KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) NOTE: Busch responds to penalty resulting from rule infraction at Dover last Monday. Busch was penalized 100 championship points, fined $100,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 2007. He dropped...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Busch responds to penalty resulting from rule infraction at Dover last Monday. Busch was penalized 100 championship points, fined $100,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 2007. He dropped from 11th to a tie for 17th in the series standings, 88 points out of 12th place.
"I regret my actions on Monday during the race. To accept the penalty, that's what we're going to do. I'm glad I'm here to race the car this weekend. We've got our work cut out for us to gain these 100 points back. The money, hopefully it goes to the NASCAR Foundation or whatever they do with the funds. We're here to move forward. The real incident was out on the racetrack. What happened on pit road is the real story. I reached out for Jason Lee, the crew member on Joe Gibbs' team, and left him a message to clear some of the air on things, to let him know that it was not my intention at all to put him in danger. What the beef is is between me and Tony out on the track."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO TONY? "I have not talked to Tony. I reached out to J.D. Gibbs. I talked to coach Gibbs' son about everything. He's going to try to put us together, but Tony's got a lot of things going on. The guy is a two-time champion. I respect him. Everybody in the garage area respects his driving ability and what he can do with a racecar. He just seems to absorb a lot with all the things he does outside of the racetrack. It's almost like he's our NASCAR version of Rosie O'Donnell right now. We'll see what happens with everything."
DOES THE PENALTY SURPRISE YOU? "It's a bit surprising yet safety on pit road can't be compromised. I understand that. To me, it's a matter of making sure everybody is as safe as possible on pit road. Dover is one of the tightest spots we go to for pit road action, so we'll do what we can to put this behind us and move forward to gain our 100 points back and to worry about what we have to do to get the Miller Lite Dodge in The Chase."
ANY REGRETS ABOUT YOUR ACTIONS? "That's what I started with. I do regret what I did Monday during the Dover race. If I'd just kept it out on the racetrack everything would have still been pretty cool with everything in general, yet the incident between Tony and I still needs to be discussed. The guy thought I didn't race him with enough room, and I felt like he didn't race me with enough room. It hurt us both in points, so that's the tough part."
WAS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT HAVING TO SIT OUT A RACE? "There was almost hitting a guy on pit road versus actual. That's still what needs to be separated here. We can't say I hit the guy because I had my car under control when I stopped next to Tony's car on pit road. Yeah, I did think I was probably going to get parked, but it's a blessing that NASCAR realized that nothing too serious did happen so we can move forward with this and get back to the normal roots of racing for us, which is to go and gain points on Sunday."
HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO GAIN BACK THOSE POINTS? "There are a lot of good guys now stacked from seventh to 16th in points. That''s what makes our sport interesting right now, the competition value. For us we feel like we've got good tracks coming up. We've been better this year at Penske running competitively. The COT races have been really good for us. We come back to a track here like Pocono and I couldn't ask for a better track to bounce back from a bad week in points because we finished second here both races last year."
WHY DID YOU STOP ON PIT ROAD? "I had the car under control when I stopped on pit road, which was something I didn't even need to stop. The incident happened out on the track, and that's where we need to move forward with things. The point why I stopped is that I wanted to convey how serious the issue was. I wanted him to look me in the whites of my eyes and see how upset I was. You can do things and talk about things, but if right there in the heat of the moment pull up to somebody and let them know and he can see the whites of your eyes and see how upset you are, that's pretty serious. We do need to discuss how we can move forward out on the racetrack together. The pit crew guy saw me, jumped out of the way, but I had my car under control. That's the issue, but the real issue is out on the racetrack."
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO TONY? "We'll see how things develop in the talks. We both need to give each other a bit more room on the track, and he thought I was racing him a bit too hard, where I've been very generous out on the track. I haven't had problems with any of the drivers in the past for quite a few years. I've been around long enough and seen the good days and the bad days to know how to deal with some of the drivers out on the racetrack. Ask guys like Jeff Gordon or Dale Jr. how I race them. You can ask guys like Ward Burton or guys that are trying to make each race how I try to help them. Brian Vickers has always been a good ally of mine on the restrictor plate tracks. A guy like him was trying to make the race at the Daytona 500 this year, and I was drafting with him because I think he's a great guy that deserves to be in these races. We've got our business to go tend to. Right now I've got to go to a meeting with NASCAR. Then we go qualify. We've got business to attend to."
DID NOT GOING TO ELDORA HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE INCIDENT? "I had a test at VIR scheduled. I was disappointed I couldn't go to Eldora. His business manager Eddie asked me about it when it first came together. I said 'man, I'm going to try to get this changed, but our road course testing is very important to us.' We had a great test at VIR. I don't think it had anything to do with it, but Tony's going to have to answer that."
COMMENT ON YESTERDAY "It was an interesting day yesterday for me going down to Daytona Beach for Mr. France's funeral, going through those tough times, paying tribute and giving honor to the man who created this sport we all get to work in each and every day. It was great to listen to some of the stories and to have Mr. Rick Hendrick stand up there and tell you when Mr. France asks you to jump you jump and you jump how high for what he wants you to do. A story that came out of the deal was that there's a couple of drivers that didn't get along back in the past and they made a movie about it. France told those two drivers that he didn't want to see those two next to each other on the racetrack having a problem. I'll jump in and make sure you two don't have a problem. Tony has realized and I realized from my past that we both need to move on pretty quick. We'll help each other get down the road a little further. This could develop a stronger friendship between Tony and I."
-credit: dodge motorsports