This Week in Ford Racing May 10, 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus, comes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway fourth in the point standings ...
This Week in Ford Racing
May 10, 2005
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus, comes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway fourth in the point standings after a 37th-place finish at Darlington on Saturday. Busch spoke about the challenges RIR presents and the pride he has in his pit crew, which won Monday's National Pit Crew Championship in Mooresville, N.C.
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES RIR PRESENT? "It's a unique blend of short-track atmosphere with speedway-type speeds. You can get into trouble real easy at Richmond and that's why some of our finishes might not have been as good as the indication of our run. With running hard at the beginning and still saving enough brakes and knowing when to pit and when not to pit - we got in trouble with that last time - it's a tough place to make the right calls all the time. There are so many options at Richmond, and what I mean by that is you can pit lap 40 to fix the setup on your car, but now you don't have track position and tires can last a full fuel run there, which is about 100 laps. That's what makes it tough is to gauge when to pit and how to run your strategy."
AFTER LAST WEEK, DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING RIGHT BACK IN THE CAR AND GOING AT IT AGAIN? "We race every week. That's what we do and to be able to jump back into another race is what we expect to do because there are no off weekends in Cup racing."
YOU MUST BE PROUD OF YOUR PIT CREW FOR WINNING LAST NIGHT'S COMPETITION. "That's a tremendous accomplishment. To win the first one in an IROC-type format, where the car was prepared the same for everybody and then you had to hit the buzzers, I mean it was the best way you could possibly account for a competition for crew members, and they did a phenomenal job. They may not have qualified in the ranking they wanted, but when it comes time to hitting your marks and performing under the pressure, what our team did last year during the final 10 races definitely prepared them for what they did last night. It's tremendous. To get that check and to divvy it up amongst the crew guys, I know they can't wait."
Hermie Sadler, driver of the No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus and Virginia native, has qualified for five of the last six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. The first-year team has made six of the first 10 events and recently spoke about returning to Richmond International Raceway for this weekend's race.
HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus
RICHMOND IS A SPECIAL PLACE FOR YOU, RIGHT? "The track is only 60 miles from home, so a lot of friends and family always come out to support us and it's one of our biggest cheers of the year in driver intros and that's always fun. On top of that, it's a great race track so we always look forward to going to Richmond for sure."
YOU GUYS HAVE STARTED TO MAKE RACES ON A CONSISTENT BASIS. WHAT'S THE STATE OF YOUR OPERATION RIGHT NOW? "Everybody wants everything to happen so fast. Even with the progress we've made we're still a single-car team. We still have a lot of work to do and we still have only 15 people working against hundreds of people with other teams, so we've still got to be realistic about where we are and how long it's gonna take to get where we want to get. But it is fun to show up and feel like people are starting to take you a little more seriously and starting to realize that we're in it for the long haul, and we're trying to make races, and run in all the races, and learn about our stuff and make it better. So that part of it is exciting. We've just got to keep it going. We've got a little streak here going and we just need to continue to improve and continue to get better."
COMPARED TO WHERE YOU WERE AT THE START OF THE SEASON AND WITH THE CHANGES THAT HAVE HAPPENED SINCE THEN, ARE YOU HAPPY WITH WHERE YOU'RE AT NOW? "Everybody goes into the season with sometimes outrageous expectations. Before Daytona if you would have asked if I'm happy to be in this situation I would say no because I had higher hopes for what we had and the people and the support. But getting off to the start at Daytona and Fontana and not making either one of those races, if you asked me from the day after qualifying at Fontana until today, I've been pleased with the progress we've made as a team and as a group. So I'm not happy overall, but happy with how we've rebounded from some adversity during the first part of the season."
DO YOU EVER PLAY THE 'WHAT IF' GAME WHEN YOU LOOK OVER AT ELLIOTT'S SITUATION? HE HAS SO MANY RESOURCES, AND HERE YOU ARE TRYING TO DO IT THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY. "Once the green flag drops everybody wants to win and everybody wants to go to the front. Everybody understands that people have better opportunities and situations than others, but the fact of the matter is he's taken advantage of some opportunities in his career that I wasn't able to capitalize on at that time. That's what this business is all about. People sometimes say that guys get chances because of their name or something like that, but the bottom line is you've got to perform to stay around. He's been successful in every car he's been in and every ride he's been in and that's why he is where he is today, so there can't be anything wrong with that."