Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie Taurus, is 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings with eight races remaining. He spoke about his situation after Saturday's practice session. KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie Taurus IS THIS RACE TO...
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie Taurus, is 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings with eight races remaining. He spoke about his situation after Saturday's practice session.
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie Taurus
IS THIS RACE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE THIS YEAR WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS?
"We could be in it just as quick as anybody else, but I think it's a nice mix to have Talladega - Martinsville is a nice short track to throw in there. The variety that they have is a nice balance in the final 10."
HOW TENSE IS IT DRIVING AROUND HERE FOR THREE HOURS?
"If you've broken away in like a four-car lead draft it's very comfortable, it's relaxing, but then you know you can get bumped back just as quick as you got to that point. But there are still pit stops to sequence through and when you have your last pit stop that's when the most anxiety seems to come out in everybody."
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE SHOCK THING WHEN IT AFFECTS YOUR BROTHER?
"He benefited from it as well. It seems like each of the wins from the 48 this year there's been trouble passing tech. It's just interesting to see how it's all playing out."
JACK SAYS IT'S PRETTY MUCH A DONE DEAL THAT YOU'LL BE BACK IN THE 97 NEXT YEAR. ANY THOUGHTS?
"I'm hoping that we can get everything worked out and we'll see how it shakes up, but right now I'm focused on winning this championship. We'll see how it all shakes out after these last eight races."
DO YOU AGREE THAT THIS RACE IS THE BIGGEST WILDCARD IN THE CHASE?
"Yeah, this one is definitely the most vulnerable as far as how a driver feels in the way that you have to come away with a good finish. When you do your homework and when the teams are continuing to add so much pressure to the restrictor plate racing it's harder to get those good finishes, so we'll see how it all shakes out. The big one can happen or it might not. You can finish 15th if it does or if it doesn't happen. The guys in the top 10 right now need good finishes after this race."
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING A RESTRICTOR PLATE AT CHARLOTTE?
"The place is fast and you can run about a tenth-and-a-half faster than you need to and you know you're abusing the tires. So it gets back to the old rule of thumb, are you abusing your tires by running too fast? Maybe you need to take more of a conservative approach for the full fuel run not to have a problem. Whatever they decide to change we'll adapt to. That's what you have to do all the time to win races."
IS THAT PLACE GOING TO BE THE WRECKING YARD THAT BOTH MAY AND THE MOST RECENT TEST SESSION INDICATED OR WAS THAT SORT OF A FALSE ALARM?
"We'll see. The track was very green and fresh after they ground it and it's unfortunate because it's just gonna create an ongoing cycle that will be hard to end. You'll have to re-pave it next and then it'll be too fast, and then they'll have to come back with a different tire, so it's just gonna be an ongoing cycle. So Humpy is trying to do the best he can to science it out."
HOW MUCH CAN YOU ROUSH GUYS HELP EACH OTHER OUT?
"It's still business as usual, really, as far as the way you would help a teammate or the way that you would pit with them. Anything that you can do at a restrictor plate track to take pressure off your mind is what you do. After this race, then you start to see the next step in the chase races, which is teams acting more individual because you don't need the teammate to help draft with."
DO YOU HAVE A DRAFTING PLAN?
"Not really. It's just a common knowledge and a good faith rule that when you're around a teammate you hang out with them for a while to see if you can move forward."
JIMMIE THINKS HE HAS AN EDGE BECAUSE ALL OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IS FOCUSED ON THE 48 CAR AND THE ROUSH FOCUS IS SPLIT FIVE WAYS. DO YOU SEE HIS POINT THERE?
"Yeah, I see his point. It's mind games and he's already starting too early."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR SPOT IN THE CHASE? ARE YOU DOING THE MATH?
"We just hope that we don't have anymore bad luck. We've run well. We led the most laps last week and were poised for a top three finish, just like we could have been at New Hamsphire, but, instead, we finished 35th and 23rd. We hope that can turn around."