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2013 Texas NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing - Q&A

I think back to last year at the end of the year, Kyle probably had some of the most bitter disappointments, I think, that's happened to us in 22 years. We missed the Chase. We had Watkins Glen and won, go to the last lap and get in somebody else's oil. We had some issues mechanically during the year that cost us.

I think last year at the end of the year, Kyle really handled all of those things about as good as you could handle them. I think it showed real maturity, and I think that kind of set the course for this year, really. Dave and him went through some real tough things, and they have -- I think they have some of the most frank conversations, and they'll both get fired up and get after each other. But I think that's all part of sports.

When I think about it, it's like in football, the coach and the quarterback. You can have some sparks, but it's neat to see the way they've handled all of that this year to get off to the kind of start the way we have right now. I just told Kyle, whatever you're doing, keep doing it (laughing). We don't want to change anything right now.

I do want to say a big thanks to M&M'S. They're a big part of this program. Because this sport is unlike any other. You can't race without great sponsors. M&M'S is a great sponsor for us. They teamed up with Norm, and everybody likes Norm, so that's awesome. The other people that we've got on the car, Monster is on there, so that's great. We've got great partners. That's neat for us for Joe Gibbs Racing to have those kind of partners.

Q:
Dave and Kyle, and also for Coach, given what happened last year, and he touched on some of that, how important -- there is a long way to go in the regular season. But if you guys continue at this pace to get solidly entrenched in there, are you guys going to be more dangerous potentially in the Chase than you ever have been because of that pressure of trying to make it happen at Richmond just won't be there? How important is that for you to sort of keep this going until you stretch out a little bit from everybody else?

Kyle Busch:
Yeah, well, if it was for getting two wins last year, we would have made the Chase. That's what our year is all about. You have to be able to execute through the first 26 and get yourself a playoff spot and be able to go battle with the rest of the guys to be able to win a championship.

Right now, obviously, winning two races so far this year, you'd say that's a lock. But anything can happen. We've still got some work to do to get better at some of the tracks that we did struggle at last year, and we know that.

One is coming up next week, so that's going to be a battle for us just making sure we've got a good handling car and one that I can drive and push hard and make speed of because that asphalt is pretty new there.

But with last year's frustrations and everything and coming down to that race in Richmond, we didn't execute that as we needed to. But we learned from that one. We put that in the memory bank and we talked about it a lot. Through the last ten weeks I felt like we did a lot of things right, and there were probably a couple things we could have done even better yet.

We learned from those things and Dave and I talked a lot through those weeks and through the off-season. So what do we need to do to better execute the end of these races to put ourselves in a position to win and close them out like tonight and California, you know, being able to do that.

Dave Rogers:



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Joe Gibbs, team owner of JGR, speaks to the media during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour on January 24, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers talk about their #18 Snickers Toyota before NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. [Picture Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet, lead the field on pace laps prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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