Las Vegas: Ford - Kurt Busch interview

This Week in Ford Racing February 25, 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus, is a native of Las Vegas and was one of two Roush NWC teams testing at the track, along with Greg Biffle. Busch comes into this...

This Week in Ford Racing
February 25, 2003

NASCAR Winston Cup

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus, is a native of Las Vegas and was one of two Roush NWC teams testing at the track, along with Greg Biffle. Busch comes into this weekend's race having posted six top-five finishes in the last seven races dating back to last season with that lone non-top five effort being a sixth-place showing at Phoenix. Busch gave his perspective on LVMS and why so many teams tested there in January.

KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus

IS THIS RACE THE FIRST REAL TEST TO SEE WHO WILL BE GOOD IN 2003?

"It's the test to see who got what built during the off-season and who needs to head which way. We had a lot of rule changes with templates and aero things, so a lot of teams chose to go there. Beside that, a lot of teams went there, A, because of the weather; B, because it is the third race of the year; and C, because it is a flat track where you need a lot of downforce. Since it's so early in the year, it makes sense to go there and get your number base built up. Las Vegas and Atlanta will give you a good indication because you can't run the same car at both tracks. The main reason why is the turnaround time. By the time you drive back to Charlotte, you have to load another car on and go to Atlanta. So those two cars give you a good indication of where you are and that will paint the direction of where you need to head for your next wind tunnel visit. Then we should be able to compare the Fords, Chevys, Pontiacs and Dodges."

DO YOU FEEL THE CHEVYS AND PONTIACS WILL BE A LOT BETTER THAN THE OTHER MAKES AT VEGAS?

"I think their car is more effective because it has low drag and high downforce. That's just an opinion of mine. I don't really know where they are in relation to us, but I know we lost quite a bit of downforce in the back and front with this new change, but we kept our balance. That's something that Jimmy Fennig and I worked on was the balance of the car. That way we've got a pretty good A and B to know what we had before and what we're taking now. Another reason to go test Vegas is the fact that we haven't been there in 10 months and times have changed in that time as far as the springs and bars you pick to use. The Chevys were real fast the first day at Vegas, but they ran real well at Kansas, a track that is very similar. We just took our Ford Taurus and mocked up a couple of ideas from that track and picked up some speed, so we've got to give the car a whole new look chassis-wise because we're lacking downforce numbers in a specific area. It's a fine balance. You go out there to get numbers and do some research. We did some different things we've never done before just to collect data."

HISTORY SHOWS YOU DON'T HAVE MANY CAUTIONS AT VEGAS, SO YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD FROM THE START.

"That's very accurate. You've got to be able to go right away. You've got to qualify well and stay up front. The cars that started up front last year were the ones that stayed up there all throughout the race. At the end there were a lot of two tire stops that jumbled up the field and created a different outlook, but you've got to go. There are no yellows there. You've got to make sure that when you're done in happy hour, you've got an adjustable car with air pressures and spring rubbers because you can't take a lot of time on pit road to change something out."

IS IT ONE OF THE MORE FUN TRACKS TO RUN?

"It's gorgeous. It's a lot of fun. You can drive five-wide down the front straightaway and then funnel down to two-wide going into the corners with no stress whatsoever. The asphalt has matured well enough there to where you can do a lot of things - run low, run the middle, and the high groove is coming in as well. You can race side-by-side for quite a long time around there. You can pin somebody low or keep somebody up high and you've got a whole different feel there than you do at the other places that are shaped just like it."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch