Bristol COT test: Kurt Busch - Dodge interview

Kurt Busch Quotes on Dodge Avenger from COT Test at BMS Feb. 28,2007. KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger) COMMENT ON THE AVENGER AT BRISTOL "I believe the car definitely is unique. The way we've been trying to set up our Dodge...

Kurt Busch Quotes on Dodge Avenger from COT Test at BMS
Feb. 28,2007.

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)

COMMENT ON THE AVENGER AT BRISTOL "I believe the car definitely is unique. The way we've been trying to set up our Dodge Avenger has made it an interesting day. Whether you coil bind or you go stiff springs, real big rear springs, conventional springs... We started the day with a 1999 Rusty Wallace setup. That was interesting to get a baseline. We've flogged ourselves quite a bit today. Now we have an evening session. I think it's cutting into Miller Lite time right now, but we definitely need some more time on this track these next three hours. With the track cooling down it will be quicker, so we'll make some small adjustments for that. Overall, I think the car is a resounding success for all the teams and for the way it's going to put on a good race when we come back here next month."

YOU WERE VERY HAPPY WITH THE AVENGER AT DAYTONA. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT HERE? "It's the same Dodge Avenger we had at Daytona, so it's interesting how the car will eventually be capable of running at any style racetrack. It's just in the beginning stages of it now. It definitely needs a unique setup to get around this Bristol track. Your old notes, the way I've won a few races here, you've got to throw all that out the window and start all over."

WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSING ON TODAY? "Mainly just a lot of spring changes. We haven't really worked on big geometry changes. We're just trying to get the car in the ballpark so to speak and then we'll start to go with some big changes and find out if we have a tangent here or there. Right now we've had everything from a 3,000-pound spring to a 400-pound spring. Mainly we're just flogging away at any range -- diagonal, left or right, up or down, backwards. Any which way you can circle a crossword is what we're doing right now."

ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING WITH THE WINGS? "No, not really. The wing is a standard, given. The car wants as much downforce as you can possibly achieve. It's really just a given piece and you put it in the best angle for downforce."

ARE YOU UPSET THIS CAR IS AT BRISTOL? "It's not just here at Bristol. It's at all the short tracks. I consider myself primarily a short track racer. I've won races at Martinsville, Richmond, New Hampshire, Phoenix. Dover is kind of more like a speedway. I finished second at Darlington, and I've been running well on road courses recently. That pretty much throws out where I've had most of my success out of the window. It's just an opportunity to try to drive a new vehicle and our Dodge Avenger seems to be capable of anything right now. You take the same car to Daytona and same car to Bristol. It's a clean slate, so who ever works the hardest and is the most determined and still continues to keep an open frame of mind will succeed in the end. I'm intrigued by it. It's a new challenge. It has 50 percent of The Chase races this year, so the car of tomorrow is very important."

DOES THE AVENGER FEEL LIKE A SPORTS CAR? "I wouldn't say it's got a sports car feel to it, but it has a front splitter, which is something that you would see on a road-course type car. Then you have the wing on the back, so you could hopefully have some cross over with the IRL guys on how they like to see the air flow over the car and hit that rear wing. We've got our work cut out for us with the aero side of it, but it mainly gets to the front-end geometry and how you protect that front splitter. You don't want to saw it off on the racetrack because you need that downforce. So the biggest portion of this car, the time will be spent on the front end of it trying to get it dialed in at each of the racetracks we go to. I definitely believe everybody that works on our stock cars are up and at 'em about this Dodge Avenger and what we have to do to be on top for the car of tomorrow races. We've got Ryan Newman, myself, our test program. We've run Sam Hornish at times. We're doing as much as we can and this test is great because we get to compare ourselves to the other cars of tomorrow out there."

SOME TEAMS THOUGHT THE SPLITTERS WOULD DRAG THE TRACK "Teams were smart and they were very conservative about things with not traveling too far and then knocking off the front splitter on the racetrack. I've noticed there is an adjustment for the splitter. You can have it out six inches or you can have it out four inches. I've noticed about 90 percent of the teams are at the four-inch mark. So what they've done they've tucked it closer back to the front axle line so it doesn't stick out as far and get knocked off on the racetrack. Teams are starting to go to big rear springs getting the car to look like door stops so to speak. The more you tuck that splitter in the less chance you'll have of knocking it off. The two inches is not as important as the whole thing being gone, so it just allows for more adjustment in the car when you bring it back closer to the front axle. It's interesting. That's where most of the teams are putting their focus around the front end trying to work with it. The rear wing is the rear wing. You're not going to take downforce out of the car. You're just going to try to get the car mechanically to handle better."

IS IT FUN TO HAVE THE NEW CHALLENGES WITH THIS CAR? "Absolutely. It's definitely something if you don't keep your mind open or you get frustrated with it easily, it'll take a long time for your team to get back in contention to win one of these races. It creates an environment where an underfunded team can come in and compete and I believe compete successfully with so many unknowns around this car right now. That's what we want, more independent owners and new drivers coming in and having a shot at victory. The car of tomorrow is doing that right now. It's so wide open. Who knows who is going to have the speed come race time?"

DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE MORE ADJUSTABILITY IN THE COT THAN THE TRADITIONAL CHASSIS? "That's a really good question. I don't quite have the right answer for that. With what we did today we've definitely narrowed down the region we need to work within. Of course with the current car we've run it for many years and the downforce with it and the way you adjust it is so widespread because you have more and more technology in the car to find speed in different areas. I assume the same thing will be done with the COT, but yet the templates and the tire restrictions really limit the teams. That's where it's hopefully going to change our sport for the better as far as cutting costs and have fewer cars in your fleet because there's less variance and everything is a bit more direct. You can fudge here and you can fudge there. The episode we had in Daytona might not have happened if we'd had the car of tomorrow stuff down there."

DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE AS CONFIDENT AS EVER WHEN YOU COME BACK HERE FOR THE RACE? "I just always get a spring in my step when we come back to Bristol. I enjoy this place like no other. There's the pump up you feel and you get it at some racetracks more than others. Let's face it, Pocono is exciting but it seems like it's a thousand-mile race every time we go there. At this place, 500 laps is definitely the hottest ticket in NASCAR. Bruton Smith should be very proud of Bristol. I feel privileged to have good cars and a chance to win here. You never know what can happen. You have to keep your mind on the game and not let past history dictate you're going to run well. You have to stay on top of things and make sure your setup is right each and every time."

IS YOUR CREW CHIEF, ROY McCAULEY AS HAPPY HERE WITH THE AVENGER AS HE WAS AT DAYTONA? "We're definitely excited about this car and what it can do for our team. All of the short track races are a different mentality that you have to bring when you want to set up this car. It's a new challenge. It's fun. The first race is at Bristol, and it's just like jumping into a full tank of sharks and swimming around with them. We'll see who comes out on top."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Sam Hornis