Qualifying for Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville was rained out. Kurt Busch, who starts second in Sunday's race, returned to the media center after qualifying was cancelled and responded questions from the media. KURT BUSCH ...
Qualifying for Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville was rained out. Kurt Busch, who starts second in Sunday's race, returned to the media center after qualifying was cancelled and responded questions from the media.
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
QUALIFYING HAS BEEN CANCELLED; WHAT ADJUSTMENTS DOES A TEAM FACE IN THAT SITUATION?
"Now, it's pit selection and when will we be able to get another chance to get on track is the next question. Just a few questions still to answer. Being second is definitely an advantage over years past. Last year, I felt like we had a good car a few times to go qualify with only to see it rained out and start 18th. So we'll definitely take this coin flip and go from there. Jeff Gordon's got a strong car. Jimmie Johnson is very strong. The guys around us in points get to start up front. We hope that we're able to maintain that with the Miller Lite Dodge and post a top-10 finish once it's all said and done after Sunday's race."
WHICH IS THE BIGGER BENEFIT -- TRACK POSITION OR GETTING THE PICK OF PIT STALLS?
"I would go with track position as being the bigger advantage. On pit road, there's one good spot and that is the first one. I've had the benefit of being in that pit box once. There's a good advantage with it. There are a couple -- the 10th and 11th box has that opening and I believe there's another opening down on the turn four side -- but there's something about that first box. But then when you're on track, track position is definitely much more important. It helps with the decisions you have to make as far as a crew chief during the race."
YOU SAID THERE IS ONLY ONE GOOD BOX. LAST YEAR, WHEN THE RACE GOT RAINED OUT, JIMMIE JOHNSON INHERITED THAT BOX, LED 339 LAPS AND JUST DOMINATED. HE'S WON FIVE TIMES HERE. THE GUY THAT HAS THAT BOX SUNDAY (JEFF GORDON) HAS WON SEVEN TIMES HERE. CAN YOU QUANTIFY HOW BIG AN EDGE THAT'S GOING TO BE FOR JEFF GORDON, THE ALL-TIME WINNINGEST ACTIVE DRIVER HERE GETTING THAT BOX ON PIT ROAD?
"I think anytime that you're in a Hendrick (Motorsports) car, you're definitely going to have a good shot at dominating the day and going into victory lane just based on past history. Jeff Gordon is very strong. Jimmie Johnson is strong. The (first) pit box is just icing on the cake. I believe when you have good cars and you qualify well, it's like the rich getting richer. It just seems to come your way. You don't know what you're doing, but things just seem to flow easier for you. And when you're in that first pit box, it continues to add up to an advantage throughout the day. It's only going to make Jeff Gordon stronger. Those guys will be tough to beat on Sunday because of the fact he's been running strong this year and add in a track that he's won seven times on. He's probably going to lead 339 laps just like Jimmie Johnson did.
IS THERE SOME OTHER WAY THAT YOU THINK PIT STALLS SHOULD BE AWARDED IN THIS SITUATION, OR IS IT FAIR LIKE IT IS?
"The late Dale Sr. (Earnhardt) convinced NASCAR that the past champion needed the first pit box, and that happened for years. He was the smartest character in the world to convince NASCAR of that and got away with it for years. I don't know how many, but you would always see the No. 3 on the first pit box. The guy would qualify 35th; he didn't have to worry about where he would qualified. Then he got the first pit box selection and the next thing you know, you're battling the three car for the win. I think there is a distinct advantage on pit boxes and the way the procedure works right now is just fine. Whoever qualifies better gets pit box selection. There's always been the discussion should we get points off qualifying. I think qualifying is important enough based on your pit box selection."
IN YOUR OPINION, WOULD IT MAKE FOR A BETTER RACE HERE OR ANYWHERE ON SUNDAY IF TEAMS WERE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON PRACTICE AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT QUALIFYING?
"We do have a couple of impound races and let's omit Talladega and Daytona in July. Let's look at the Richmond races. That's where you don't even worry about qualifying because it's impound. That philosophy was tried out a couple of years ago and sprinkled in here and there and I do think that when you're working on just race trim, it provides for better competition out on the race track. That allows teams to work solely on the race setup, dial things in here and there and not have to switch back and forth and switch gears in their minds. I think the impound (rule) has its positives and the main thing it's supposed to do is eliminate all the voodoo that goes on at the speedway races. It does save time. It does save some headaches. I think it does add a little bit of spice to the competition when we have those impound races. Should we do that more often? I think the short tracks, the setups are so close such as a Bristol, Martinsville or Richmond, you could even throw Phoenix and Loudon in that mix, where we could do impounds, we could save ourselves money with tires we could save ourselves headaches with two different setups and it could help provide better racing."
-credit: dodge motorsports