KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BEING BACK AT A TRACK THAT YOU'VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS LIKE BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY? "It's great to be back at Bristol. This is one of the fun tracks on the circuit that challenges...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BEING BACK AT A TRACK THAT YOU'VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS LIKE BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY? "It's great to be back at Bristol. This is one of the fun tracks on the circuit that challenges you every day and try it again because you never know if you have this place conquered or not. With the new configuration, it's settling in to its third or fourth....or second or third year. It's definitely a different animal at Bristol. It's not the old rough and tough, chew you up and spit you out track, which it will still do. There's low groove, high groove...you have to work on your race setup to be able to race around other cars. It use to be just single file, but now that cars are side-by-side and can run low or run high, you have to work on your setup that much more."
WHAT DID YOU NAME THE VICTORY LAP? "We've had just a tremendous response to race fans emailing us, texting to the front office and calling in...it's been a fun promotion that I didn't know would take the legs that it did. We had more than 10,000 individual suggestions received all through kurtbusch.com. With all the phone calls into the office, my assistant was throwing things at me when she first saw me because she didn't realize how much response we would get. We want to send all the winners a gift package with the Kurt Busch swag and some items telling them 'thank you' for entering. The word that came up the most was 'unwind'. We had 61 entries containing the word 'unwind' and that will be the Grand Prize winner... the 'Unwind Lap' is what we're going to announce is what we have for our in-reverse victory lap. It was first submitted and received on Thursday, March 12 at 9:41 a.m. by an individual named Andy Kane. He is our winner. So we don't have any other information on Andy other than his email address. So we're going to round him up and send him some nice swag versus the other guys. Sixty-one total guys sent in stuff with 'unwind.' The official Reverse Victory Lap is the 'Unwind Lap'. With everybody at Miller and Penske trying to kick in, we didn't want it to be too tagged and abrupt around Miller. I do want to say that 61 guys made a good call in saying the 'Unwind Lap'. So with that, that's what we named it. Hopefully we'll get a chance to tear up reverse gears all over the nation this year with some wins. I had no idea that the car would go that fast in reverse around the race track. I had a blast with it. It's fun to be able to win these races, but at the same time, the 'Unwind Lap' stands for a day when you had a great day at the office, you're looking to unwind, kick your feet up and have a beer."J
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT IN QUALIFYING TODAY? "This evening session is going to be tough like it has been all year for us. What we have is about 10 changes going into the car right before qualifying, so it keeps us anxious this next hour where we stand. Will it be a good lap? Will it be a tough lap? We don't know. So we'll see how things shake out. The car was loose on entry and tight in other spots. We're just trying to find the right combination and with an hour-and-a-half, it seemed like it was limited track time."
HOW HARD WAS IT TO DO THE VICTORY LAP IN ATLANTA? DO YOU THINK THAT YOU COULD PULL IT OFF HERE AT BRISTOL? "Bristol...most of the fenders are going to be tore off it anyhow, so if I run into a fence, it will be alright. It's good times when you get a chance to go to Victory Lane. The thought that I had was, 'just put the white line in the mirror and use that as my guide.' So, the car is definitely not set up to go in reverse I know that."
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO A REVERSE VICTORY LAP? "I wanted to do it after hanging out with some buddies one night. A guy said...we were drinking some Miller Lites and he said, 'Do a reverse victory lap.' I'm like, 'It's already been done. Alan Kulwicki started that back in the 80s, where have you been?' He says, 'No, do it "in" reverse. Reverse gear.' Then a light bulb went off in my head and I'm like,
I don't know how hard this is going to be. I figured reverse gear would get stripped out of it and it made it all the way around a mile-and-a-half. We're ready for Talladega if we can get it (a win) there."
COULD YOU HAVE FORSEEN THE SUCCESS YOU AND YOUR BROTHER WOULD HAVE IN CUP RACING? "I always thought that Kyle was a great driver at anything that he jumped in. He found success at either the first or second race at any racing division. Coming up through the ranks, we both had my father who really taught us everything we know about race cars. My dad, Tom, was there for me and when Kyle was starting out; I almost felt like a father figure or mentor to Kyle as well, teaching Kyle the things that I learned. Kyle really had two guys teaching him things. I was current and active out on the track with him. It was just a matter of time for him to find his way to the Cup level like he did. The thing that is always forgotten because of our baby faces is that he's seven years younger and there was that time difference... me racing in one division and him racing in another. We never raced against each other much until we made it to the top level. So, it's been a blast. When I got to this top level, I just always promoted him, helping him get through the ranks and telling them, 'If you thought I was good, wait to you see him,' because he is that good."
AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR RACING CAREER DID YOU REALIZE THAT TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU HAVE TO DO MORE THAN WHAT YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF THE CAR AND IT'S DEPENDENT ON THE COMPANIES AROUND YOU? SPONSORS AROUND YOU? WAS THERE A MOMENT WHEN THAT LIGHTBULB WENT OFF IN YOUR HEAD? "I can't say that there was one point in time when that light bulb went off. As a new guy on the circuit, it's all about me for sure. You always think that you are the hottest stuff out on the track and nobody else is even out there. You're doing everything, but you realize you can't win every race and it's tough in this league and you go through those tougher years that help spell out that it takes a team effort. When you realize what tough times are and then you get back to those good times, you know that it's the group around you that's helping you get to that point, not just yourself driving. I think the fact that you go through good years and bad year helps you learn lessons in life. I think that understanding that the group in Detroit...the Big Three...are going through a tough time right now. It's always in the back of your mind. 'What can you do to help somebody that's down and out a little bit right now?' With their commitment and valuable expertise, you know that they are giving all that they can, it's just up to the rest of us to try and give back. Wins don't happen every week. I felt that it was a great stage to stand on and say that 'I drive a Dodge Charger and I want you to go drive a Dodge Charger'; That was just something whole-heartedly felt that I needed to do for them (Dodge). Obviously we have other sponsors in Miller and Mobil 1 and Lennox, Snap-On...everybody. If I had my opportunity, I would put Dodge second behind Miller Lite to get some mention out of that last week, and it worked out great. Mike Accavitti was in a motorsports meeting with Bob Nardelli that next Monday, so that saved Mikey's job probably for a little while (laughs)."J
-credit: dodge motorsports