Kurt Busch comments on expectations this weekend at Charlotte

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KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed his expectations this weekend, the plan for the next six weeks and other topics.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU LOOKED AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR? “(Laughs) It feels great to settle in with these guys and get six races under our belt this year. It’s great, 2013 for us, starts today.”

Kurt Busch, Phoenix Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Phoenix Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO FOCUS ON FOR THESE SIX RACES? “The basic core concept is just to get familiar with everything, communication, the process on how the team operates through some of their sequences of changes with the car. All the information that I have from my days at Penske, my days at Roush and then working with some of the Hendrick guys this year. All that information I need to be able to digest and give to them the right way. It’s all just what I have in my head. You are not really able to take your trade secrets as far as paper. But what I have in my mind and what I have done over the last 18 months is definitely relevant and I need to translate that to these guys. Most importantly it’s fitting in with them and finding out how they have done things. Getting in with the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) system on how they communicate between the haulers. (Kevin) Harvick is a teammate, (Paul) Menard is a teammate and Jeff Burton is a teammate today, so I’ve got to go around and shake hands with those guys as well.”

HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE THIS WEEKEND SINCE YOU ARE HAVING TO GET IN THE GROOVE SO QUICKLY? “This year I’ve had to juggle a lot of those hats, especially with Kyle’s (Busch) Nationwide program and the different truck races that I have done. You name it’s a steering wheel and a race car so I’m ready for it.”

HOW OFTEN DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE IN DENVER? DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF THE DRIVER IS IN THE SHOP THAT OFTEN? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO BE THERE A LOT? “I think it is key to be in the shop as much as possible. I will be making trips to Denver. After this weekend we are testing on Monday. I’ll be in Denver on Tuesday, and then we are testing Kansas Wednesday and Thursday. Then we have the normal race weekend and then back to Denver after Kansas. Then we have races around Texas and Phoenix man it’s real easy to stay in the Midwest that time of year as well. The logistics everybody needs to get over that real quick. It’s a three hour drive from here to the beach from Charlotte, it’s a three hour plane ride from here to Denver, and it’s not that big of an issue.”

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WORKING WITH THE NEW GUYS NOW? “Just like at Kyle’s (Busch) race team and bumping around to the different guys you call ‘hey buddy’ or ‘hey dude what’s up’. Got to learn the names, there is the respect of knowing everybody’s names and the position. It’s just a matter of getting into the routine. That is what these six weeks are about.”

ARE YOU STILL GOING TO LIVE IN MOORESVILLE? “Yeah, I’ll still be around the area. I’ve spent time in (Washington) D.C. with my girlfriend, she runs the Armed Forces Foundation at Walter Reed and Bethesda a lot lately, then out to Denver. Most of the days though are lived on the motorhome.”

GIVEN THE NEWS ABOUT DALE (EARNHARDT) JR. JUST WONDERING IF YOU HAVE EVER FACED A SIMILAR SITUATION? HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO DECIDE WEATHER OR NOT YOU WERE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO RACE? IF SO HOW TOUGH OF A DECISION IS THAT? “Concussions are a serious thing in all sports NFL, baseball, hockey, basketball, and any professional athlete is subject to a concussion. It doesn’t need to be treated lightly. You need to be serious about it and work through what the processes are with the doctors. In other sports they have unions that protect the players. In NASCAR we are all independent contractors. We don’t have a union that is going to continue to pay our bills for us. It’s interesting when you have that scenario pop up.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DIFFICULTLY OF HAVING TO TAKE YOURSELF OUT, HAVING TO SEE SOMEBODY ELSE DRIVE WHAT YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR RACE CAR? IS THAT ONE OF THE WORST THINGS A RACER CAN DEAL WITH? “It’s a judgment call for the doctors as well as the driver. They will work through what they have to do to get in the car. Safety first out there.”

HAVE YOU EVER SUFFERED A CONCUSSION? WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU SUFFERED A CONCUSSION IN ALL YOUR YEARS OF RACING? “I haven’t suffered one. I don’t know and I really can’t speak on it. I don’t have much knowledge about it.”

DUE TO THE DIFFICULTY OF A DRIVER TAKING HIMSELF OUT OF THE SEAT DO YOU WORRY THAT THERE ARE TIMES THAT SOMEBODY MIGHT STAY IN THE SEAT WHEN MAYBE THEY SHOULDN’T? WHAT KIND OF CONCERN IS THAT FOR YOU AS A FELLOW COMPETITOR? “There is so much equipment these days and so much technology that it’s hard to steer around it. It’s going to be relatively clear when you are tested. The doctors, they have their opinion and you need to abide by the doctors opinion. It’s everybody’s job to make the right decision and I know Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. is trying to do that.”

DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE GOING TO GET A PENALTY AFTER WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK AT TALLADEGA? “We were all on the same page afterwards. It’s tough to penalize a guy who has the heart and desire to get back in the race. Our day wasn’t quite done and it was my last day with the team. I was just trying to give it my all.”

WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON YOUR 2004 CHAMPIONSHIP AND ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED DOES IT BECOME MORE REMARKABLE GIVEN ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED LEADING UP TO YOUR WINNING THE TITLE? “My championship run was no different than Jimmie Johnson’s or Tony Stewart last year. He (Tony Stewart) didn’t win it all in the regular season and won five times in the Chase. The stars have to align. Things have to go your way. When it’s a fuel mileage race and you end up snaking out a top-five that is when you start to begin to feel that it is your year.”

HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE CHASE THIS YEAR? WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO FACE IN THE COMING WEEKS? “The guys that have had a bad race they have to have solid runs from here on out. Guys that haven’t had a bad race can start to relax a little and not have to push hard for those top-five finishes. You have to gauge it every week on who is still in, whose not and right now Johnson, Keselowski and Denny Hamlin have definitely separated themselves. So the others that aren’t those three they need help to get back in it.”

HOW MUCH OF AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER IS THE CHASE? CAN YOU GET AWAY FROM THE PRESSURE BETWEEN RACE WEEKENDS? “I remember I won at New Hampshire and on Monday and Tuesday that week I was out cutting grass on my farm just trying to zone out of full time racing thoughts. You have to balance it out. You have to draw a line and say ‘hey I’m focused when I need to be and I’ve got to break away when I need to’.”

HOW HARD IS IT TO DO THAT? “I think every successful athlete that is at the top level is able to separate and compartmentalize where they have to be.”

WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING OUT OF THIS WEEKEND? WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH? “I mean everybody says seat time, jumping in the seat and working with the guys just making sure that we find little things that we are not quite clear on to get out of the way that way each week we get stronger and stronger.”

WHAT ARE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND? DO YOU HAVE A NUMERICAL GOAL? “We could win, we could finish 43rd, we are here to work together as a team and get team communication ironed out. Our season starts now for next year. That way we are solid when we get to Daytona and those 26 races are more important for us next year.”

HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU AND YOUR CREW CHIEF SPENT IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS TO ENSURE YOU HAVE A GREAT TIME SATURDAY NIGHT? “We have spent three or four days back and forth, had dinner once together. Just like next week at Kansas we are testing on Wednesday and Thursday before our normal race weekend. We will have five days next week. You can’t build it all in one day, but Todd Berrier and I have been around long enough to where ‘hey let’s just tie our shoes on a normal way and go after business’.”

YOU HAD A TOUGH NIGHT THE OTHER NIGHT AT THE DRAG RACE CAN YOU STILL SMILE ABOUT IT? “Yeah, it’s fun to go and play with the toys. It’s a race car and it’s just fun to do something different.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Interviews
Tags busch, charlotte, chevrolet, furniture row