KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR OFF-WEEK AND THOUGHTS ON MARTINSVILLE? "It was a good off-week. It was great to give the team a weekend off from all the hard work that had gone into Daytona and the first few...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR OFF-WEEK AND THOUGHTS ON MARTINSVILLE? "It was a good off-week. It was great to give the team a weekend off from all the hard work that had gone into Daytona and the first few races. With so many unknowns, it was good to have a week to digest what we went through the past few weeks. We were able to try a few things out on our equipment back in the race shop in terms of our shock dyno and seven-post rig and all the things that you can do back at the race shop."
DID RYAN (NEWMAN) RELAY ANY INFORMATION FROM THE TIRE TEST AT DARLINGTON? "Darlington is going to be a very exciting race with the track being repaved. Obviously it's going to be much faster. I've got the information as far as set-up when he was at the test. The biggest thing is just talking to him and understanding how the throttle and brakes and steering input is different from what he's done in the past. It still is a matter of doing it yourself and I know that the pace is that much quicker, so hopefully we'll be able to adjust to that new pace like Ryan did at the tire test."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MINDSET YOU HAVE TO HAVE HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? "This is one of the toughest tracks to find your own space because there are so many cars and somebody is always on top of you. It's hard to protect your race car. That's that thing you have to do at Martinsville, know you're in it (race) for 500 laps and that you can't get into too big of a hurry in the early portions of the race because anything can happen."
DOES A COOL TROPHY MAKE A RACE MORE IMPORTANT OR DESIRABLE TO WIN? "It's always a special perk and a bonus because that's what (me) and most drivers shoot for -- that piece of hardware at the end of the day. It could be a small $5 piece that somebody made or an extravagant grandfather clock (like at Martinsville). I think that I won here a bit too early in my career because I had no idea that they gave away grandfather clocks when you won here. They're wheeling this thing in my front door of my house one day and I was like 'what are you guys doing, who bought this thing'. It's the most beautiful grandfather clock that I'd ever seen. The most ironic thing about winning the clock was that my grandfather passed away the week before (that), so my clock's name is 'Al" right there in my foyer. It's the best gift that I could have received after winning a race and losing my grandfather."
DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU'RE RACING FOR SECOND OR THIRD PLACE HERE WITH THE DOMINANCE OF THE HENDRICK CARS HERE IN THE PAST? "They're very fast here -- very dominate here. It's been that way for the last three or four years. Old car, new car, you name it, they're tough to beat. I always feel that we can beat them. Maybe they'll have something happen to them and they'll have a flat tire or bad pit stop. But they need something to go against them to beating them. The one thing that I'm looking at is that Dale Jr. has always run successfully here. He's going to be a strong candidate this week because he's teamed-up with Hendrick (Motorsports) and has all the DEI information and all the Hendrick information.
I look for the 88 to be running strong and to see him break through here at Martinsville. I think the place would probably get torn down like goal posts get torn down in football (laughing)."
HOW DO YOU PASS HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? "I hope that I have a fast enough car to be moving guys out of the way. This race track whether you're driving an Allison legacy car, or late model or even in the truck series, the front bumpers to the rear bumpers have always matched up to the point where you can lift somebody's tires up or get them loose in the fashion that you are racing him. It's not a life or death situation.
"With this new car, when you bump someone, the front part of the car still stays planted and that's where some of the excitement can change of this new car. If we want to make adjustments, we need to adjust to where we can race with the front of these cars -- but sometimes that always isn't encouraged. And so, if you have a faster car, that driver 99 percent of the time can figure out a way to get by him."
WHAT ARE RESTARTS LIKE HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? "This place is tough. When you head down into Turn 1 with a fresh set tires, your car doesn't grip as good as it does at most places. It takes like five or six laps for the tires to really reach the optimum temperature. You're sliding around - grabbing gears on a restart -- lapped cars sometimes have fresher tires than you do. On this track you really have to absorb a lot on those restarts.
"That's what makes short-track racing fun. The cars are never hooked-up into the track like at the big tracks. You have to wheel it. Sometimes your sideways, sometimes you're leaning on a guy and the old cliche comes in -- eight wheels turn better than four."
-credit: gm racing