Atlanta II: Kurt Busch - Dodge Friday interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) "It's been an interesting Chase for the Miller Lite Dodge; competitive most every weekend up until Martinsville. I feel like that was our worst race this past week with where we finished and just how...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

"It's been an interesting Chase for the Miller Lite Dodge; competitive most every weekend up until Martinsville. I feel like that was our worst race this past week with where we finished and just how the day progressed. It's always tough when you blow a right front tire and get into the fence at Martinsville, because there is just no time to work on the car during the yellow flag pit stops because there are always cars that are going to come around and lap you. So, we just had to race the race; ended up with an inch and a half toe out in the car and just had to muscle our way through that. All in all, the outlook for us, three mile and a half race tracks coming up and we're going full throttle. We're going to try to pick up some wins, hold nothing back and go for it. There is nothing else a team would do at this point other than just run for the wins. So, a tenth overall is not where we want to be. We want to move up from there so what better way than to celebrate in victory lane with some good points."

WERE YOU SHOCKED BY THE INCIDENT BETWEEN CARL AND MATT AND DOES THE TEAM NEED A VETERAN LEADER? "I guess you are just assuming I saw the video. I did read in the paper there were 425,000 people that went to You Tube to check it out. I was one who didn't. I don't really keep up with who's into whose face and what's going on; I'd rather keep up with racing statistics. That use to happen in our sport. With the way "the Carl" is referred to in the Roush organization, because there is only one of them, he is "the Carl"; he seems to not be getting along with some of the other drivers that are over there. I've seen it all along with him. He'll give you that flashy smile but at the same time he's got something underneath his breath for you. Now it's just starting to appear. We'll just see how it goes. All those guys are great drivers. Jack has always let the drivers decide how they're gonna sort out their differences and that might not have been the best way to do things."

WHAT'S MADE THE DIFFERENCE THE LATE PART OF THE SEASON? "It's been quite a few things. You don't just have one thing that bumps you back into contention. You work aerodynamically on the cars. You work mechanically, like you were saying with coil binding and you get a better feel for where your crew guys are; who's really pulling strong and pulling hard and you ask for those guys that aren't to pull a little harder. A year and a half of work has gone into it. You're right, we've had some blown tires and two motor problems during the Chase. That's four out of six races. One was Martinsville where we missed the setup and the other was Talladega where we finished seventh. So, we're right there knocking on the door. What I think is next for us is bumping it up another notch and getting more competitive so that when we do have some small circumstances that pop up we're able to bounce back from them stronger such as the 24 and the 48. They're running so good right now that when they have small little hiccups you don't even notice it and they're right back in the top five at the end of the race.

"It's been great working though working with teammate Ryan Newman; his crew chief has developed this past year. Pat Tryson fit really well in our program. You can say we're hitting on all eight cylinders."

FIVE GUYS HAVE TALKED AGAINST CARL IS THIS A SECRET COMING OUT? "I really don't keep up that much with what people think; with what people think is a good guy or a bad guy. I live every day in the face of the fans eyes of 'wow you are really a nice guy. I thought you were going to be a _____', when they see me. That's what I live with every day. So, we'll see what happens with Carl here leading into the next few races. You just don't upset the veteran of the team which is Matt Kenseth. He's been there many years and he's put in long hours. And, whatever their beef is neither one of them has spun around on the racetrack, so it's really had to figure out where it's stemming from."

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR TEAMMATES TO BE FRIENDS? OR DO YOU HAVE TO BE FRIENDS? "That's a perfect question because there is so many ways to look at it in my mind. When it's just two guys, myself and Ryan Newman working at it every day you really have to be on the same page and the two really have to get along. It comes down to respect. You have to have a lot of respect for each other. You want to beat each other because you always want the best for your own team. But, if you're sitting there running 14th or 15th every week there's still that many teams that are beating you and if you have to work together to get to the top. Once you get to the top and you run one and two every week, that's when things can get a little interesting and I have been to that point. But, when you have five guys racing in the same program it almost feels like you have to appoint the leader and who is going to be the veteran of the group and who is going to be the young guys. So it's much harder to get five to work together as it is two. I feel like I have always been a team player whether it was with a guy like Mark Martin or whether it was with a new guy. When I was over there Carl was the new guy and I bent over backwards to help him, gave him advice just to see him do better because once he started doing better than that information from that team would mean more to our team. So, you have to look at it many different ways but when you get too many roosters in the hen house it could be a problem."

COMMENT ON SAM HORNISH'S PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLE FUTURE IN NASCAR? "It's been tough. I've expected more things from him and that Roy McCauley led team. Yet, he hasn't broke through to get into a race. We wore out laps on the pace car at Martinsville Friday morning while the rain was falling trying to show him the racing groove. Trying to tell him this was the breaking point, this is where you're going to struggle to get the car to turn. We made tons of laps and so I am really doing the most that I can to help him get him in these races. We talked about the racing line at Charlotte and where he needed to be. He felt like that track just didn't have grip for the banking level that it has and I said, 'well of course, because the tire we run on is very hard and you're not going to get that grip out of the tire'. So, I am teaching him tires, grip and just the different nuances of a cup car the best that I can."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Mark Martin