Kansas: Kurt Busch - Dodge Friday interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) HOW HAS YOUR CHASE EXPERIENCE BEEN UP TO THIS POINT? "I'm one carburetor short of leading in points, so for us it's been good. We've worked hard to get into the Chase and we'll still continue to give...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

HOW HAS YOUR CHASE EXPERIENCE BEEN UP TO THIS POINT? "I'm one carburetor short of leading in points, so for us it's been good. We've worked hard to get into the Chase and we'll still continue to give a good effort all the way up until the end. Each race it just continues to get tougher and tougher the closer you get until the end. There are still plenty of races to go. Eight races as a matter of fact. And we feel like this weekend is a great opportunity to get the Miller Lite Dodge to run good on a mile-and-a-half track. The same type of cars that we had earlier at Michigan and Pocono where we have a couple wins this year, so I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to hit the track and be out there with the downforce car and to just feel the downforce again and have a good weekend."

HOW MUCH HAVE YOU WORKED ON THE OLD STYLE CAR AND HOW GOOD DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING THAT CAR THIS WEEKEND? "I feel like we have a better chance this weekend than we would against the other teams just because Pat Tryson has come aboard the last few months and looked at our downforce cars and said you know what we still have enough time to make an impact and make a difference. So we have been in the wind tunnel working very hard on our downforce cars. You might even say that we've worked a little extra hard compared to some other teams. So yeah, it's a bit different. I mean we've been in the COT the last three races. It seems forever and a day ago since we raced one of these downforce cars. So here we are and we feel like we are really prepared and ready to go."

WITH THE POSITION THAT YOU'RE IN NOW DO YOU JUST HAVE TO GO FOR WINS UNTIL YOU GET BACK CLOSER IN POINTS? "We can just build consistency and that will get us right back in the game. Wins are nice. Those extra 10 points to win help you, especially with how tight it is right now. You can't just get it all back in one week. The good thing is that we have eight weeks left to go do it."

HOW DO YOU REGAIN THE MOMENTUM THAT YOU HAD COMING INTO THE CHASE? "I can't wait until we find a new word to use. The momentum thing is actually starting to bug me, but you go out there and you race every week like there is a fresh week ahead of you and if you do well then that is great. The next week you could fall off that soap box just as quick. The way that the Car of Tomorrow races and then the downforce cars are, you just can't carry success from the Car of Tomorrow into your downforce setup, so it's all new. It's fresh each and every week. The way that we've been running out on the racetrack it's been great. We've had a third place car at New Hamshire, we were running third at Dover with 15 laps to go and we got a flat tire. So, a couple quick things took us down to 11th in points instead of the top three. You could say that our momentum has fizzled or we're here at a downforce track ready to go."

WHAT IS THE KEY TO THIS TRACK? "Kansas Speedway has spent the time to help build this facility up and with the way that the asphalt has cured over the few years gives us more opportunities to race side by side and feel the grip of the asphalt from the bottom lane to the top of the race track. And Goodyear, Goodyear has had time to develop a better tire and getting the feel for the G-forces and the loads that the tires see here and so they come back with a better tire to help us race. It just continues to get better. Racetracks in many ways are like golf courses, they get better with age."

WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE TALLADEGA TEST WITH THE CAR OF TOMORROW? "As always Talladega will be the wildcard in the Chase. But yet, leading to the future of our sport with this Car of Tomorrow at Daytona and Talladega it really is exciting to have that many different things to work on. We don't know what gear rule we're going to have or what restrictor plate we are going to have. The front springs, where do we run the sway bar, the track bar, so there is a bunch of different options. Where we were with the old car it just seemed like everything was scienced out. We didn't change much when we go to the racetrack with the old cars. And then the draft itself, it seems like I don't know if more violent is the word, or just more dramatic that if you're in the draft you're just motoring. You're going pretty good with the guys with you. If you lose the draft, which it's easier to do, then you are sitting there like a fish out of water. So it's going to be really interesting."

IN THE OLD CARS AT TALLADEGA SOME DRIVERS USED TO LOOK THROUGH THE WINDSHILD OR THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU TO MAYBE TWO OR THREE CARS IN FRONT OF YOU. DOES THE WING BLOCK THAT NOW, OR DID YOU NOTICE ANY PROBLEMS THERE? "It's a bit different because we used to run a 55 degree spoiler angle at Daytona and Talladega which meant that it laid back a little more and so you could see a bit better with where the cars were in front of you and through the guys windshield in front of you, so with the wing there is still the obstruction just like there is with a rear-spoiler on the car, you just have to look a little bit stronger and you have to predict more moves from the other guys. It's going to be a bit different, it's not the same, so you have to react and make changes. Whoever does that the best will probably have the best shot at winning."

ON JEFF BURTON "I really like Jeff Burton. I think he puts on the cap of being the drivers' voice. If there was one guy who could lead our opinion or voice what we have to say most of us would turn to Jeff Burton with his years of experience and his savvy ways of relaying information as a driver would to the sanctioning body. There is no union in our sport, but if we had a guy I think it would be Jeff Burton."

ON BUMP DRAFTING AT TALLADEGA "It is a double edged sword. With how comfortable the cars are to draft. The bumpers line up and you are able to bump draft and the cars are very stable. The rules will still be enforced the same way where there is the "No Zone" that NASCAR doesn't like to see you bump draft in the corners or through the tri-oval and hopefully the drivers will respect that, but at the same time the cars are easier to drive. So it will be interesting. It's just part of the balance. It's safer to drive these cars, but anytime you get safer the drivers get more aggressive."

WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED ABOUT THE ROUSH CARS AND WHY THEY ARE RUNNING SO MUCH BETTER? "I probably shouldn't say this, but maybe because they are low on the right rear corner. It's great to see all the teams working as hard as they are. We're working on every area of this Car of Tomorrow knowing that we haven't driven it in to victory lane just yet so we don't know what to do. It's an exciting challenge to work on a car and try to beat the best. The best right now are Hendrick and the Gibbs cars have done okay, and now the Roush cars have won a couple of these COT races. Bristol and Dover have now seemed to match up with themselves better. Everybody used to say that Bristol was the little brother to Dover and I never bought that, but now with the Car of Tomorrow and the way that it drives, man, they are almost identical. So it's really interesting how the teams and everybody has begun to play catch up or is now winning races. It's just the evolution of a new car and the game of being the best one week and not being the best the next."

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE REASON FOR THE INCREASE IN CAUTION FLAGS AT TALLADEGA OVER THE LAST COUPLE YEARS? "Restrictor plates would be one. Competition level would be another. And then the evolution of drafting would be the third one. Guys before would just race their cars and I'm sure they new they got tight behind other cars, but they would just work on it or deal with it. Now it seems like there is this quote of dirty air or the aero push. So, those things pop up when you are driving around and it just creates a different environment. You know, before the cars would really spread themselves out and cars would win by a lap. I watched Bill Elliott come from a lap down by himself and drove by everybody and win a race there. That's not going to happen anymore. What happens is if you miss the pack of 35 or 36 cars driving around then most likely you're probably going to go a lap down and you're not going to get back in the draft. So the draft instead of being a four or a five car pack leading is now a 35 car pack. So with more cars it the mix you are going to have more yellows."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kurt Busch