CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2007) -- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is quick to get to the point when asked about his team's goals in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "That's simple," Busch said without hesitation.
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2007) -- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is quick to get to the point when asked about his team's goals in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"That's simple," Busch said without hesitation. "We want to put together a complete race where we are competitive from the beginning until the end. Over the last couple of years, it's been the case where we've had a really competitive car and led a ton of laps, only to see the handling go away during the race and end our chances for a win or a good finish.
"Charlotte [LMS] has always been a track that continuously changes during the course of a race. It's certainly more prevalent during the spring race, when we start in the daytime and race on into the night. But even with starting under the lights like we do now in the fall race, it's a challenge to stay ahead of the curve in dealing with a changing track throughout the race.
"There could be a 20- to 30-degree swing in the temperature between the beginning and end of the race and everybody knows that it's one of the most temperamental surfaces that we race on. It seems like it has almost always been the team that is able to stay on top of the situation from pit stop to pit stop, making all the right changes along the way, that winds up in Victory Lane at the end of the race."
Busch, who is now seventh in the point standings after finishing seventh at Talladega last Sunday, says his Miller Lite team has made "tremendous progress" on the 1.5-mile tracks and they hope that continues Saturday night.
"Since Pat (Tryson) came aboard as our crew chief, one of his biggest priorities has been updating our cars and having the most competitive Miller Lite Dodges prepared for all the races," Busch said. "His hard work and the great team preparation have certainly paid off in that we've proven to be competitive everywhere we go.
"It seems like if we can just figure out how to stay consistent throughout the race, we can be a major threat there on Saturday night. That's our goal and I have all the faith in the world that we'll be able to pull it off."
Busch is certainly accurate in his description of his recent races on the 1.5-mile LMS track. In the last race there, the May 27 Coca-Cola 600, Busch started on the outside of the front row and dominated the first quarter of the race. He led 102 of the first 112 laps [107 total to lead the most laps] and enjoyed as much as a straightaway lead during the race's early portion. A flat right-rear tire and extremely loose handling conditions led to a 32nd-place finish when Busch tagged the backstretch wall after completing 296 of the 400 laps.
"In many of the races, Kurt has definitely had the fastest car in Cabarrus County, that's for sure," Tryson said. "I know that for a fact, because I've been working with the other teams that were trying to chase him down.
"I'm confident that we'll be able to have just what he needs under him to get the job done. We faced a similar situation at Kansas a couple of races ago and we learned from it. Kurt wasn't comfortable at all with our car during the final practice, but you remember what happened once the green flag fell."
Busch started 12th in the Sept. 30 LifeLock 400 at Kansas, but blasted to the front to lead three times for 76 laps [top lap leader] and have the dominant car before adverse weather conditions changed the course of the race.
"It was just the small changes we made to tighten the car up and keep him comfortably fast that paid off at Kansas," said Tryson. "I expect that to be the same case this Saturday night. We'll just be continuously making changes -- tweaking here and there -- to keep him fast and happy all race long. It'll be all good, I think."
Busch, Tryson and team will race their PSC-109 Miller Lite Dodge Charger this weekend in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"It's the car that we raced for the first time at Chicago back in July," Tryson explained. "It hasn't been raced since and we think it will be a great car for Saturday night. We found that it's naturally a little bit on the tight side, so it should match up really well with the demands we'll be facing in the race."
Busch started 35th in the July 15 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway after having to change engines before getting only 18 total minutes of practice. The team made steady progress throughout the race, becoming a fixture in the top-10 with 100 laps remaining. He was running in the top-five with 15 laps remaining, but had to settle for a sixth-place finish.