KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) MORE FROM FRIDAY'S BUSCH POLE INTERVIEW "A few things helped us today, but mainly just being together with my team longer and having that comfort zone and looking at the racetrack today and saying...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
MORE FROM FRIDAY'S BUSCH POLE INTERVIEW
"A few things helped us today, but mainly just being together with my team longer and having that comfort zone and looking at the racetrack today and saying it's pretty hot out. This is what we did back here in February and we've definitely got to adjust it for today. That gave us confidence in our adjustments. I had no idea we'd pick up the time we picked up in practice, but the Miller Lite Dodge has shown speed on most of the Fridays this year. I just hope that some of that can be pushed over to Sunday, that confidence feeling as well as making the right adjustments."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO FINISH 11TH IN THE POINTS?
"When I did the math when I won the championship there's a hell of a lot more money to win the deal than to finish second. For 11th to 12th for us, it's more important to make sure we learn and try some off the wall things. If we stub our toe, maybe it didn't work or we get to relish in a nice victory. So, 11th is a prestigious thing, it's nice, it's just a whole season's worth of work and you get to talk about it on stage for a few moments in New York. It is special. We haven't thrown that out the window, but we've got to beat some pretty strong guys just to get to 11th. We've got two or three races where we can think out of the box. We've been good at California before. We've been good at Richmond, and I've won at Loudon. Right now we'll see what we can throw at the wall. If it looks like something good, we'll try it out."
WHERE'S THE PAINTING YOU RECEIVED AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY IN 2003?
"It's in my workout room. It's a nice piece of art. It's got that retro look, and it's something very special. It has all the winners from 2003 when I won here. I keep threatening to take it off the wall and get everybody to sign it. Matt Kenseth won the Busch race that year. Ted Musgrave won the truck race. A buddy of mine, Sam Hornis, won the IRL race. He was driving for a different team. It's really a nice picture. It's in the workout room and it's motivation to come get another California Speedway trophy."
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
"It's always key to get a good run at the start/finish line. So you go through three and four doing two things - anticipating how the car is going to handle as well as just putting your foot on the floor to get a good run coming to the start-finish line. It was a good head of steam. I knew the car was going to stick underneath me. I drove it into turn one and the crew chief said 'that's what I call driving it in deep You can over drive it real easy.' I said, 'well, it's only overdriving if you miss the corner.' We were joking about that It just stuck really well in one and two, maybe a little bit on the tight side. It got a great run off turn two and my foot was on the floor. All the way down the back straightaway you could feel the front of the car pit to the racetrack. I ran the gas up to where we needed it to be, drove up to turn three, maybe a little bit easier, just knowing turn three was easier to overdrive than turn one. I put it right on the white line, stood on the gas early, and it felt like a good solid lap. Right where I needed to be on the white line in both corners and then to come down the straightaway with a good head of steam."
WERE YOU FRUSTRATED AT FIRST?
"I just kept going along with Roger's advice. Rome wasn't built in one day. We've got time to get things together, knowing from my championship success what it took that year has expired by now, the setups. Not necessarily the approach or how to get in The Chase, but the setups really dictate how fast you can go each week, and it was a bit frustrating in the beginning of the year to go 'man I've won at this track before. How come I'm running 20th.right now? That's where you've got to keep your eye on the big picture. This team has come along way in one year. Roy McCauley has learned quite a bit, and I've learned you've got to go through some tough times to realize the good times definitely were that much sweeter."
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE CAR OF TOMORROW?
"There's a few different ways to answer that question, but first off, the communication between a crew chief an driver builds and goes over time to make developing setups easier. I see that as a plus for us because we're going to continue with that. The car of tomorrow looking at it is a matter of just quantity, getting out there and burning off practices and doing as much as you can at tracks like Milwaukee or Kentucky, even Memphis a little short track. It gets back to quantity. That's' why right now Ryan Newman and I are getting together as hard as we can to bring up ideas about that new car. Then we've got a third test driver that's doing things for us - Billy Weiss. He's off flogging laps, lap after lap after lap. It's a good combination we have with Ryan driving the car, I'm in the car, and Billy Weiss has the most laps in it, so he could probably go win a race quicker than we can right now with the knowledge he has about the car. You've got to be able to put that in reality and that's at Bristol next year. That's the first race, and there's going to be a ton of questions going in. Who knows? You might have a got like Scott Wimmer that has a shot at victory that day just because they stumbled across something quicker than other teams."