ANNOUNCER: They're not going to act like teammates. I don't think they care that they're terammates in this situation. Side by side as they come back to the stripe. Kyle Busch on the inside. It's a drag race. They wreck behind him. Kyle Busch will win.
REPORTER: So here is the Survival of the Paperclip. It's the second career win at Martinsville for Kyle Busch. He advances to the Championship 4, and along the way he led 184 laps.
And now we welcome in Kyle Busch, the winner, from Martinsville Victory Lane. Kyle, we know every race at the Cup level is very intense, but it seemed like this time around the intensity level was so much higher.
- Especially the last 35 laps of this race, it certainly was. You know, when that caution came out, I knew it was going to be chaos ensuing. So, you know, we just had to make sure that we mind our P's and Q's and did the best we could to keep our nose clean. There was a chance there, when we got into Joey and everything that happened with that, you know, I was trying to make a hole and trying to get through there and just kept getting chopped a little bit.
So unfortunate circumstances kind of led to that caution, but in all honesty, we just were trying to fight for a win and try to fight to get ourselves back up there a little bit. We were running fourth of that time. From there, we just set our sights on trying to win the thing, and it just kind of seemed like the seas kept parting and everything kind of kept going our way there at the end.
REPORTER: Kyle, the overtime restart. It appeared you didn't get the best restart that you could get right there. Were you a little surprised that your teammate Denny Hamlin overdrove the corner and just opened up the bottom for you, talking about the seas parting?
- Yeah, exactly. You know, you're right. I didn't get a good restart. I wanted to be on his outside, and I figured we could race it out, race it out hard and clean, and I would probably be on his outside, and we would just kind of race around there for two laps. But I didn't get a very good restart. I got clear off of turn 2.
Fortunately, I was able to get in that hole, and then getting out and in turn 3, Denny just got off in there, and his car just didn't turn. He washed up the racetrack. And I knew I had to plug that hole as quick as I could because, you know, that 78 was going to be coming behind me, or the 14 or whoever.
And they were going to drive through me. They weren't going to care about me, either, you know. It was all about race racing for a win at that point.
So coming to the white flag and seeing the white flag in your windshield, you know you've got to go for it. So, from there I washed up in turn 1. I got on the brakes and wheel-hopped and didn't mean to do that, and get Danny way out of the groove. And that probably hurt him a little bit. But, you know, we were able to race the 78 back to the start-finish and score a win here today.
REPORTER: Kyle, obviously with this win, you are locked into the Championship 4. Two years ago, in 2015, you only won one playoff race. Now, it was the most important, Homestead-Miami Speedway. Now in seven playoff races, you have already won three. How different do you feel now, after seven races, versus the first seven races back two years ago?
- I mean, I feel really good about it. I feel like our team's really gelling. And I feel like everybody on this M&M's Caramel team-- Today's Halloween, so I better tell everybody, don't forget your candy and get your candy for Tuesday for Halloween. But overall, you know, I've just been real proud of everybody on this team. They've been doing a great job. We've had really fast race cars all year long.
Everybody's talked about how it's been the 78 and the 18 and the 42, and now it's the 18 going to Homestead with the one that only has his ticket punched. So a great opportunity for us to go race for a championship again. I really love going to Homestead. We were really fast there a couple of years ago. So we know that we need to be fast there again this time around.
- Hey, so Kyle, with the point system this time around, we know you're in that Championship 4, and it's a little bit different than the other rounds because there's not as much to gain. Does that change at all the way you and your team approach these next couple of races?
- Well I think the biggest thing for us that we can do is, we can allow ourselves to breeze on through the next two weeks, if we keep winning, and allow the anxiety level of all the rest of these guys to keep amplifying each and every stage, each and every race, and to keep them on their toes of whether or not they're going to advance or not.
And if they all have to race for points and race for positions, that's just going to make it harder for them. So anytime anybody automatically punches their way through, that just gives them a breather. That just gives them that extra opportunity to work on Homestead and what you need to focus on for that.
- Well, Kyle Busch, congratulations. You're in the Championship 4. Best of luck running for the championship.