KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 1st (Note: Third straight pole for Kurt Busch and fourth straight for Penske Racing and Dodge.)
“It’s great and an amazing feeling to have three poles in a row. It goes back to the guys and all the hard work, dedication, commitment and most of all, believing in each other. I didn’t realize that we’ve been in the top 10 all year long in points. At one point, there was this feeling of, ‘wow, we’re going to lose this edge if we don’t steer in a different direction’. I’m thankful that everyone was able to pull together and understand that we should just try something different. Whether it was right, wrong or indifferent. It’s great to see the results pop up so soon. I had no idea that we were right around the corner. But, this is a game of thousandths (of a second) and I just saw the 00’s time, he was three-thousandths-of-a-second behind us. I went Pro Stock racing earlier this year in the NHRA and three-thousandths can be the difference between hero and zero and that’s what we have today. We have the pole and I have all my guys to thank for it. A dialed-in Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. It’s been a great week up here in Michigan at the Dodge headquarters, seeing the Chrysler and Mopar folks, SRT group and the Viper guys. It’s just a good family feeling up here in Michigan and it’s good to show results out on the track.”
WOULD YOU BE IN FAVOR OF GIVING POINTS FOR WINNING A POLE? “I’m in no position to speak of that. I think that I’ve been lucky these last three weeks. I think that Ryan Newman was the guy holding that torch a while back where he was definitely pushing to see points for pole positions. It would be nice to see one point for a pole. That’s all you could award with this new (point) system.
“To be on the pole for three weeks, there are so many benefits behind the scenes with picking your pit selection first, with having track position right away. When you get behind on pits stops, you can have a slow pit crew and you have that first pit box, that’s going to help you get out in front of guys throughout the day. There’s a lot of good feeling from sitting on the pole. If I’m a guys sitting on the pole for three weeks, I’d have three more points. Would that change me in points? No it wouldn’t. But it would be nice if you had those banked up towards the end of the season going into Homestead.”
DID YOUR TEAM HAVE A WATERSHED MOMENT FOR THIS TURNAROUND? “This is a first time that we haven’t had a pole without spinning or wrecking our primary car. This was a conventional weekend so to speak. It’s that way because the first few times after the big changes that we made, our car was very different to drive. Basically, it came down to core set-up in the car and it came to the core pieces that we’re bolting on the car. It’s not like we changed chassis design over night, but there are small things that we’ve added there as well. We can see it throughout the garage. Everybody is pushing the envelope in all areas. It’s just not aerodynamics. It’s just not the engine department. It’s not just ride height. Everybody is pushing the envelope every week.”
WHERE DOES THIS RANK FOR YOU TO WIN THREE STRAIGHT POLES? “This is a special accomplishment. It’s nice that we have the confidence in each other right now to know exactly how much air to put in the tires. We were sitting there on pit road the whole time wondering, ‘do we add air? Do we take out air?’ We watched Brad’s run and we were in a panic because we really didn’t know where Brad set his car up exactly. It was cool to call the team engineer on the radio back at the truck, he analyzed Brad’s setup versus ours…even that much more depth…just a quick check of basically one thing that we gauged and we saw that he was quite a bit of percentage tighter than us on that check. If he was that tight and we were set up that loose, we didn’t need to go any looser with our setup. It was nice to have that correlation of watching your teammate go out just a few cars ahead and still make an adjustment in time.”
-source: dodge motorsports