Watkins Glen: Kurt Busch preview

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 2008) - According to Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch, the view from Frontstretch Grandstand, Section 13, Row 42, Seat 1 at Watkins Glen International just might make it the best seat in all of NASCAR Sprint Cup...

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 5, 2008) - According to Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch, the view from Frontstretch Grandstand, Section 13, Row 42, Seat 1 at Watkins Glen International just might make it the best seat in all of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.

"For a fan, it just can't get much better than that; sitting in that seat right up there at the top and end corner of the frontstretch grandstand looking at the cars as they zoom by and head off into Turn 1," Busch said of the vantage point from the aforementioned seat location at the sprawling 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course. "It's definitely one of the Top-five action-packed turns for the competitors. It has to be that much or even more for the fans viewing it live or on the tube on ESPN.

"Every time the green flag falls on the starting field for a Cup race at The Glen, everybody - the competitors, the fans at the track and all those dudes manning those TV cameras...everyone involved - knows to keep your eyes on Turn 1," said Busch, who will be competing in his eighth career Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in this weekend's Centurian Boats at The Glen. "All you have to do is look back in the history books. That single turn is almost legendary."

Busch's comments came when recently asked for his opinion on the "Top-Five Action-Packed Turns in NASCAR Sprint Cup Competition." With a total of 60 different turns on the circuit (19 ovals with four turns each, Pocono with three turns, Infineon Raceway with 10 turns and Watkins Glen with 11), that speaks volumes.

"Anyone who has been around long enough has a memorable experience to talk about regarding Turn 1 at The Glen, I can guarantee you that," said Busch, who is making his 16th overall Sprint Cup road course start this weekend at The Glen. "I've passed a ton of cars there and I've been passed by more than I want to think about in that turn.

"But the biggest thing about that particular turn is that it's a place where you come in there always expecting to see the unexpected occur," Busch said. "I don't know how many times I've come flying down the front chute and gone in there too hot and overshot the corner.

"Overshooting the turn is one thing," said Busch, "but it's the aftermath that really gets interesting. I've gone through there and wound up sailing straight out through the gravel pit, only to get it straightened out and return to the track after losing only a few spots. I've gotten so deep in there that they've had to get the wrecker to pull me out. I've seen them even have to get the roll-backs out down there.

"When it comes to making contact with the other cars negotiating that turn, you can get out of there only getting grazed by the bullet, you can take a direct shot -- or it's so easy to be an innocent victim -- it's just that volatile of a corner," said Busch. "I've always looked at it as a place where maybe the adrenalin has been building for the full distance of the course and it seems to always unload there.

"They've made modifications to the course several times since I've been racing there - adding asphalt here and there and extending the runoff on locations around the track. But the passing points I've always looked at on the track were back there while negotiating the chicane, way over there in trying to get through the radius of Turn 10...and of course, the obvious...getting a good run off the final turn and setting up the guy in front of you to make the pass underneath going into Turn 1.

"The only thing I'd probably have to say to make you understand what I'm talking about is to remember what happened to (Kevin) Harvick and (Juan Pablo) Montoya there in last year's race," said Busch. "That's exactly what I am talking about as far as just how aggressive drivers tend to get in attacking Turn 1 at The Glen."

Busch's career record at Watkins Glen International shows one top-10 finish and one pole as highlights to his seven-race entry. Those statistics don't scratch the surface as to just how competitive the 2004 NASCAR champ has been on this track.

"We've gotten stronger and stronger through the years at Watkins Glen," said Busch. "When you look back, it's pretty easy to say that we should have had a win and several top-fives in the record book to go along with that pole. It's a challenge we always look forward to and that's especially the case there this weekend.

"We won both poles back in 2006, won the Saturday race and should have won the Cup race on Sunday, but it just didn't turn out that way," said Busch. "We won the pole again there last year in the Busch (now Nationwide Series) race and finished third. We were running second late in the Cup race last year when the strategy bit us and we had to pit for fuel. We still finished 11th.

"After having a really good test at Road Atlanta last week (on July 29), I just have a good feeling about our chances this weekend at Watkins Glen," said Busch. "I just hope and pray for good weather, because if we're faced with what those other guys (Nationwide Series drivers) had last weekend at Montreal, it could be a real Armageddon there at The Glen this weekend."

--Kurt's View On The "Top-Five Most Action-Packed Turns In NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing" (in no particular order):


1) Turn 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
2) Turn 2 at Darlington Raceway
3) The "hairpin" (Turn 11) at Infineon Raceway
4) Turn 3 at Lowe's Motor Speedway
5) Turn 1 at Watkins Glen International

--Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Penske Racing Team will be racing their PSC-565 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in Sunday's Centurion Boats at the Glen Sprint Cup race at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course. "This was the brand new car that we debuted out in Sonoma," said Pat. "We took our (PSC-) 520 car down to Road Atlanta last week and came away feeling that what we learned will give us a little head start for this weekend. Kurt's a great road racer and we're looking forward to getting back up to The Glen this weekend."

Kurt Busch:

What makes Turn 1 at Watkins Glen International such an "action-packed" turn?

"They've made modifications to the course several times since I've been racing there - adding asphalt here and there and extending the runoff on locations around the track," Kurt said. "But the passing points I've always looked at on the track were back there while negotiating the chicane, way over there in trying to get through the radius of Turn 10...and of course, the obvious...getting a good run off the final turn and setting up the guy in front of you to make the pass underneath going into Turn 1. The only thing I'd probably have to say to make you understand what I'm talking about is to remember what happened to (Kevin) Harvick and (Juan Pablo) Montoya there in last year's race. That's exactly what I am talking about as far as just how aggressive drivers tend to get in attacking Turn 1 at The Glen."

Much changed over a short period of time at Watkins Glen International between the 2006 season and the 2007 return, with new paved runoff area's in Turns 1, 9 and 11, repaved Turns 1 and 9, movement of the wall away from the track surface in the esses, a new grandstand on the frontstretch and new competition curbing.

"Man, it's as big of challenge as ever," Kurt said after last year's race. "They've made it better for all the great race fans up there and that's really cool."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske