KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) YOU'RE COMING OFF AN IMPRESSIVE WIN TWO WEEKS AGO IN ATLANTA. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO BRISTOL? "It feels good to be back at the track, especially on an oval track. I spent my off week at a...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
YOU'RE COMING OFF AN IMPRESSIVE WIN TWO WEEKS AGO IN ATLANTA. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO BRISTOL? "It feels good to be back at the track, especially on an oval track. I spent my off week at a straight race track down at the Gator Nationals (Gainesville, Fla.). I had a lot of fun with our Dodge Challenger. To win at Atlanta on an off week the week before, you get to carry that all the way through for an extra week. It's neat for the guys and our sponsors, for everybody to enjoy. Not only winning on an off-week, but winning early in the season does a lot for us to bump the whole atmosphere at Penske Racing. To know that we've done good things during the offseason and then of course, to quiet some of the critics knowing that we were going to be the only Dodge team out there, that felt great to get them to victory lane.
"And then our new promotion that Miller Lite and Dodge have this year...when I win, somebody wins a Dodge Challenger. So that's really neat to see the two sponsors come together to try and distribute more beer and help sell more cars. In this case, giving away a car. It was really neat. I had a great off-weekend racing our car in the Super Gas division. I build a 1970 Dodge Challenger. It rain most of the weekend. I finally made a pass on Sunday morning. I qualified it at a 9.94 (second). In the division (Super Gas) you have to run a 9.90 index, so we were pretty close. The car didn't take the adjustment that we made for the elimination rounds. We needed to add two pounds of boost and the car didn't take the two pounds of boost (laughs). It was fun driving the car and thinking about something completely different and enjoying it as a car owner. Enjoying the Gator Nationals as a spectator with close friends and enjoying it with some Miller Lite's as well.
"Back here in action at Bristol. We had a decent practice here today. I've won here five times, but none of that means anything. You have to go out there and know that you're only as good as your last race here at Bristol. We finished top 10 here in the fall. We're looking to bump that up and give our Miller Lite Dodge a shot at the pole today and see what we get in tomorrow's practice for race trim."
CAN YOU REFLECT ON STEVE ADDINGTON GETTING YOU TO VICTORY LANE? HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR BROTHER KYLE ABOUT YOU WINNING WITH HIS FORMER CREW CHIEF? "Getting Steve to victory lane was something special. You could see it in his face afterward and in his remarks in the media center at Atlanta. He didn't want to rub it in or say anything directly, but in his mind and the way that he departed Gibbs Racing, and the way that he jumped over with us at Penske, where you're moving from a program to another, you never know what to expect. You don't know all the uncertainties and he trudged his way through all of that during this off season. To see him win before the 18 car won was big in his mind and I was happy to help deliver that. He's a smart crew chief. He's going to be in this garage for a long time and the way that we've started off, I hope this relationship can go as many years as it can. As far as Kyle, yeah, he texted me. He wanted to know if it was my setup from last year or Addington's setup and I texted him back and said, 'Honestly, it was a little of both.'"
DID THE WIN EASE SOME OF YOUR CONCERNS SURROUNDING THE MOMENTUM YOU HAD COMING OFF OF LAST SEASON? "Again, it gets back to that feeling of you have somebody new calling the shots. Steve was with one team and switched to another and so there's always that uncertainty in the back of your mind at one time. You try and push all that aside and go and work each and every day the best that you can. Yeah, it's great to win early on. Atlanta has been a good track to me recently. It's a feel that you get out on the race track, yet Steve taught me some new things to bolt on to the car to use. That's where the driver leans on the crew chief sometimes and the crew chief leans on the driver to do it. Again this weekend, Steve's one of the winningest crew chiefs here at Bristol recently. It's good to have him on my side."
WHAT DID YOUR THINK OF THE TALLADEGA TEST? ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE PACKAGE THAT YOU ENDED UP WITH OR DO YOU EXPECT TO HAVE LOTS OF CHANGES? "I think NASCAR will choose the right gear, restrictor plate and spoiler size based off of our test. The last run that we made, maybe the spoiler was a little bit too small. The gear ratio is still a question. It will be interesting to see what they come back with (to Talladega). The restrictor plate size, I think that they're happy as far as the speeds are concerned. We'll see how it shakes out. No matter what they throw at us, you have to be able to adapt to whatever they give you. The team that does it the best usually winds up in victory lane. Overall, I was pleasantly happy with the results towards the end of the day. When we first started drafting practice, speeds were a bit excessive and the drag was up too much and the closing rate was too excessive. They calmed all that down and it seemed like a decent package at the end of the day."
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THIS TRACK IS SO STREAKY? "A package at Bristol seems to last a little longer than normal packages and that's why you can get streaky here. There's things that I remember from all the race winning cars that I've had (at Bristol) that you always put in your back pocket, that you always take with you that you want to incorporate in your current-day setup."
WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT NASCAR SHOULD DO WITH ALL THESE WINGS THAT THEY HAVE LEFT? "Me and (Greg) Biffle raced each other this past Thanksgiving weekend over the off season. I've got an old Crown Vic, he's got a Chevy Caprice and we go dirt racing on an eight-mile dirt track. I put a wing on for rear downforce. That's about all they're going to be good for is the aesthetic look. I don't know if they'll serve any purpose anymore."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE MATURED AS A DRIVER IN TERMS OF TRYING TO STAY AWAY FROM ON-TRACK CONTACT/SITUATIONS? "There's always the chance to over-drive the car and then there's the chance to drive it smart. Once this sport slows down, you're able to absorb everything that's going on around you. When you're a new guy and you're running into guys, it's just because that you're not keeping up with how quick you have to adjust to everything. And that calms down for everybody once you get more time behind the wheel. Me and Jimmy Spencer just had a clash on our personalities. In reference to guys like (Brad) Keselowski and his issues, he's having an easier time driving the Nationwide cars right now and he's struggling a little bit trying to find his niche in the Cup car. That will begin to develop for him and won't be as raw and rough-edged as you see it right now because he'll have a better time handling the car in the upcoming months."
-source: dodge motorsports