Ford Racing - Kurt Busch interview

Busch makes first "The Winston" appearance. One of the drivers making his first appearance in The Winston is Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus. Busch qualified for the all-star event as a result of his first NASCAR Winston Cup...

Busch makes first "The Winston" appearance.

One of the drivers making his first appearance in The Winston is Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus. Busch qualified for the all-star event as a result of his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series win at Bristol earlier this season.

KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT MAKING THE WINSTON THIS YEAR?

"It's gonna be a heck of a lot better. Last year it was a weird combination of the car that we took there (for The Winston Open) and the setup. We more or less just fell on our face as far as what we needed to do to get into the race, so, this year, we're in The Winston and we've got a setup that's won that race before. Mark Martin won a few years ago and even though things have changed a little bit since then, Charlotte is a race track that isn't all about aerodynamics. You've got to have that car handle, and it's a great race track to have that race at because it's two- and three-wide all the time. The flash bulbs are going off in the stands and the sparks are flying on the track, so it's gonna be fun to be in it. We're bringing a decent car. It's a car that's not at the bottom of our totem pole and it's not the highest. It's a good car that can go and win the race."

DOES THIS TAKE YOU BACK TO WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED RACING, WHERE YOU HAVE TO PRETTY MUCH LET IT ALL HANG OUT FOR A 20- OR 30-LAP SEGMENT?

"That's the focus you have to put down. You don't have to wait for the car to come in because it's gonna be there for you. You don't have to worry about abusing tires because there is gonna be another set waiting for you in 30 laps, so it's a mindset where you can just go -- where you can just put the throttle pedal to the floor and go to the front."

IS IT MORE FUN TO BE IN A RACE WHERE POINTS ARE NOT INVOLVED?

"We want to bring the car back in one piece and that's my objective. The quote I've lived by since day one is to bring that car home in one piece so we can work on it the next day. But, for The Winston and the money that's up for grabs and the points that you don't have to worry about, it creates an environment where all you see are gutsy moves from everybody. Yet, there are things that can be learned from the race. We learned in the Bud Shootout and that surely helped our top-five effort at the Daytona 500. We're going with the thought process of winning the Coca-Cola 600, so maybe there are some things that we can pull out of The Winston that will help us later in the week."

YOU DIDN'T RACE IN THE PREVIOUS FORMAT, BUT DO YOU LIKE THE WAY THIS YEAR'S RACE IS BROKEN DOWN IN SEGMENTS?

"I think it's gonna be great. It's gonna take quality cars to move to the front and all of the guys have to have a strategy. You can't just sit around and hang in the back. You've got to race consistently throughout the event to be up front and make the cut. That's more or less what it is -- making the cut. It's almost like a Gong Show for me."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE PART OF SUCH AN ALL-STAR LINEUP AND BE CONSIDERED THE BEST OF THE BEST?

"You could say it's like that. When you go to Daytona and you're in the shootout a week before the 500, it's got a different crop of drivers in it and you can learn a number of things from those experienced veterans. You just feel different when you're out there with them because when you go out for practice the next couple of days, you're out there with everybody and it seems more chaotic. It's not as smooth as it was in the Bud Shootout practice, so you can feel the difference. It's not the quality of drivers, maybe it's just the way the drivers think for the Bud Shootout. The Winston is nothing but winners and we've had a lot of different winners over the past few years, so it's gonna be an exciting race. There are gonna be 30 cars in that race and it's gonna be tough to make the cut, but I feel confident we can get our Rubbermaid Taurus to the front."

-ford-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch