Bristol II: Pole winner interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Pole winner "We started out practice today and the car was really underneath me. It gave me that confidence to go for the pole. We'd never had that shot before, so it felt cool. This is one of the...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Pole winner

"We started out practice today and the car was really underneath me. It gave me that confidence to go for the pole. We'd never had that shot before, so it felt cool. This is one of the few times I've qualified in the top five here at Bristol. I've always had to come from behind. This will be interesting how the race will play out for us. You can always have a flat tire and go straight to the back and have to work your way back through traffic. This is cool for the Miller Lite team to have four poles and to be able to do it on a short track, a road course and a speedway. It's been a trifecta, so it's been pretty cool."

HOW DIFFERENT WAS THE TRACK TODAY FROM THE SPRING?

"It's incredible how different the track is today. I can't ever remember it being this hot for a summer race. It's 50 degrees warmer ambient temperature. The track temperature has got to be 80 degrees different, and it was very loose today. Most of the teams were finding that in qualifying. The guys who went late in qualifying like Bobby Labonte and I think Hamlin and then Jeff Burton almost bumped us. It was fun to dodge all those bullets, but I think they learned they needed to tighten their cars up. For us, it's great we got a pole. I felt like we had a car capable of doing it and we pulled it off. It'll be a great starting spot for us."

WHY HAVEN'T YOU QUALIFIED WELL HERE?

"I guess I'm teamed up with a group that can qualify now. We've had some great runs this year and one of the best average starting positions at all the tracks so far. Qualifying here is definitely tough because if you miss it just a little bit there's 20 guys between you and the first-place guy. My little brother asked me a ton of question today and went out there to qualify, slipped up just a little bit and I think he's 25th or so. That's what it takes, to hit that perfect lap and to have a car capable of doing it and I had that today."

COMMENT ON YOUR CHANCE OF MAKING THE CHASE

"We look at it as an opportunity to race hard and go for the win here this weekend at Bristol. I also look at the next upcoming weeks as tracks I've won on in the past. California Speedway and Richmond, I won the fall race there last year. That's a cool trophy, but the better trophy is obviously to run for The Chase. Our chances are very slim, but we haven't given up. We're running very hard. We attack each week like it's the last week or it's the first week and we don't need to screw up. We hope these next few races we can turn things around and start motoring toward the momentum at the finish for us, just a nice solid run toward the end of the season and we'll be ready to rock and roll."

WHAT'S THE SECRET AT BRISTOL?

"Maybe I gave it up before, just being cool. You have to be cool during the race. There are so many adrenalin-packed things that happen at Bristol, whether it's guys bumping into you from behind or guys checking up three or four cars in front of you and you running into them or getting pushed into them. On pit stops if you go backward you can't get excited. You've just got to let everything roll off your shoulder, be happy-go-lucky and work yourself into position. Obviously the key thing to win races here is to have a fast race car, and I think I've got that with the Miller Lite Dodge."

IS PATIENCE THE ULTIMATE VIRTUE AT BRISTOL?

"It definitely is. To be able to survive at Bristol, I get to talk a lot about Bristol because it is my favorite and I've had some success here. It's always tough because I don't want to give away certain small things that I do, not that I think it's anything special except for the fact I try to protect my racecar. I try to make sure the nose stays clean. I try to make sure the right side stays clean. If there's a wreck in front of me, I try to bail out as quick as I can, out of the general path of the cars so I don't get collected from behind. So that's something I'm consciously worried about almost every lap. Some laps during the race, some sequences I see where you can hammer down, gain some spots and get yourself in position to win. If you want to win at Bristol, you mainly protect your car. Usually a good-looking car goes to victory lane."

GENERAL COMMENTS

"It was on the edge and it was fast. We've had a lot of good finishes here, but this is the best start we've ever had. Some people come here to survive and others come here to race. Those that survive usually do well in the race. I think we're going to have a good car in the race. This is Rusty, and it's the car we won with here in the spring. The track is different, but Rusty didn't give up much. I think we've got a good shot to win tomorrow night. It looks like the same people will be starting up front again, so it's going to be another wild night under the lights Saturday night.

"Burton was right there, and I knew I'd left a little on the table out in turn three just because the track was so hot today. It was hard to get hold of it. I'm real proud of my team and (crew chief) Roy McCauley. The Miller Lite Dodge was fast enough for the pole today. We've got to work on it a little for tonight and make sure we're dialed in for the night race at Bristol. I look at it as I've been fortunate here, and I've had a good amount of success in a short time. I don't ever think I can do it again. I tell myself each time that maybe I got lucky last time and maybe I should try to learn something this time. I pretty much go through the same routine each time. The car handles this way and I adjust it. It doesn't work so I go right back where I started. It just helps to have a good car like I have right now, driving Rusty around the racetrack."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte