This Week in Ford Racing February 24, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series There are no safe bets in Las Vegas, but it's probably not too much of a stretch to say that the proudest people in the grandstands during the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las...
This Week in Ford Racing
February 24, 2004
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
There are no safe bets in Las Vegas, but it's probably not too much of a stretch to say that the proudest people in the grandstands during the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7 will be the Busch family.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus, is in his fourth full season on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit while his younger brother, Kyle, will be attempting to qualify for his first Cup event. Kurt spoke about some past races with Kyle and how he is trying to fill the role of being an older brother and race track mentor.
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU RACED AGAINST YOUR BROTHER? "You probably have to go back to 1999 when I was racing the Featherlite Southwest Series. On my off weekends I would run Legends cars on the short track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and we probably raced against each other a dozen times that year, but that was really just for fun. We weren't racing for serious points or anything like that, but we used to race against each other all the time."
IS YOUR BROTHER JUST ANOTHER COMPETITOR OUT THERE OR IS IT DIFFERENT WHEN YOU KNOW HE'S THE ONE YOU'RE BATTLING? "At that level we had our Legend cars pretty well scienced out and we could run 1-2 most every week, so we had to challenge one another for wins. Now within the Nextel Cup ranks, it's gonna be another 41 other drivers plus us two, so there are many more variables. It will be fun. Maybe we'll have a chance to run side-by-side for a little bit and get some pictures out of it. I think it would be nice to say we raced each other in his first race, but anything can happen.
IS THERE ONE MEMORY THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT GROWING UP AND RACING AGAINST KYLE? "The best one is that we always had only one go-kart growing up as kids. Our dad never wanted to have both of us on the same track with two go-karts, but as we got a little older we eventually got a second one and had our share of match races. We would go out to a local parking lot and just set some cans up to indicate where the corners were and race. One of the go-karts was always a little quicker and I can remember a day when I happened to be in front of him with the slower kart. I was blocking and holding Kyle up when our dad started counting down the laps. He gave us five to go and then two to go, and when he got to the final lap all bets were off. I was making that go-kart as wide as I could. Kyle got a good run going down the back straightaway, but I chopped him down. When we started to roll through three and four, Kyle just gassed it right in the center of the corner and climbed up my left rear. He knocked the carburetor off my go-kart so I never had any power coming off turn four and he beat me back to the line. He said he beat me fair and square, but he was still under power while I didn't even have a carburetor on mine."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS KIND OF A MENTOR TO KYLE? "We're able to get together and talk about different types of driving situations. We don't talk much about the technical or setup side of it, but I tried to help him at Daytona. I gave him some advice and I thought he put it to good use because he was able to maneuver and pass cars like a veteran would. He still has things to learn on his own. When you're at a place like Rockingham, you have to understand the tires. So I try to help him and give a little advice about each race track and then I'll talk to him about race ethics and how things work throughout the race."
WILL LAS VEGAS BE A LITTLE EASIER FOR HIM TO TRY AND QUALIFY SINCE IT'S THE HOME TRACK? "He raced out there once with the truck, so he's got one race under his belt with track experience. I think the fact it's also his hometown will add a little bit more emphasis to it. That's going to be his first Cup start ever, so he'll have a good time."
IS IT FUN TO SEE YOUR BROTHER FOLLOWING YOUR FOOTSTEPS? "It'll be a challenge for the two of us to blend together and to work with two different organizations and then for me to be a mentor and to help guide him in different areas. That's what my father has done for me and that's what Jack Roush has done for me, so it's unique to be on that side of it."
DO YOU WANT TO BEAT YOUR BROTHER WORSE THAN ANYBODY ELSE? "Oh yeah, you always want to beat your brother and have bragging rights. But whereas go-karts was more for fun, this is more of a job. He's got his program and his project that he has to work on and we're concentrating on running for the Nextel Cup points lead."