KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
DO YOU TRY HARDER TO RUN WELL AT LAS VEGAS? "Absolutely. Seeing Tony do it last year at Indy, I was envious. I said, 'I want to do that at Vegas.' It's a big race for me and my little brother of course. I watched this track get built from the ground up. I know Tony didn't watch Indy get built, but it's nice to represent your city and try to pull one down for the hometown crowd."
COMMENT ON NASCAR HALL OF FAME GOING TO CHARLOTTE "That's the right place for it. A lot of good places for ideas as far as Richmond and Kansas, even Daytona Beach even though they've got Daytona USA down there. Racing really started in the Carolinas, the boys of moonshinin' definitely had fun in their days, and now we build the racecars there. It makes sense to create all that history there in the Carolinas and drivers should participate in that and create more activity around it."
HOW MUCH OF YOUR SUCCESS IS JUST MOJO HERE AND HOW MUCH IS IT YOU UNDERSTANDING THE TRACK? "There's the adrenaline around Vegas for me and just going for that win. Finishing third last year was pretty close, but there's more work to be done. It's always tough to get the car to handle right here. If one guy hits it, he's gone. We've seen Kenseth do it a few times and Jimmie Johnson last year, even though he was a bit too low and my little brother was a bit too high. I thought I was the first legal car, but they never gave me the trophy. There's no real home track advantage. I never got a chance to race late models here."
COMMENT ON RUNNING THE '04 DODGE "We're running the '04 car because the templates add a bit more rear downforce to the car, and that's what we need right now to get the Dodge to stick. I've tested both, the '04 and '05 and I'm right along with Ryan Newman's plan. This car has more downforce and it feels like a better car. We'll do some work on both of our cars this week and maybe it'll help us understand the big picture. Is it the Charger or is it not?"
COMMENT ON RESTRUCTURING LVMS "They came and did such a good job the first time around with it. I'm like 'man, there's nothing wrong with it at all.' Then hearing about some of the ideas and hearing the fans' remarks about this track It's all about the fans. What I saw down at Daytona when they built the new garage section down there with the big glass windows and the fan deck where they can enjoy it and check it out from the infield perspective. That's what this place needs, the infield perspective. I think it'll a trend for tracks to follow. Raising the banking up 20 degrees,
the place will be fast and you'll get that side-by-side action and hopefully you'll see finishes like you see down at Atlanta and Homestead."
WILL YOU RUN THE '04 DODGE NEXT WEEK AT ATLANTA? "I'm going to run the '04 at Atlanta, and we'll run the Charger at the short tracks. (Atlanta and Las Vegas) are both about the same. They have the same testing ability for the car. You need it fast here on corner exits at the flat tracks or do you need high speed stability in corner entry at Atlanta? Every track has so many different qualities?"
WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL A COLD TRACK MAKE ON SUNDAY? "It'll make the track a little slicker and we'll have to make sure we don't start out too aggressive on a green-flag run. This race is a bummer man. It's had 85-degree days and 70-degree days. If you throw the average out, it's been 50 for this race. It's a bummer it's been this cold for this race as many years as it has. I guess a cold track favors the drivers because we're sitting in a warm cockpit. I just wish it was better weather for the fans. The wind, you just have to make sure you don't overdrive the corner when you have a tailwind. That can happen sometimes when you just get in the corner too hot because you've got all that tailwind."
ARE YOU DISCOURAGED AT ALL WITH YOUR FINISHES IN THE FIRST TWO RACES? "Not at all. I see the big picture, and the big picture is hanging out with Roger (Penske) for many years. We both know we've had some good cars. We've made some mistakes as well. We're going to learn from that. There's 24 more races left until the Chase. We've taken a lot away from both races, especially how well the 12 and 2 worked together at Daytona. That was the biggest, I guess, sentimental victory we could have."