This Week in Ford Racing March 23, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus, will be going for his third straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in this weekend's Food...
This Week in Ford Racing
March 23, 2004
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus, will be going for his third straight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in this weekend's Food City 500. Busch, who has won three of the last four Bristol events, recently spoke about his success at the half-mile bullring.
* Kurt Busch became the ninth different driver to sweep the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Bristol when he won the Food City 500 and Sharpie 500 last season. The other eight include: Rusty Wallace (2000); Dale Earnhardt (1987, 1985); Darrell Waltrip (1983, 1982, 1981); Cale Yarborough (1977, 1976, 1974); Richard Petty (1975); Bobby Allison (1972); David Pearson (1968); and Fred Lorenzen (1964).
* Busch has also put together a streak of three wins in four Bristol races, a feat also accomplished by Wallace, Earnhardt, Yarborough and Pearson. Waltrip holds the record of seven straight Bristol wins (1981-84) while Yarborough won four in a row (1976-77) and Lorenzen three in a row (1963-64). The last driver to win three straight at the track was Waltrip, who captured the third of his seven straight in 1982.
* Ford has won more races at Bristol Motor Speedway than any other track currently on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. Ford has registered 28 wins at Bristol while Atlanta, Daytona and Richmond follow with 27 apiece.
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus
YOU'RE GOING FOR THREE STRAIGHT AT BRISTOL. "It's a fun place to race and you have to go there with a different mindset more so than any other race track. It's just a matter of trying to keep the fenders and the doors on and with this new tire we're gonna be on pit road that much more often so we'll have to see how that shakes out."
DRIVERS LIKE WALLACE, EARNHARDT, WALTRIP AND YARBOROUGH HAVE ALL SWEPT RACES AND WON AT LEAST 3 OUT OF 4 BRISTOL EVENTS LIKE YOU. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INCLUDED IN SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS GROUP LIKE THAT? "It's an honor. There are a lot of names that have driven at Bristol and to win there is one thing, but to be able to win repeatedly requires a full team effort. It takes that knowledge on what to do on pit road or what to do inside the race car. Those are big names and I'm real honored to be in that group. Maybe we can do it again and maybe we can't, but it's just a matter of having everything go your way and having a little lady luck on your side."
HOW AMAZED ARE YOU THAT YOU'VE DONE SO WELL AT SUCH A VOLATILE TRACK? "It's a place where everything happens so quick you have to adjust to it. Everybody races in a fashion there where you're on an edge but you're not on an edge. The guy that can go the fastest at about a 90 percent level is the guy that's gonna end up out front at the end of the day. You have to know what your car is doing at the beginning of a run and at the end of a run and what adjustments to make, but I think the biggest thing is to not get in a hurry."
HAVE YOU BEEN MORE LUCKY THAN GOOD, OR BOTH? "I think we've been luckier than good some days, but then again you've got to have a fast race car to stay out in front and to produce those lap times. That's what it takes at the end of the race. When you've got that last run with 50 laps or 100 laps to go, you've got to be able to hit your marks and have the fastest car to stay out front."
WHAT IS THE ART OF GETTING AROUND BRISTOL? "I think it's because all four corners are different. You approach turn one differently than you do turn three and you have to be in a different position in turn two than in turn four, so it takes a wide variety of different types of wheel motions and throttle and brake positioning to know where you have to be on the race track. And then, of course, with the tires wearing out you have to adjust that throughout the race."
MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY IS THAT ONE OF THE MORE DEMANDING TRACKS? "It is. I grew up in the desert southwest with a little bit of training and being able to have that stamina at the end of the race. There are things that I do with the physical side and then with the nutritional side to prepare for that race. It's a tough race."