KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 3rd) "It was just a solid effort. I know if we continue to put ourselves in that position, we're gonna come out with some poles this year and we're gonna come out with some wins. That was just a...
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
"It was just a solid effort. I know if we continue to put ourselves in that position, we're gonna come out with some poles this year and we're gonna come out with some wins. That was just a step in the right direction from Jimmy Fennig's experience."
ARE YOU MORE RELAXED HERE? "I just want to go out and do it for the local fans. It's awesome to be back in town. There's not many drivers on the Winston Cup circuit that have a hometown track that they race at and to be one of the only ones from Vegas up in the big leagues or racing, so to speak, is a big thrill. We're gonna have 130,000 fans and I know that I've got a little bit of an edge when it comes for them to cheer for one person or pull for another person."
WHAT ABOUT THE WINSTON WEST RACE YOU RAN IN HERE? "I believe that was in 1999 in the spring and we were running primarily in the Southwest Tour that year. Jerry Spilsbury, a quality mechanic, helped me put a car together and we raced that car. We qualified fourth and ran second to Jerry Nadeau most of the race. He got a flat and Ricky Craven passed me for the lead during that exchange. We were coming into the pits and I was told to do whatever the leader did. Ricky Craven didn't pit and his motor blew up two laps later when we went green, so he knew he was done for the day. Therefore, we had to come in and take tires after the whole lead lap pitted and we ended up putting the left sides on the right side and the right sides on the left side. We started 28th on that restart and got back up to eighth, so it was an eighth-place finish. It was pretty much a war within our own war just trying to get it on the race track. When it's your first Winston West race you've got some bugs to work out and the adrenaline is going, so it was a solid effort. That start there and the Southwest Tour championship helped propel me to get noticed by Jack Roush, so it was really just a great Las Vegas based effort that helped me get to where I am today."
DID YOUR GUYS LEARN ANYTHING LAST WEEK AFTER THE ONE-ENGINE RULE DEBUTED AND YOU HAD TO START FROM THE REAR? "You would have thought we would have tried to benefit from that, but the reason why we had to change engines was because we had a mechanical issue inside the cylinder wall. We had oil and water mixing together and that's the same problem we had in Rockingham in the fall that took me out of the race while we were leading, so it's better to start last than finish last. We know we've got some work to do on the engine side of it and today we handled really well through the corners. Down the straightaways we could use a bit more, but we know we're working on it. We know we've got a little deficit to overcome and if we keep putting ourselves in this position, we're gonna have some poles by the end of the year. Like I said before, I wish we could have benefited from that a bit more last Sunday, instead of just starting from 43rd and have to work all the way through the pack all day long."
HOW MUCH CAN YOU DRAW ON YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES TO HELP NOW? "I think it's just what you're drawn to and what the good Lord set you on the Earth to do. It's what maybe your parents raised you to do, it's what you have the most fun doing and, for me, that's racing race cars. That's all I've ever wanted to do and it's all I've looked forward to doing. I can remember that first win I had in the Truck Series at Milwaukee -- how emotional it was because that's the track my father grew up watching races at. You have certain memories that you pick out and you have certain things that you want to do wrong that you try to benefit from, but, like I said, I couldn't tell you what movie I watched last night. Something you always try to build on in your racing career is the mistakes you make and that was a big mistake that day -- putting the left side tires on the right side, so we didn't benefit from that any, but you try to put that in your memory bank so you don't ever do it again. That was my first speedway race in a heavy car, so I can tell you a lot about it."
DID MARK OR JEFF HELP YOU TODAY? "They've really developed a solid feeling car. When we came here and tested I used Jeff Burton's setup and tweaked it here and there. It was 30 degrees out when we tested, so it was hard to get a good read on it exactly, but those two have really developed a good rapport for this race track. Their setups are solid and, of course, the aerodynamics are changing. That's why we have a track record today because the aerodynamics are that much better from this year to last year. The Fords have benefited from the nose kickout just like the Chevy's had last year, so it's been a great development that Roush has been going through and I'm beginning to see the teams working together better -- like I had with Greg Biffle in the Truck Series. There was nothing that matched that rapport we had for one another and I hope it continued to develop between us four Winston Cup drivers. There's just not enough time, it seems like, in the Winston Cup garage area. We're only on the track for two hours for qualifying practice and only and hour-and-a-half for race practice tomorrow afternoon, so it just doesn't seem like there's that camaraderie between all of us because it's just so short and Winston Cup competition is so tight."
DOES HAVING THE SAME TIRE TWO YEARS IN A ROW HELP? "For sure. I think we were one of the ones that got hit hard with the new tire -- the changes and the way the cars needed to driven and set up. For us last year, I din't know any better so we were able to qualify good and run well. We had top fives early on and then teams started to science out the tire a bit better and we started catching on, but this year so far with Jimmy Fennig's experience, there's nothing that's been comparable to it. He's just unreal. The amount of quality that's been put into these cars is phenomenal."