Charlotte II: Kurt Busch - Dodge Thursday interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Millet Lite Dodge Charger) WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THIS WEEKEND? "This is definitely going to be one of the tough weekends for the Miller Lite Dodge, just with our most recent history here at Charlotte. It's been a tough track for...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Millet Lite Dodge Charger)

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THIS WEEKEND? "This is definitely going to be one of the tough weekends for the Miller Lite Dodge, just with our most recent history here at Charlotte. It's been a tough track for me. We're looking for a nice smooth consistent weekend, and so far it's been great in practice. The new left side tire has helped us out in gaining some grip. The Chase has gone well for us at points, and it's been disastrous at other times. So, to round it into a ball of averageness, I guess we've had two good races and two mediocre races. We need to pick up the pace a little bit. I still feel like we're within distance and I'm really excited to clear Charlotte and get into Martinsville, and then down the homestretch with a bunch of 1.5 mile racetracks that are going to be good for us. All in all it's been a nice Chase for us. We need to just claw back a little bit closer to the top."

WHAT IS THE POINTS CUT OFF FOR SOMEONE TO BE CONSIDERED A CONTENDER? "Wherever Kurt Busch is, is the line. Wherever I am those guys still have a chance, and behind hopefully they are too far behind. Honestly, I mean come on what do you think? I think we're in it just like everybody else is. Behind us are 250. In front of us I'm like only four points out of fifth. Our objective right now is to get to forth, and once we're there that will give us a vantage point to see the leaders. Each and every race anything can happen. The Hendrick cars have been strong all season long and we looked at them as the guys to beat in this Chase. Right now we have Clint Bowyer who's had some good races third overall and doing great. Tony (Stewart) could be doing a lot better if he had pulled in with his flat tire at Kansas, but he didn't. So, there is still a bunch of guys in the mix."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SAM HORNISH, JR. AND THE STRUGGLES HE IS GOING THROUGH AS HE DECIDES IF NASCAR IS FOR HIM OR NOT? "There are a few things that I assumed that he had already experienced, which was track time at Charlotte, or track time at Dover, and track time at New Hampshire. And I thought that because the IRL cars had raced at those three tracks once upon a time, but I guess he came in after the IRL series no longer goes to Charlotte, Dover and New Hampshire, so I sat there and thought a bit, well that's really recent that those cars used to go to these race tracks and he's a three time IRL champion. He's got tremendous stats, and he's got a tremendous amount of talent. I just want him to grab this NASCAR thing by both arms and take the reigns and go. I think he is beginning to do that realizing how difficult it is. Right now there is a group of guys and teams that are there every week trying to make a race. It's almost a profession, trying to make a NASCAR Nextel Cup race. And so now he is one of those guys. It's not as easy as it used to be to get into these races, and with no track time and only an hour-in-a-half of practice, it's very difficult to get up to speed and make the 43 car field. I encourage him to ask as many questions as he can. I went over there and talked to him after practice today and we're just trying to get him some laps. I think Roger (Penske) has all the faith and the backing behind Sam and we're doing the best we can to get him into these races. Once he gets there the learning curve in phenomenal. It's easier once you're in the races because you have 400 or 500 miles to digest things."

DOES THE MERGER BETWEEN MILLER AND COORS AFFECT YOUR SPONSORSHIP? "I don't know anything other than they did combine, or they're in negations to do such. The numbers that I've heard are 58 percent for MillerSAB and 42 percent for MolsonCoors. That's all that I know. I haven't talked with any Miller people about it. They are all coming in tonight to check out qualifying, and then tomorrow we've got some in the morning for meetings. Right now I'm sure it doesn't change a thing. Roger Penske has been with Miller for over 25 years and his race teams. That's what really anchors us solidly with that program."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO OTHER THAN PERFORM YOUR BEST AND TRY TO WIN EVERY RACE AND LET THE NUMBERS TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES? "I think that each team drives their race individually to go gain as many points as they can. Smart teams are able to turn a 10th place car into a top-five car. That's what championships are made of. Each week there are 190 points available to the winner, you hope you stay away from those tough DNFs, and you race your race car. On average, we've got 10 races in the Chase, you've got to finish somewhere around the eight number every week if you want to have a chance at winning this, maybe seventh. I think average finish back in the day when Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. used to win Championships was right around seven. It's still the same way even though we're now in the Chase format."

DO DRIVERS TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT MISHAPS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED WITH A PIT STOP AS WELL AS WHEN SOMEONE CAUSES AN ACCIDENT FOR OTHER REASONS? "If the shoe was on the other foot I'm sure (Stewart) would have approached me. Sometimes things are discussed and sometimes things aren't. It depends on who's at fault or who you're dealing with for that matter. That's how racing is. You want to move on as quick as you can, and just forget about what happened and go race your car the next week, but sometimes there are just those lingering effects that are out there. Tony is a guy that always smiles when he's talking to me, and we're on each other's radio shows talking all the time and things like that get discussed in the open air so you move on."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Clint Bowyer , Roger Penske