Dodge Motorsports press release
KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 5th
“Really a good, hard fought battle. That debris from that early caution cut our right rear tire and you know, we were lucky to obtain a yellow while we were sitting there limping around. To fight back from that and to be in good position all night we had a top-five car with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. The last two races we were running strong and to be up front, this is what we need for the next 10 weeks. It’s all a tribute to the guys giving me good pit stops and we’re making good adjustments on the car as we run.”
COMMENT ON THE CONTACT WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON. “We raced down into Turn 1 and I locked up the left front trying to avoid him. When he came back to us, you know, you could see it coming. That’s not something you see from Jimmie Johnson every day so I know we’re in his head. If we’re going to race this way, he’s got to worry that there’s 10 other guys in this Chase, not just the 22.”
DOES THIS CARRY FORWARD TO THE CHASE? “I’m good with where we are. We raced hard; we’ve got good cars that are not too terribly wrecked. But he’s got to learn to race. He’s been able to beat guys the last five years just by out-driving ‘em with what he has for equipment. If he wants to switch equipment let’s see what we can do but I’m going to beat him fair and square with my Penske Dodge.”
YOU ARE REALLY GOOD ON THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS. “Yeah I feel like our mile-and-a-half program is solid. We’ve got Dover in the mix with that mile and the high banks. You know with the way that this Chase starts out new with Chicago, we’ve got to be good there to start off. Go to Loudon where the Chase normally begin and then worry about some of the trouble spots which could happen at Talladega, Martinsville and then the repave out in Phoenix is going to be very interesting.”
WAS YOUR RUN TONIGHT AN EXAMPLE OF HOW MUCH IMPROVEMENT THIS TEAM HAS MADE OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS? “Well it’s go-time and we’ve got to get those top-five finishes all throughout the next 10 weeks. If we’re in position we have to capitalize on that. Tonight we were close; caught up on the outside on some restarts. You hope that luck in the future puts you on the inside that way you can make up spots but all in all a solid run for our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. I feel great the last couple weeks. We just need to carry this the next 10.”
YOU SAID THE OTHER DAY YOU NEEDED 10 GOOD RACES. IS THIS RUN TONIGHT AN EXAMPLE OF THAT? “Absolutely. Guys on pit road, adjustments and having a fast car through practice to get us where we needed to be in the race.”
YOU MADE A LOT OF SETUP CHANGES BEFORE THE RACE STARTED. “Yeah we had to go wholesale ‘cause what we had wasn’t going to be good. It’s nice to change a lot of things and come away with a strong finish.”
WHAT HAPPENED WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON? THERE WERE A COUPLE OF TIMES YOUR CARS CAME TOGETHER. “Well we had 398 other laps and with the way that we raced each other. I got into one hot, locked up my left fronts, slid up into ‘em. And then you could just see the payback coming from a five-time chump. So this is where we stand. Cars that are racing, cars have been wrecked. We have a Chase to start to let’s begin.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THE CHASE? “I feel great. The team’s strong, solid pit stops tonight, just like last week and we made adjustments on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge to make it better during the race. Two top-fives back-to-back and I feel solid with what our team had and we just have to work at it for 10 solid weeks. It’s a long 10 weeks but we can be focused ‘cause we’re determined to do it.”
STEVE ADDINGTON (Crew Chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) YOU PUT A DIFFERENT SETUP UNDER THE CAR FOR THE RACE TONIGHT AND RAN WELL. THAT MUST GIVE YOU MOMENTUM ENTERING THE CHASE. “Yeah, it was pretty cool to do that because it would be nothing that he would drive before. We went back and looked at some notes from this old place. This place is still the same ol’ Richmond. We looked at some old notes about what we ran here in the past. Kurt came in and talked to us this morning at the truck and he bought into it and said ‘Let’s do it.’ We threw it at it and had a good result.”
CAN YOU PUT INTO WORDS WHAT MAKING THE CHASE MEANS TO THE TEAM? “It’s a pride thing. To get both Penske Dodge into this Chase is really huge for the organization, huge for Dodge. It’s huge for the guys that work back in that fab shop, work in that paint shop, work in every little department we have. They take pride in working on these cars during the week. We get to come out here and work on ‘em. Everybody sees us but they don’t see those guys putting in that effort back at the shop.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 12th
"Early in the season when things weren't going right we just kept focusing in on the positives and stayed true to the course. We knew that we had fast Dodges. We kept plugging away, not giving up and eventually you're going to be rewarded for that. We've got a little bit of momentum going into the Chase; some strong runs. We weren't as fast as we wanted to be here tonight. We got a 12-place finish. I think we were a 15th-place car. When the Chase comes, you have to out-finish what you have for a car. We can do that as a team. We just need a little bit more speed. I know all the boys at Penske Racing are Working on that right now.”
ON MAKING THE CHASE: "It's an incredible feeling to be in the Chase. What a great sense of accomplishment for this entire Miller Lite Dodge team. This is one big step. We have more steps to go. It's something to be proud of that's for sure."
WHY WAS IT SUCH HARD RACING EARLY TONIGHT? "Guys were really anxious tonight. It was wild. It was kind of nuts out there. It was fun to be a part of, but it was crazy. I'm sure the fans enjoyed it."
ROGER PENSKE (Founder and Chairman, Penske Corporation) "It’s a tremendous accomplishment to get both of our Penske Racing Dodges in the Chase this year. I am proud of the entire organization as it was a true team effort in getting to this point. I would also like to thank Shell, Pennzoil, Miller Lite, Dodge and all of our terrific partners for their support. We are looking forward to getting to Chicago and competing for a championship."
TRAVIS GEISLER (Director Of Competition, Penske Racing)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET BOTH PENSKE DODGES IN THE CHASE? "It's certainly a great accomplishment. These guys worked so hard all year. To go on the run that the 2 car did in these last six or seven weeks was awesome to get both theses Dodges in the Chase. I'm proud of both of them. It's been since '05 that both Penske cars have been in the Chase, so this is a very nice accomplishment. Our relationship with Dodge this year has really pushed this program forward. All of our supporters that stuck with us, it's pretty awesome. To see both of these drivers in the Chase is great.
ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 42nd WHAT HAPPENED? “Well they wrecked in front of me and I was basically stopped. I don’t know what Scott Speed was doing but he just ran us over and killed our race car for no reason. That’s the way it goes. We’ll build another Dodge Charger.”