Daytona 500: Kurt Busch - Media Day visit

KURT BUSCH HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING DEFINITIVE FROM NASCAR REGARDING CHANGING THE RULES FOR TIRE TESTING? "I haven't heard anything about it. Obviously, it's of concern with there being only three Dodge teams out there. Right now, I'd like for it...

KURT BUSCH

HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING DEFINITIVE FROM NASCAR REGARDING CHANGING THE RULES FOR TIRE TESTING? "I haven't heard anything about it. Obviously, it's of concern with there being only three Dodge teams out there. Right now, I'd like for it to stay the same. It gives us a slight advantage because we'd be chosen to do some of the testing quicker than other teams."

DO YOU GUYS (PENSKE RACING) FEEL LIKE THE LONE RANGER OUT THERE BEING THE LONE DODGE TEAM? "I don't feel like a Lone Ranger. I feel more of the association from Penske Racing. We do have the Dodge support that we lean on from the engineering side...whether its tire data, wind tunnel data...internal engineering departments...as far as how we advance our program out here at the track is another way."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW BUMP DRAFTING RULES THAT NASCAR HAS IMPOSED? WILL THAT MAKE THE RACING BETTER? "I think what we're trying to do is put the best product we can out on the race track for our fans to enjoy. When they went to double-file restarts last year, there was overwhelming results on what that did for racing and fans enjoyment. I think NASCAR is just looking at the drivers to put a better product out there and put more in our hands. That's the next step that we'll take and I hope that it's the right one. I think Daytona and Talladega, where we have this bump drafting, it's a necessary evil to have success. When you put it in the driver's hands, ultimately we're the only ones responsible for it."

DO FEEL LIKE THE BOYS CAN 'HAVE AT IT'? "My approach will be similar to how I approached double-file restarts and that was let this first event unfold. I'll see how the first event goes, first practice goes, and digest what I'm seeing out on the track and see how aggressive people want to be with it. On the double-file restart thing, it was like everybody just follow each other into Turns 1 and 2 and settled in, see how (Turns) 3 and 4 go. As we start to get more and more comfortable with it, people were taking bigger risks when the green flag was dropped. So we'll see how it shakes out. But at Daytona, you have to protect your race car to win the race. If you have torn up fenders, you don't have any opportunity to win."

DO YOU ANTICIPATE MORE BEATING AND BANGING? "I think we'll have more of a feeling that things are different. I hope that it is. In the end, it might be the same, but I think the drivers now know that they're not going to be reprimanded or losing points for on-track incidents."

WILL THAT BE GOOD FOR YOU AS COMPARED TO SOME OTHER GUYS? "I wouldn't say that it's better for me more than anyone else. It's just good that you really don't have to look over your shoulder. Now you can just look out your windshield and get the points that you need."

WHAT'S YOUR GUESS ON HOW THE NEW SPOILER WILL REACT? "It's early. We'll have a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway in March. I think we're going to go to Talladega as well. Ascetically, it looks great. I like it. The handling on the car...when they bolted it on from a wing to a spoiler...my car justdrove a little looser. It actually adds front down force as well as take away some side force on the rear. What we hope is that when we get into traffic, the cars will have more turn and they'll be able to get side-by-side easier."

HAS PENSKE HAD CARS IN THE DODGE WIND TUNNEL YET? "Absolutely. As soon as we heard, we even had the car in the tunnel before we went to the Texas test back in January."

WHAT MAKES YOU A GREAT RESTRICTOR PLATE RACER? "One of the keys here at Daytona is the right balance to setup. You can't be abusing the front tires and not using the rear. You have to get all four tires working the same and you have to have a loose race car to do that. Sometimes guys like comfortable cars. I don't think your car can be comfortable at Daytona to have success."

HOW TOUGH ARE YOU GUYS AS RACE CAR DRIVERS? "Toughness is all the different hats that you have to wear and how well you do it. In the race car, there were days where you didn't have bucket seat. They just had a bench seat and it's tough to sit in a car and hold yourself in there with just a lap belt. Things change over time. Now you have five-point harnesses. We heard Darrell Waltrip won 12 races at Bristol because he has a headrest and nobody else did. Things that drivers have implemented into their cars over the years to make it easier for them to drive have improved. Drivers are just as tough. It seems like our cock pits have gotten safer and there are not those tough circumstances that you have to race through anymore."

WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT IS MOST CHALLENGING WITH THE CARS TODAY AS COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE A ROOKIE? "When you find a pattern in the setups, you hope to stick with it. With this new COT, things change so rapidly that you have to jump from setup to setup so quick that it's tough to develop a pattern. When I first started, it was easy to find a sequence and stick with it."

CAN YOU COMPARE THE BUZZ THAT YOU CREATED WHEN YOU BROKE INTO CUP RACING WITH WHAT BRAD IS CREATING? "Any new driver that comes in that doesn't have his reputation, the media helps to find it for him. I see some similarities of what has happened so far with Brad and where I've gone with my career. I'm happy to give advice. Nobody does anything perfect and there's always points in time where you can learn."

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF SIMILAR TO BRAD AT THIS POINT IN HIS CAREER? "Early on, it's that aggressiveness and taking no prisoners so to speak. He's got his head around it. He wants to be in this sport long term and that's the advice that I would give right away."

HOW DID YOU BALANCE IT AT A YOUNG AGE? "The advice that I was given and the way that I digested it was I can't win all 36 races, so why try and win all 36 races the tough way. You can do it other ways, but at the same time, you have to realize that you don't have a car to win every race. But as a young guy, you have every reason to win every race and those are the things that you have to set aside."

-source: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske , CIP