KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) ON GOALS FOR SUNDAY'S RACE "It has been a great season for Penske and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. It's tough that I only get to see you guys this Friday Morning. If we were doing better we would...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
ON GOALS FOR SUNDAY'S RACE "It has been a great season for Penske and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. It's tough that I only get to see you guys this Friday Morning. If we were doing better we would of been down here earlier to talk to you. To have a good season, to lead laps and get bonus points, as many as Championship point leader Jimmie Johnson, and to have two wins we can consider this a successful season. But when you compare it to the likes of Jimmie and Jeff it actually is nothing to open your left eye for when the alarm clock goes off. It has been a really incredible season to watch the 48 and the 24.
"For us with the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge we felt like we had a great season [in] my second year with Penske Racing. We're really looking for a lot more next year. You can really look at the bonus points as a good indication that the car is running strong; we're leading laps at a lot of different race tracks. We led [the] most laps five different times. We got the same amount of bonus points as the guy that has 10 wins. What that means to me is that we have to step it up in the final 25 laps like the 48 car does and see if we can't get into victory lane more often. I use to say Matt Kenseth was the "silver fox", the David Pearson of the current but it looks like Jimmie Johnson has taken the role of showing up when it counts to take that checkered flag. All-in-all we're impressed with his stats but we're also happy with what we've accomplished this season. We're only 47 points out of sixth place and I think it just turns into bragging rights once you get down to this point of the year. It will be nice to get into the top 10 for our sponsors."
THOUGHTS ON THIS BEING THE FINAL RACE WITH THE CURRENT CAR "This race in my mind holds quite a bit of value just because it is the final race for this old style car. This is a car that has been used for many years it has been praised because of its comparison to this new car that we're going to. Yet, the way that it drives, the way that it feels it will be missed. It is sad to see it go. It will be a farewell to a car that led us through many years of NASCAR racing. This is the same car that we used to win with at Michigan. We appropriately named it "Roger". It we have a chance to go to victory lane on Sunday hopefully we will be able to retire this car with two race wins and the name "Roger" on it. "
ON THE CONSISTENCY OF CHEVY
"I don't think it has as much to do with the auto manufacture as you might think. It is a strong indication that Chevy is a competitive team and they have the most chances at winning each race weekend. They have the most cars out there. They have the most shot at winning each weekend. Hendrick Motorsports have been unstoppable this year. They hit on the key element of what it takes to make the COT go around the race track. I think it has a lot to do with the front end geometry of these cars. I said, 'the team that figured it out, would be able to run away with it'. Sure enough that is what happened."
WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ON THE CHASE IN ITS FOURTH YEAR, DO YOU THINK IT HAS LIVED UP TO EXPECATIONS? "Absolutely. I think it has exceeded expectations in many areas. This year has to be some what of an exemption just because a guy doesn't usually win 10 races in a season. But you can't fault the Chase for this format. No matter what program you would have dialed in for points, Jimmie Johnson would have been a runaway with it. To have it only 86 points I think that is a blessing. I'm just happy that the Chase has worked out to everybody's expectations. The way you have to race competitive just to get in the Chase and then to perform during the 10 race stretch. It compares this sport to other sports that you have to be on your game during the playoffs if you want to win Championships."
"If you are in contention and if you come down to the final race within 100 points your mindset seems to wander and it seems different. You've raced all season long and put yourself in position to win a Championship and there seems to be those nasty, little gremlins that pop up. Whether it's sounds or smells or whether you're just looking at something the wrong way. Things pop into your head and you have to be able to withstand those demons and put your best foot forward and to think positive things and to have a positive day at the end. In retrospect, 2004 was the year I was prepared to win and I was prepared to lose at the same time. You just hope that you come out on the positive end of things when they do go wrong."
WHAT IS YOUR ENDURING MEMORY FROM 2007? "I was asked that last week. This season has been a great season for me with Penske Racing. Fitting in with this group and bringing them to victory lane. Racing into the Chase. We had a successful summer run to get us into the race for the Chase. That is what this season will mean. It is a cornerstone to where we made a good turn, everything is positive about my decision to go to this race team and their decision to pick me up as the driver. It is almost like, it's OK for Kurt to drive the Miller Lite Dodge and everybody's feeling that. Whether it's internally or my race fans, we're very happy about what 2008 is going to bring."
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WIN THE RACE HERE AND HAVE TO SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT WITH THE CHAMPION? "I told Jimmie Johnson, make it simple. Please, don't allow anyone else to win, just win the race and that way you get both stages because they can't build a big enough stage for [him] in New York for what you've done this year. We'll see what happens with Jimmie this weekend. I've see Greg Biffle do it three years now. The way it worked out for us in 2002, you're just on a high all off season. You won the last race. Most of the time when you win a race there is going to be someone that bumps you off the next week. When you win the last race of the season you carry that for a few extra weeks and you get to brag that you were the last winner in the Nextel Cup Series. When you win the last race of the season at Homestead you get a couple months."
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT CHASE CHAMPIONS COMPARED TO PAST CHAMPIONS? "It is an interesting topic. I think this competition level that we have currently is the fiercest amongst all eras. This generation of Champions and drivers has raised the bar. It has turned it into a young man's game. This one can be looked at as one of the toughest groups and one of the toughest eras to win a Championship but yet it was no easy picnic a few decades ago. Each generation has its own champions, its own cars and its own place in history."
ON TRENDS IN THE SPORT "I've seen trends in the sport. The years that I've been here there has been soft tires, then hard tires. A new change in the car and how people and teams have to drive and build these cars. Sometimes those big changes help other teams then they hurt other teams. NASCAR always keeps it interesting. You never know what rule changes they are going to come up with. There have been all types of complaints about the COT and they have been reluctant to change anything. I think they know they want to change some things but they space it out at appropriate times just to keep the crew chiefs and the teams guessing and maybe change the goats at the top of the hill. It's a king of the hill deal where right now Hendrick has been on top and maybe the next change NASCAR throws our way will take away some of their advantage and allow some of the other teams to keep up."
-credit: dodge motorsports