Rain delayed NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying on Friday. Roush Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch both made their first Cup start at Dover Downs International Speedway - and both have done very well here. Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt...
Rain delayed NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying on Friday. Roush Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch both made their first Cup start at Dover Downs International Speedway - and both have done very well here. Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Tools Taurus, made his first start in 1998 at the track and in four career races there has finished second, fourth, sixth and 12th. He's completed 1,599 of a possible 1,600 laps. Busch, driver of the No. 97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus, made his first start last fall and finished 18th after qualifying 10th. Also that weekend, Busch won the Craftsman Truck Series race after qualifying on the pole. During Friday's rain delay, both talked about Dover.
MATT KENSETH-17-DeWalt Tools Taurus-
IN FOUR CAREER RACES HERE, YOU'VE RUN 1,599 OF A POSSIBLE 1,600 LAPS AND SCORED THREE TOP-10S. WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOU AND THIS TRACK?
"I don't know, it's just always been a track I've liked since the first time I came here. We've got a lot of speed, you can drive in the corner pretty hard and get in the gas real hard, and it's got some banking to it, it's just got all the things I kind of like in a race track. And, we've always been able to hit a fairly decent set-up here."
IT'S A RATHER UNIQUE TRACK. HAD YOU RUN ON ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE?
No, not before I came here. This track, like I say, is kind of unique, it's kind of all by itself."
YOUR FIRST TRIP HERE WAS AS A FILL-IN FOR BILL ELLIOTT IN 1998.
"That was actually the third or fourth time I had been here. I came here in '97 for both Busch races and that was my first Winston Cup race, but I was here a few times before that. We ran pretty good the year before that with our Busch car and we ran real good that day with our Busch car. The first time I came here, in '97, when we walked in here, it's a pretty intimidating place. You stand in the garage area and look out and all you see is race track, it looks like a wall it's up so far, so, it's pretty cool."
LAST YEAR YOU ARRIVED AT DOVER FOLLOWING YOUR FIRST CAREER VICTORY. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW AND THEN?
"We have a little bit more experience as a group and our pit stops are probably better than they were a year ago, and we probably have better cars than we did a year ago, we just haven't been able to put everything together to perform as good as we did at the beginning of last year when we got started."
KURT BUSCH-97-Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus-
LAST FALL, HERE AT DOVER, YOU HAD A PRETTY BUSY WEEKEND. YOU RAN IN THE TRUCK SERIES RACE AND THEN MADE YOUR WINSTON CUP DEBUT.
"That was the first time I had ever seen this track, and all that I knew about it was this place is the Monster Mile, it chews up cars, it spits out trucks, whatever it is, this is the toughest place. Jack's like, 'Oh, let's go run a Winston Cup car there for your first ride.' 'Okay, Jack.' I came to find out that this track is my dream type track. It has so much grip, the banking is the perfect amount. It's a challenging race track, but yet I feel at home out here. It's comparable to what I grew up on out on the west coast."
HOW DOES IT COMPARE?
"The way that you can drive and attack the corners, so to speak. It has the grip to hold the car, whether it's a truck or a car, and you get to drive through the center of the corner. It's a little hairy leaving the exits to the corners, it sharpens up and it's a bit tight and the transition going from that 24-degree bank to the 15 or so on the straightaway, you kind of jump out of the corner. So, it's really, it's a great roller-coaster type ride of a race track."
DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO LIKE THIS TRACK WHEN YOU FIRST SAW IT, OR DID YOU HAVE TO DRIVE ON IT FIRST?
"It was almost intimidating, looking at it the first time. I was only 21, 22 years old, looking at it and trying to drive it in Winston Cup - I gotta go fast. It just took a few laps to get adjusted to it. We tested here, tested real well, and it's a fun race track. It gets back to having fun again."
AND THEN, ALL YOU DID WAS WIN THE POLE AND THEN WIN THE RACE.
"In the Truck Series. It was a wonderful weekend. We had a great truck. Greg Biffle and I kept challenging one another on who could go faster and he ended up brushing the wall late in the practice session and I knew that was about as fast we were going to go that weekend. We got the track record, and it held this year, so we knew we were going fast, and it transferred over to my knowledge on the Winston Cup car to help us qualify 10th. To run two vehicles is a benefit all the time."
YOU VERY BUSY THAT WEEKEND, BUT IT WAS YOUR FIRST WINSTON CUP START. DO YOU LOOK BACK NOW ON THAT WEEKEND AND REMEMBER IT FONDLY?
"Yeah. This track will always have a sentimental value to me. To come back here, this is my second attempt, and we have a fairly decent car today that might be qualifying in the top 10, if we get a chance to. But, to have this place as your first career Winston Cup start, it's a wonderful track to do it at. And to run well, it just seems like second nature here. It just happens for me here. And hopefully we'll be able to continue that."