Kurt Busch - Loudon 300 Friday media visit

Dodge Motorsports press release

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)

Kurt Busch, Penske Racing Dodge
Kurt Busch, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THE EMOTION IS LIKE WHEN A CREW CHIEF COMES OVER THE RADIO AND SAYS START SAVING [FUEL]? WHAT IS THAT LIKE FOR YOU GUYS? “It’s exciting because we know we’re on the edge of making it or not making it. I think that the way a driver can conserve fuel is to just be consistent with the throttle pedal. But you really know exactly how much fuel you’re saving, you get the trophy at the end when you cross the line under power. So whether you’re running for fifth, 15th you’re doing all that you can in the car to let off the gas early and try to coast into the corner and not pick up the gas too early.”

IS THERE MORE FUEL MILEAGE NOW THAN THERE WAS BEFORE OR DOES IT JUST KIND OF SEEM THAT WAY? “It’s just the way that…yeah, it is more now. It’s just the way though that any race is with to win. You have to do whatever it takes to win, whether it’s bolting on tires with 20 to go and going all out or whether it’s going 50 laps on a tank of gas trying to stretch it.”

WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO RULES CHANGES FOR TALLADEGA? “You know I think it’s good. What I was encouraging for Talladega was to drop the rear spoiler angle so that we would gain speed but opening the restrictor plate size is the same thing and hopefully we’ll be out there separated because we’re driving sideways ‘cause we’re on edge and we’ve got to worry about handling not necessarily just about speed.”

DO YOU THINK YOU’LL HAVE TO BREAK OUT QUICKER OR IS IT TOO HARD TO PREDICT? “It’s going to be, Friday’s practice will be very important at Talladega. It’s really going to mix it up a lot. It’s hard to predict.”

WHEN WE COME TO LOUDON IT SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF YOUR COMPETITIORS FACES SOUR, LIKE THIS DOESN’T SEEM LIKE IT’S A LOT OF GUYS FAVORITE PLACE TO COME. YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO BE UP FRONT HERE. WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR YOU TO COME HERE? “I enjoy coming here. It’s a great racetrack and that you have to be excited about every Chase track no matter if you think you’re going to struggle or if you think that you’re gonna do good. For us this has been a good track and we want to try to capitalize on this being a good track for us.”

LOOKING AHEAD TO DOVER, WHAT ARE THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECTS OF THE MONSTER MILE? “Just the tire buildup, with the rubber buildup I mean, the way that the track fills in and it changes from the first lap all the way to lap 400. The rubber buildup is the hardest thing to keep track of at Dover.”

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HAVE A GOOD RUN THERE? “I mean you have to have raw speed but being able to adjust on the car during the race is key.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU SALVAGED ON LAST WEEK? “For us a radiator fan actually came off. We bottomed out too much and that took away a lot of front downforce so it was good to see that problem when we got back to the shop so we know we don’t have that going forward.”

SO YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT DURING THE RACE? “No we didn’t know about that.”

COMMENT ON YOUR BASEBALL ODESSEY. “After I was on the NASCAR circuit for as long as I was I realized I got halfway through this, I guess baseball objective, a bucket list, or just a challenge to myself to go to all the ballparks. It took 10 years but it was neat to just try to go to one ballpark a year here and there and try to make sure I got all of ‘em. The toughest ones were the ones geographically challenged, whether it was San Diego or Seattle or Toronto.”

HOW MANY FIRST PITCHES DID YOU THROW OUT? “I’d say half a dozen. Not too many. Just wanted to go in, buy a ticket; go in casual sometimes.”

WHEN YOU WON THE FIRST CHASE EVERYBODY WAS FLYING BLIND. NOBODY REALLY KNEW HOW TO APPROACH 10 RACES WITH THAT MUCH ON THE LINE. HOW DO YOU APPROACH IT DIFFERENTLY NOW THAN YOU DID THEN? “You have to have consistency, which I did back then, but you have to do it with top-fives. Those are the keys. We were all then thinking ‘Ah, you can have one throwaway race, just get those top-10 consistent finishes.’ Average finishes over the years have definitely dropped down with Jimmie [Johnson] winning the title like he has.”

FROM THE DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE WHEN IT COMES TO MANAGING FUEL MILEAGE, HOW MUCH OF IT IS JUST WORKING THE PEDALS AND HOW HARD AND HOW EASY YOU ARE OFF THOSE AND HOW MUCH OF IT IS OTHER THINGS? “It’s all in the pedal. I mean, you have to let off early and go to it very smoothly but all it once. You don’t want to have any excess fuel now being burned. So it really comes down to just backing the corner up as far as you can and not using the brake pedal as well.”

WHEN IT COMES TO SOME GUYS BEING BETTER AT SAVING FUEL THAN OTHERS IS A LOT OF THAT JUST IN HOW SOME GUYS ARE JUST TOO HARD ON PEDALS? “It has a lot to do with the way your team sets up the carburetor and it has a lot to do with you’re actual over fuel mileage. One driver really can be better than another. It’s just backing the corner up and being nice to the pedal.”

WILL FUEL INJETION CHANGE HOW YOU SAVE AND HOW YOU DO IT? “Yes and I’m hearing there’s a lot of trouble with the fuel mileage with you let off of the pedal and you’re decelerating and the engine is being starved for fuel because in a normal carburetor fuel splashes in after you let off the throttle pedal so lots of things to worry about going into next year. Right now we’ve got to worry about these nine races.”

YOU ARE 14 POINTS OUT OF THE LEAD IN THE STANDINGS. ONE RACE INTO THE CHASE, IS IT A SO FAR, SO GOOD MINDSET COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, sixth is great. You know we led most laps last week and it would have been nice to finish stronger than that but sixth is the same as finishing perfect and being zero. Fourteen points is nothing.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags busch, dodge, loudon, sprint cup