KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Winner NOTE: Busch scored his 15th career victory in his 189th career start on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was his fifth career victory at Bristol and his fifth in the past nine starts at...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Winner
NOTE: Busch scored his 15th career victory in his 189th career start on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was his fifth career victory at Bristol and his fifth in the past nine starts at the high-banked.533-mile track. It was Busch's first triumph in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger, and the win boosted him 11 spots in the series standings to 16th. He's now only 62 points out of 10th and 251 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. Busch's victory, the second straight for the Dodge Charger following Kasey Kahne's win last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, tightened the season-long manufacturers' standings after five races. Chevy leads Dodge 34-32. Ford is third with 29 points.
"We started off the race where I wasn't able to communicate with the team. We went through a quick little practice run where if I touched the A pillar the car was a little tight. If I touched the door it was a little loose. We ran with that all the way up to the red flag. Then during the red flag, that's when I was able to get the second radio out and talk into it on the mike, and that was the only way they could hear me. We had a rough day with that. We got a flat tire early in the day. That put us one lap down. We were able to race our way back and get the Lucky Dog and work our way through the pack, sometimes on the high side, sometimes on the low side. This is Bristol and this place is so much fun to race on. To have a car that has a legendary status here. I was humbled by the chance to drive it, let alone win with it today.
"It's a Penske tradition. When you win your first win, you name the car. I'm going to name this car Rusty. So forever chassis No. 90 will be referred to as Rusty because of how many wins he's had here. I don't have half as many as D.W. has had here, but to be able to win with the Miller Lite Dodge is fantastic. It was a tough day. A bunch of good cars finished in the top 10. Even 11th and 12th, there's Dale Jr. and Tony Stewart. It was a long day of battling with good guys and good cars all day."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH MATT KENSETH OUT THERE?
"The last restart, Matt got a great restart. It looked like I was sleeping. I chased him down lap after lap. We wore our tires out. We were out there for about a hundred laps. We wore our tires out with running too hard of a pace. When he got the lapped cars they wouldn't yield to him, yet he couldn't pass them because he wore out his tires. I was in the same boat. When I caught up to him he was real tight in the center of one and two. He got loose. I bumped into him a little bit and that was our window to go for the lead. If I was still a teammate with him, maybe I would have let him lift, but I was hungry to drive the Miller Lite Dodge into victory lane. Today was a big victory for us. This is the Bristol atmosphere of bumping and grinding. I've seen Jeff Gordon win many races here, and take a few races away from Rusty for that matter. That's part of Bristol. Next week is another short track."
"If we're leading and he's running second and he bumps me out of the way, I'd understand. That's what goes on, man. This racing is awesome. Fans dig it. That's the big thing about Bristol. You have to come to race hard. You have to be able to hoist up the trophy at the end of the day without any grudges."
COMMENT ON THE KEVIN HARVICK SITUATION
"I'd really like to put this down and ice this down really. Kevin Harvick is a guy, when he was sitting probably in these chairs the other day doing a press conference. Somebody talked to him about his contract. He's up for renegotiation. He just wanted to turn the audience to a different direction, which was 'hey, I don't like Kurt Busch because I ran into him last week at Atlanta.' It was David Stremme who wrecked us last week. He's got a beef. If he had won the race today and I had finished second, I would have gone to victory lane to congratulate him. He's a competitor. He's a tough competitor in the car. He's a tough competitor with his verbal language. That's his deal, man. That's Kevin Harvick. He's driving the legendary 3 car for that matter. He has that attitude. Harvick, I've got no problem with him. I race him clean. I race everybody clean. I think all the veterans out there know I'm here to race clean and race for the win."
COMMENT ON THE CLEAN RACE IN THE BEGINNING AND WHAT DID RUSTY SAY TO YOU ON THE PHONE IN VICTORY LANE?
"To win here you have to have clean quarterpanels and clean bumpers front and rear. Usually the car that drives into victory lane looks like it hasn't even raced here. That's the MO I take here. I love to protect the racecar. I love to race it hard and pass guys when we need to. To have Rusty call me in victory lane, it's very emotional to drive his car and to drive for Roger Penske and Miller Lite and Dodge and all of our great sponsors. For him to congratulate me, and that one was for the team. That's what he had said. When I mentioned for him it's a tradition and he said 'of course.' And I said, 'I'm going to name this car Rusty.' You could almost see he had a tear to his eye, and he had a great day in his first day of broadcasting. It's definitely a very family atmosphere at Penske with hanging out with Roger at the Super Bowl to hanging out with the team at the raceshop. Even when we come here to the track. Everybody gets excited a little bit, but it's still about putting your arm around the guy at the end of the day going, 'You know what? We had a good day, whether we won or whether we finished 16th.' "
COMMENT ON KENSETH'S COMMENT AND HARVICK'S COMMENT
"Did this week start Monday or did it start Friday? When did Harvick have his little issue? Let's just ice both questions at once and say there's no way that either one of those drivers is going to take away the fact that the Miller Lite Dodge won today. At Bristol you have to race hard. You know that if somebody catches you, maybe you didn't have the fastest car today. We were able to get by Kenseth. I bumped him. If he says it's too hard, that's fine. If he comes up and bumps us next week and we still maintain position that's the key. If I had flat out dumped him, then there would have been a problem. I would have felt bad about it. He was able to continue on. I did the same thing back in the day with Jimmy Spencer. I bumped him out of the way and he finished second that day. Harvick, if he had caught me he would have bumped me. That's fine. He likes to talk a lot. We like to race. We turn our attitudes around to make them positive and to put them in place, and that's to win races."
YOUR EMOTIONS ON DELIVERING A WIN FOR ROGER PENSKE IN NASCAR?
"There were big emotions in Miami today with the problem that Paul Dana experienced early in the warmup session. Our hearts go out to him on what his family has to go through and that race team. It was a long day down there with heavy hearts being able to put a race together after an accident such as that in the beginning of the day. That was on my mind. Any time a racecar driver jumps in a car it's a dangerous situation, but you hope everything ends up being safe and you hope you have a fast racecar, such as the Penske cars did today. For them to go out and lead laps, now that they've got what Roger says is the same power as the other cars, it's great to see the teamwork from the IRL side to the NASCAR side to our Porsche program at Penske Racing. Lots of things going on. To be able to deliver a win to Roger the first of 2006, I hope there's many more behind me. From Ryan Newman, from the guys at the Porsche shop. It's really a fun family to be a part of. I know they all raced with heavy hearts today. By nicknaming my car Rusty after today's victory, that doesn't hold a candle to what Paul Dana's family has to go through at the end of the day."
WHEN YOU HAD THE FLAT TIRE EARLY HOW CONCERNED WERE YOU ABOUT GETTING BACK UP FRONT?
"The concern I had was that maybe we were too aggressive with our camber on the right front. At the beginning of the race, the track is fresh. It's green. We had come from ninth to second in that run and actually got up to the lead when Biffle had a problem. I saw Biffle had a problem. We had a problem. I'm like, 'man did we just race too hard and pop a right front tire?' We took it easy the next run just to see what was going on. I couldn't even communicate to the crew what I was feeling and what was going on. We worked our way through it. We worked our way into position to get the Lucky Dog, which was just passing cars as quick as I could because it's always good to get back on the lead lap and then take your time working on the high side, working on the low side. Things went our way today, so it was a great day for Miller Lite and Dodge."
DO YOU THINK KENSETH'S COMMENT ABOUT 'IF MARK MARTIN WOULD DO IT' IS A FAIR COMMENT?
"I believe Mark Martin is one of the classiest guys out here. He's in contention year after year to win races, to win championships. There's quite a few different things going on with the way he has a rapport with other drivers. I worked with Mark for five years. I respect him. I pass cars like he does. I yield to other cars like he does. When you have a chance to win a race at Bristol when it's the last 15-20 laps, when it's green flag racing.... What pops in my head is the visions of Jeff Gordon bumping Rusty or Rusty taking the lead because... You see guys racing each other for 490 laps one way here at Bristol. At the end you've got to race hard and go back to your roots. Matt Kenseth is a short track racer. He knows how to win short track races. He knows how to win anywhere for that matter. Maybe I bumped him. I've been bumped before and had a win taken away. I don't sit there and cry about it. I don't sit there and say, 'maybe I'm going to go wreck him the next week.' If I get bumped by Kenseth the next week, that's cool. Maybe I was running too slow and I didn't deserve to win that day. Matt is a great friend of mine. I don't want to say anything bad about him. We had a great teammate relationship with the 17 and 97 at Roush Racing. We worked together pretty hard for two years, and there's a lot of times I saw Kenseth finish second to the 97 car at Bristol. He's the guy to beat here. He's very fast. He's just like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, and he won last year's fall race. Right now he's got the hot ticker. It's that much sweeter to win today and to pull our car into victory lane with a new team, a new attitude with new sponsors and myself, but yet I'm still going to race the same way. The last 10 laps if it's out on the line, if I get bumped out of line, that's cool. I didn't win today."
DID THE BOOS UPSET YOU?
"The reaction of the fans only gets me more pumped up. I really enjoy winning at Bristol and their emotions about who won the race is great. I drove the Miller Lite car into victory lane today. If Rusty had done it, there might have been more cheers, but with the last name of Busch it rhymes with boo and they're entitled to do whatever they want. It only fuels the fire to go out there and do it again next week. To see every competitor out there as animated as they are about Bristol, it goes all the way back. For years, Darrell Waltrip smoked these guys because he was the only one that had a head rest in his car. He's won here 12 times. Rusty has won here nine. Those are legendary drivers. I'm only in my first few years. To win five, I don't even care if I don't win any more, but by the time it's the end of my career, I think fans will know Kurt Busch is a hard charger who likes to race, who likes to race hard and when he throws it out on the line for a win he can bring it home."
WHERE DID THE WHOLE THING WITH HARVICK START?
"Thanks for congratulating me for winning today. I appreciate it. This is ridiculous. Answering questions about a guy who had nothing to say in the media center when he had the floor is ridiculous. I have no problem with Kevin Harvick. I raced him on the west coast when we were young drivers. He was as quiet as a church mouse back in those days. I've known Kevin from the beginning. He's a great racer. I have no problem with him. He talks a lot. That's fine, we won today. It feels even that much better to pull into victory lane today because you guys want to make a story out of it. Go ahead."
TALK ABOUT THE BUSCH BROTHERS SWEEPING BRISTOL
"To have Kyle's success on Saturday and then to win on Sunday it's very satisfying. It's gratifying to see that the Busch Brothers can definitely learn from one another and can definitely put their arm around one another through hard times such as last year. To have him come up through the ranks so quick, I think it's a testament to what our dad instilled in us about how to drive racecars. My father, Tom, was right there every waking moment through my racing career. I was there for Kyle. Dad was there for Kyle, and I think we helped him mature as a driver. He might have come up quicker. He's 20 years old. He's winning races at the Cup level. He's phenomenal. He's a great talent. I said it all along. I've been chasing him all year long. He's been out my windshield. Today he was in my rear view mirror. One point for Kurt, but Kyle is running real strong. I'm proud of him."
ROY McCAULEY (Crew chief No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
"The Miller Lite Dodge was good all day, but I'm not sure how good it would have been without Kurt behind the wheel. The team did a great job. We got a little bit behind with the flat tire. We took two once, I changed my mind from four to two and just gambled it was going to be the right sides that were the problem. Kurt couldn't talk to us at that point because of the radio problem. Once we saw the left sides were up we just went for two to try to stay one lap down only. It worked out, and Kurt drove a very hard set of laps afterward to maintain one lap. Once we got back on the lead lap it was a matter of picking our battles to get our track position back. Once we got our track position back we broke into the top five and it was a matter of maintaining that and see what we could get. There's really nothing more than needs to be said. It's hard racing at Bristol. You didn't see anything today you haven't seen the last 10 years here."