Toyota Racing - NCS Pocono 2 Post-Race Report - 06.27.21
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Mini’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing--Finishing Position: 1st--I don't know where to start with this one. Kyle Busch winning at Pocono. Have you ever had a more bizarre win in your life? Stuck in fourth gear for a hundred some laps.--“Yeah, stuck in fourth gear. About out of gas (laughter). Just saving, just riding, playing the strategy the best, we could with what was given to us. Just can't say enough about everybody on my team, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota, TRD, all the work they're putting in. Sometimes these races aren't always won by the fastest car, but I felt we had the fastest car. Even though we were in the back and behind and having to come through and persevere through being stuck in fourth gear, no clutch, all that stuff. It's all burned out. Nothing left in this M&M's Minis Camry. It was awesome today. Thanks to Rowdy Energy, Interstate Batteries, Stanley, Rheem, everybody that works on this car. A lot of our M&M’s friends are here today, so it’s really cool to have them here back at the track. Thanks to Rowdy Nation, all the Kyle Busch fans up there supporting and pulling for us. Really great to pull off another win here at Pocono. Feels good.”
At one point you were like, should we pack it up and head home today? At what point did that switch for you?
“You know, I don't know. You don't know, you know? The biggest thing was trying to time the restart right. Leave pit road, come back around, be at full speed by the time the field takes the start/finish line. We were a little bit off on that. We were from here to pit road off on that. That's about all we could do. That's all you could think about doing in that situation, just thinking through any opportunity and obstacle that's on you. That's just what we did. Again, great job to my team. Thanks to Ben Beshore (crew chief). Thanks to Matt (Tyrrell), the fuel guy for getting it full. That's a big important one today. Really great to take home another checkered flag.”
What a day, team effort. You’ve overcome some obstacles in your day, but anything you overcame today?
“No, I don’t’ think so. Sometimes you have to have a little bit of luck on your side, and today, we had some luck on our side. It felt good. I think the biggest thing this week – everything was second, and if that was all we had for today, we will take it. It’s pretty cool to win up here at Pocono. It’s such a tough racetrack and all of the guys and everyone in this package, it’s so hard to pass sometimes. We had to fuel save that whole last run to be able to get everything we could out of that gas tank. No clutch, no leaving pit road, extended time on pit road – to come back and be at full song by the time the field went green, that was an ordeal. I don’t know. Thanks to M&M’s Minis, Rowdy Energy drink, Interstate Batteries, Toyota, Stanley, Sport Clips, the fans of course – Rowdy Nation – all of those guys up there. My family, (son) Brexton, (wife) Samantha – they are here too, so I will celebrate with them.”
When did you knew that you had a shot?
“I knew that we had a shot when they let me go. In chasing Denny (Hamlin), I was trying to figure out – well, I saw the 24 (William Bryon) pit, and I’m like okay – it’s now a race between the 11 and I. I was running him hard just to try to get him short and get him to run out. When he pitted, we were coming to the light. I’m like it’s going to be close, it’s going to be really close. I fuel saved the whole rest of the end – the last lap – and was able to make it. It never stumbled on the cool down lap.”
Talk about the effort you and the team have put in to bring good racecars to the track.
“Pocono, we just have a good package for. We built on something back in 2015, and we just kept building on it. The aero package has changed, everything changes, so you have to stay on top of it. The overall baseline stuff that we work off of is really, really close. We were fast, yeah, we had great speed. The car was good yesterday. The car was great today. We did some things to try help our corner speed and our longevity in the front tires. Not sure we really hit on that, but it was enough for today with the circumstances in the end. We started last there on that last run, and we won this thing.”
BUBBA WALLACE, No. 23 DraftKings Toyota Camry, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
How huge is a top-five finish for your group?
“It’s big. A lot of confidence for myself which is huge. It came down to fuel strategy there, but I appreciate Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief), J.R. (Houston, engineer), Freddie (Kraft, spotter), telling me what to do – 80% there, 60% here, the whole time. It got so annoying, but it worked out. That’s what it takes. It takes a team effort to pull off this. Great day for us. Great day for DraftKings – their first race is the first top-five for our team. That makes you want to resign, but all-in-all, really good day. Really good weekend for us. We knew that we had the speed. Bossman was here – MJ (Michael Jordan) was here. We had the whole staff out, so it was a good day. Good weekend.”
How were you able to save enough fuel?
“Having the right people on top of the box. Freddie (Kraft, spotter), Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief), J.R. (Houston, engineer). They were just telling me 80% here, match lap times with the other guys. I knew we were in a worse position than the 18 (Kyle Busch), so we were just racing our race and I was doing as best as I could. But all-in-all, really solid weekend. Great race for DraftKings in their first race on our Camry is the first top-five for our team. That’s a little pen to the paper action to get them to resign, but all-in-all, just happy with how the weekend went. Smooth sailing for the most part today. It was a little bit tricky. Perseverance. We got through it, and I’m proud of everybody.”
What can this finish do for you going forward?
“We wanted the Playoffs when we started the season. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We know that we are in a hole, but it’s finishes like that, that we have to capitalize on the speed in our cars. Today shows what we can do. We’ve got to keep up the momentum.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.