little bit. I think there's been some more patience in these three races which is sort of proven dividends, I guess. In Nashville, I was leading the whole thing and just wanted to stay up front so I didn't have to pass Clint Bowyer further into the run and ended up screwing up and spinning myself out there. Fortunately these three races we've been pretty much mistake free. The guys on pit road have been awesome and flawless each week. Here again today they were pretty good about getting us out and getting us a gap built up on the pit stop even if a caution were thrown. They did a good job and they didn't get the recognition they deserved today. All in all, it's just down to smart racing and being able to be smooth and having a good car. Everybody thinks we're cheating or doing something -- when it comes down to it this Joe Gibbs Racing team is pretty up on top of their game and myself, I've been up on top of the wheel. With those two combinations put together it's hard to beat."
With your fuel strategy in today's race, did you want to come in with all those cautions?
"We were scanning (Scott) Pruett and heard he was coming in when he did. We thought about it for a second but we wanted to stick to our plan. It was just going too hard to try to make it on fuel, especially with our fuel game was going. There at the end when I got off track there on the front straightaway and then got into the door of Marcos (Ambrose) there on the front stretch there on that restart I bent my right front fender a little bit so I started getting tight. I wasn't able to make the maneuver's I wanted to make but was still able to get to the lead. I got behind Pruett there and got up to him but couldn't get the car to turn quite through turn seven like I wanted it to. It was pretty tight over there. Fortunately the fuel mileage game didn't really play havoc today on us and we came in where we wanted to and what we planned from the beginning of the race. If you stick to your guns, more times than not you're going to win these things and luckily today it worked."
Do you think the Mexican competitors are as tough as your NASCAR competitors?
"I don't think it's just the Mexican drivers. Obviously Marcos Ambrose who's Australian has been pretty tough on the road course and Patrick Carpentier who's Canadian has been pretty strong, too. I think it's just guys who have a road racing back ground that know how to put cars in the right spots in road courses. They're always really, really tough and luckily today we were that much tougher than they were and had that much better of a car than they did. We were able to get up there and win the race."
What do you think about using localized cautions instead of full course cautions?
"I don't exactly know what the reasoning's were for all cautions but I knew over there in turn eight there was oil down in that first caution and the car was in the fence. The No. 5 (Adrian Fernandez) spun out and hit the fence and there was debris. A couple of them were okay but I don't know what a couple of those cautions were for. I think the red car, I think it was the 86 (Antonio Perez) got stalled on the back stretch. It gets everybody all jumbled up and to me the No. 40 (Scott Pruett) was screwing up the field coming to restarts sometimes and waiting a long, long time before he went instead of going early. It got people all confused and when he waited so long it jumbled up the field so much everybody just went into turn one and wrecked. That's not very fun to do and luckily we were able to make it through there a couple of times. I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to win this thing or not -- if we were going to get tore up or not but fortunately we made it through there."
"When the 41 (Kyle Krisloff) spun out and when the 6 (David Ragan) got spun out over there, there were a couple of localized cautions but I don't know if NASCAR could have thrown a local caution with some of those because they needed to be full course cautions so they could get out there and pick up the debris."
DAVE ROGERS, Crew Chief, No. 20 Doosan Infracore Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How did today's race look from the pit box?
"This is crazy with all those restarts there and Kyle (Busch) does a great job. I'm pretty sure if anyone else was driving that thing it would come home wrecked. He did some off road racing to make it through there. Now that I got my nerves in tact, it was pretty fun."
What do you think about using localized cautions instead of full course cautions?
"We did have a number of localized cautions later in the race which I thought was good. We did have some yellows but without being able to see the whole race track you leave it up to NASCAR to make that call because all we have is TV monitors. I'm sure they made the right decision."
Is this the same car you won with a couple of years ago?
"No, this is a brand new car we built last year for Watkins Glen."
-credit: toyota motorsports
Mexico City: Marcos Ambrose race report
Mexico City: Rusty Wallace race report