Atlanta II: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing October 27, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus, leads the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings by 96 points over second-place Jeff Gordon with four races...

This Week in Ford Racing
October 27, 2004

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus, leads the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings by 96 points over second-place Jeff Gordon with four races remaining. Busch, who arrived in Atlanta Tuesday for two days of IROC practice, spoke about this upcoming weekend.

KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus

YOU PRACTICED FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES TUESDAY IN THE IROC CAR AND YOU'LL GET BACK IN IT ON WEDNESDAY. YOU TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY, DON'T YOU? THIS ISN'T ANOTHER SERIES TO JUST HAVE FUN.

"No, it isn't. In the past, sometimes you'd see a guy just take off from the pack and you really wouldn't know what went into it as far as work and whether or not it was a good car. The best opportunity for me to do well is to get the most practice time and understand the car by itself and then with the draft of four cars because that's all they allow during practice. They don't allow all 12 out there at once, so it's very different when you get the 12 out there versus just the four, but there are small things you want to check off your checklist as a driver to know and to have comfort with."

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY WITH WHERE YOU ARE IN THE CUP STANDINGS, WHY COMPETE IN THIS RACE BECAUSE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT STEPPING ASIDE AND LETTING SOMEONE ELSE DRIVE YOUR CAR?

"No, it still intrigues me each time to come out and run these Crown Royal IROC cars because of the parity amongst the cars and the group of drivers you race with on the track. Atlanta is a very fast race track and things can happen pretty quick, but it's a matter of understanding your competitors. People that are in this series are true champions of their respective divisions, so you hope they'll use that frame of mind when they go to compete in the final IROC race. With our position in Cup it's a position that you don't want to put in danger due to a small circumstance that could come up, but you see a lot of guys run Busch cars every week and you never know when your time is gonna be. I'm a true racer at heart. I want to come out and strap into a seat any chance that I get."

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FEELING WILL BE LIKE AT THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND, BASED ON THE EVENTS OF SUNDAY?

"Things are gonna be pretty heavy hearted and there will be a somber feeling to things. Travel to the race tracks is always a question. I think this came up back in '93 when we had a couple of issues with some of our NASCAR family members. It's a tight-knit community and we're all gonna be here to support the Hendrick family. It's a sad tragedy."

ON THE TRACK YOU'LL HAVE THE SAME CAR YOU HAD AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO WHEN YOU SPUN A COUPLE OF TIMES. I'M SURE YOU'RE HOPING FOR A MORE UNEVENTFUL DAY.

"Yeah, we don't need any off-track excursions and we need to make sure that we make as many laps as we possibly can on the good asphalt and not on the apron like lap one last time. It's just a good car that proved itself very well and that gave us a great opportunity to polish up on it. Each of the fenders was wrinkled on it just from some circumstance throughout that day, so we hung different panels on it and tried to keep it the same way as it was before. It's a better car than what we had prepared."

HOW MUCH OF AN ADVANTAGE IS IT TO HAVE A GUY LIKE JIMMY FENNIG AS A CREW CHIEF. HE PROBABLY DOESN'T LET YOU GET TOO FAR AHEAD OF YOURSELF AS FAR AS THIS CHASE GOES AND WHAT MIGHT LIE AHEAD.

"This is his deal. This is his program and he's the veteran crew chief that I have to listen to, but any idea that I bring up, he's willing to listen to me as well. It takes that good team communication to know what it's gonna take to build these cars, what it's gonna take to race them, and the mindset going into each race. We can't get ahead of ourselves because we still have four to go."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch