PRESS CONFERENCE - 2007 NASCAR BUSCH SERIES CHAMPION
JACK ROUSH - ROUSH FENWAY RACING OWNER
PLEASE COMMENT ON WINNING THE FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES. "We've been pretty fortunate winning the last and the first in some of these championships, the last one Matt Kenseth won [Winston] and then Kurt Busch came along and won the first NEXTEL Cup. I'm hoping that trend will continue and we'll be able to win the first Nationwide Championship going forward. Then of course the challenge will be to see if we can win two in a row in the same series with the same name. It was a great honor to be involved with Ford this year. They gave us a good support for our Ford Fusion. PK [Pierre Kuettel, crew chief] did a super job, he's been our journeyman crew chief, car chief, mechanic and businessman for a long time - he certainly deserved it. Carl, he has great potential. He did a nice job last year and got the experience he needed to close the deal. I'm feeling like somehow I let the team down. I'm not sure what I did different from helping Carl win the driver championship to not being able to win the owner championship myself, but I'll have to work on that. I think I missed something along the way. Congratulations to Richard Childress and what he did with his bunch. They certainly put cars out there that were fast and a number of people that drove them did a real nice job with them. We had an unbelievable first half to our season and the of course, it came off the track a little bit and we had some crashes and broke some parts and had to give some of that good luck back we had. Fortunately, there wasn't one Childress driver in there the whole time or we would have been in trouble."
PIERRE KUETTEL - No. 60 CREW CHIEF
YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WINNING THIS TITLE "It sure means a lot to win the final Busch Series title and have finished that 26 year run out. The guys at Busch have done a fantastic job in sponsoring the series and supporting it and it's great to be part of it."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 60 Scotts Ford Fusion - (finished 4th, qualified 2nd)
THOUGHTS ABOUT WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND SIGNIFICANCE IGINIFANCE IN WINNING THE FINAL BUSCH SERIaES CHAMPIONSHIP. "I'm very pleased to be a champion. That's great. I don't know what to say. I can't thank Jack enough for giving me the opportunities that he has in my career. And for PK for working so hard, I know that his hair was pretty grey when we started but it's shiny silver now. We've been working really hard and I appreciate all the guys' effort. I really have to congratulate Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing and they showed tonight how strong they can be. They did a great job winning the owner's championship. They're a good group to share this with and outside that, I can't wait to do it again next year. We're gearing up, hopefully, we can have a season next year all season like the beginning of this season. We were really on a roll. I'm really excited about next year and hopefully we got that big-clawed monkey off our back like Jack talked about. I think tonight was a good run for us. It was a great rebound from the beginning of the race and that will be something to hang our hats on for the winter time."
YOU WON THE TITLE BY A PRETTY BIG MARGIN, TALK ABOUT THE SATISIFACTION LEVEL. "It's great. I'm glad Kevin [Harvick] didn't compete in every race this year. Those guys do a great job. We were off to a better start even to where he was last year. At the beginning of the season we were just on an unbelievable roll. It's fun to be a part of something like that. The first half of the season we made it to the 11th race before we ever race outside of the top 10 and that's what this team is capable of. About that time, the started talking about the championship being a runaway. I'm just glad I was the guy leading the thing. It's not very often that you get to have runs like that. I'm just glad to be driving this race car."
THERE'S TALK ABOUT THE BUSCH SERIES BEING BROKEN. DO YOU THINK IT'S BROKEN, IF SO WHAT WOULD YOU DO? "The simplest thing that I can think of, for the sponsors that I talk to and for the NASCAR officials that I've talked to, everybody agrees that we need to have the Cup drivers to help attract attention and relevance to the Busch Series or the Nationwide Series. And we need to have the Cup sponsors and they're doing their part as well. It's not real easy to separate that. I guess if you didn't want the Cup people involved, you'd have it at South Boston and a number of other places where you don't have Cup races and you don't have the Cup crowd. I had a conversation with Robin Pemberton regarding the rumors that are out there that the Cup drivers were going to be excluded and Cup teams would be excluded from competing for a championship. He assured me that that would not be the case in 2008. They were however, looking at the prospect where they can engage Nationwide drivers that didn't compete it the Cup series to a greater extent. The suggestion I made is that they have a chase, not unlike we have for the Cup Series, take as many as you want, eight, 10, 12, 15 drivers to that to compete for the championship run. When you assign the points, you assign additional points for the drivers that haven't competed seven times in the Cup Series, then give them more points. If you think you need to weight the Cup drivers down with 50 points or 100 point burden or whatever it is, do that and let the Cup drivers come from the back and see if they can overtake with their experience and with their arguable advantages. See if they can overtake the Nationwide regulars. He didn't comment on that, he said he'd consider it."
WERE YOU COGNIZANT AT ALL OF THE KIND OF HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RACE WITH MARK MARTIN AND JEFF BURTON? "I didn't know that. That's cool though. I mean, obviously, to be up there racing with Jeff Burton and Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, guys that, the closest I got to those guys before was getting the same RC car bodies like their cars back in the day. So, it's very cool to be able to race with those guys, to be up there fighting for a win with them. And especially Mark, that was neat at the end of the race to be able to race with him like that. Just because of how much he's done for my career personally and before I even knew him how much he inspired me to work hard. And so, that is pretty neat."
HOW MUCH LONGER CAN YOU KEEP UP THE PACE OF DOING BOTH SERIES FULL TIME? "The racing part is easy. I mean I love it. The time I get to do what I really love to do is then. So that part is easy. And Jack and everybody's been, PK, and all the people that work around me have been doing a great job of making things as easy as they can be on me. I still voluntarily take on more stuff, more marketing partners and things like that because we have got everything tidied up enough that I have extra time and energy. But it's fine, man. I mean this is the third full year now. Crazy how fast it goes. But I'm enjoying it."
A FEW YEARS AGO, YOU MENTIONED THAT ONE OF YOUR GOALS WAS FOR CARL TO WIN A BUSCH SERIES TITLE. WHAT'S YOUR NEXT GOAL FOR HIM? "Well, he's in his second year in the Cup series, finished tied for second in points with Greg. Because he had won one less race they declared him third. But we kind of slipped from that. That we got to do better. We missed the Chase last year but then, of course, made the Chase but didn't make much of it this year as it worked out. He's a championship contender and with the changes that we made in the organization, with Robby Reiser taking the helm for general managership. There will be some cross pollination of the things at 17 that we're doing that will help Bob Osborne and help the team and so I'm anxious to really accentuate all the positives and try to get a Cup championship for Carl before he's 30 years old."
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "About 20 minutes ago out on the stage I'm kind of new to the Busch Series. Two years ago I came into this deal and watched it from afar and it's always been the Busch Series ever since I've known it. And it's great to come in here and top it all off with that standing on the stage out there."
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Yeah, that is a huge highlight. I think for me personally as a participant in the Busch Series, the win at Gateway was the biggest moment for me. That was the neatest thing in the world to win that close to home. To see the whole crowd stick around for the interviews afterwards. And I just felt like that was one of the neatest moments of my career and I'm glad I got to be a part of that."
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Most of my history in the Busch Series has been with Mark Martin in one of our Busch cars. He was a staple there for so long; 18 years he was with the team. And he was in the Busch Series, I think with me all but maybe two years of that. And when he broke the record for winning the most races in the Busch Series, I really felt the weight of that. And I was really proud to have been with him for all that time and felt glad for the support that the Busch Brewery Company had made of the series, so that it was there for us to race. That was really a big deal."
-credit: ford racing