Atlanta: Kurt Busch - Friday Dodge interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED A BUSY WEEK AFTER LAS VEGAS: "It was a busy week with testing in Phoenix and that provided us with some great information at Penske Racing. To have a test there to back up some...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED A BUSY WEEK AFTER LAS VEGAS: "It was a busy week with testing in Phoenix and that provided us with some great information at Penske Racing. To have a test there to back up some of the ideas with some of the ideas that we've had over the off-season and to get an actual raced track that we race on seemed very beneficial. At the same time, we still have all of our notes that we ran here last October during the test session for the new car. We learned some new things -- we thought we were fast -- and yet learned some new things in Phoenix that we'll try to blend in together. At a track like this it's tough because every time you pull out on a new set of tires, that's the best feel you're going to get for your changes. With a limited number of tires for practice, we'll just have to focus heavily on our big changes and see how it goes from there."

HOW DOES THE INFORMATION LEARNED FROM PHOENIX TRANSLATE TO AN INTERMEDIATE TRACK LIKE ATLANTA? "Eventually what you'll have for a front-end geometry package will be about the same every weekend like it was with the old car. But because you continuously learn things so rapidly, it's tough to sit on October's news when the 1st of March is here right now. That's the balance - we'll shake our car down with how we tested last October -- quickly put those things that we feel were very important and decide if they are going to help us this weekend or not."

DO YOU ANY REACTION TO CARL EDWARDS PENALTY? "I don't really have much on one. NASCAR is getting steeper with their penalties - that's due to trying to even out the playing field. You have to look at it as the competition wants to get an edge on the next guy -- at the same time NASCAR doesn't want you to step out of the box to do so. And so it works in both favors -- at the same time we want our fans to be happy. We want fans to watch our cars race around the race track in a legal position and know that when that car won the race -it's because he was the fastest, not because he did some other creative things. It's a tough double-edge sword -- you're racing out there trying to beat the other guy, but you have to stay in the box."

WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE WALLS BEING UPGRADED AT NASCAR TRACKS? "I think if we rewind 10 years from what had happened to Jeff Gordon's car on the back straightaway in Las Vegas, would he have been able to walk away? Would he be jumping in his car this weekend for practice -- feeling a little tender but ready to go? I don't think we would have had that 10 years ago. So we have made the cars safer. We have made steps forward to that have helped made drivers feel safer in the cars and bounce back from tough wrecks. Should we have all the race tracks evaluate again where they stand with soft-wall technology on the inside as well as the outside? Yes. We had an incident last year at Kentucky Speedway where we had an opening just like Vegas on the back straightway and a race car is going to get in that opening. Do we see spins in the exit of Turn 2 -- the immediate exit -- end up in the inside fence? Not usually. Their momentum carries them to the back straightaway. That's where we may need to move some of these openings at theses racetracks so that cars can't find them when they're wrecking. There is enough technology out there to find out where cars impact the inside fence. If there's an area that has had zero to 10 percent impact -- that's where those openings need to be moved to."

DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD YOUR WRECK REGISTERED LAST WEEKEND IN LAS VEGAS? "I don't know the actual numbers and directional angles of the hit just yet. I'm going to the NASCAR hauler to talk with Steve Peterson just after this press conference. It's never fun recording data for them I can tell you that. The flip side to it, I feel surprisingly well from that type of hit. The direction it went in and the speed that I decelerated when I did hit the fence was probably fairly significant. What's more confusing is that it's on a tire that the hardest tire we run on. We shouldn't have tire blow-outs on that style of tire. We'll see. NASCAR has done an incredible job with the safer barrier -- with the cars -- I actually have my seats are composite seats from Hendrick Motorsports and so I talked to those guys on Monday and said 'listen, I don't have any bruising up and down my whole right side' -- and they were really surprised by that . (Hendricks) got some good data as well to help them understand the seats better. But it's great when you can disperse as much energy as you can over larger square inches of your body, not just one certain point. It's great that we've made all the improvements we have since 2001."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske