KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Qualified 2nd) YOU WERE JUST A BIT SHORT OF CATCHING KASEY. "Yeah, it was a pretty good lap. I'm proud of that effort with our team. When we came here to test, this car was gonna be the B car...
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
YOU WERE JUST A BIT SHORT OF CATCHING KASEY. "Yeah, it was a pretty good lap. I'm proud of that effort with our team. When we came here to test, this car was gonna be the B car and when we began our test it turned out a little bit better than what we thought. We kept polishing on it and it ended up being better than the other car, whereas the other car was better in the wind tunnel. That just goes to show you what you have to do at the race track to be competitive and when you have to utilize a test the way we did to sort out our cars, it's turned out positive so far. To be a little shy and not gain the pole, it's a little disappointing but, all in all, it's a great start to our year. We've built solid cars - one at Daytona and finished 12th. We finished 12th at Rockingham, so, hopefully, we can work on the race setup on our new IRWIN Ford and get it to the front and hold it up there."
WILL IT BE SPECIAL KNOWING THE PACE CAR WILL BE THE ONLY CAR IN FRONT OF YOU SUNDAY? "It will be pretty neat - just for all the fans that stuck around for the end of qualifying. There were probably 50,000 here and it's great to go out there and perform in front of them. You feel that standing on pit road, but once you belt in the car and you have the steering wheel on, it's about racing that car to the best of its ability and that's when you feel the teamwork behind everything. With my crew chief making some last minute adjustments on the car and the tire guy, whose father just passed away with him coming back this week, and just a lot of team spirit involved. That's what it takes to be competitive at this level."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE ROOKIES QUALIFYING SO WELL TODAY? "It's great to see, just all the young guys in general. Of course, the veterans are doing well. Whether it's luck or whether it's the preparation or the young drivers having great opportunities from these team owners and sponsors. They want to see the young crowd win right away. This track lends itself to new ideas because anything seems to work here for a neutral-type package. But if you want to be better than the rest or if you want to have an edge, it takes that ingenuity from the engineer or the driver or that crew chief to brew something up. It showcased today with the 9 car being on the pole and with my crew chief and engineer working real well. They found that one little extra adjustment that got us on the front row."
HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR WERE THE COOLING TEMPERATURES? "I think it helped. Obviously, a little bit of luck comes into play at every race track we go to. I've been on the other side of it at Indianapolis, where we qualify on Saturday morning. The first car goes out at 11 when it's nice and cool. The last car goes out at 2 o'clock and it's slick and you lose three-tenths. So it was great that we had a nice, lucky draw. Living in Vegas all my life, we had hoped for that."
WHAT ABOUT RACING WITH KYLE ON SUNDAY? "It's a truly special day that's gonna happen on Sunday with both of us making a start in a Nextel Cup event at our home race track. It's something where he was actually old enough to watch this track get built from the ground up. We went and pushed our cars out on the desert and took some pictures back in 1994 not knowing that this place would be built. We've got pictures just of the desert where this track is now. Just watching from the 1998 Cup event here until today and then on Sunday. It's a phenomenal race track. They've kept up with the changing times. It's a first-class media center. It's a first-class race track and, of course, the people that run the place. I just don't say that because I'm from here, but I really feel special when we come here."
WHAT ABOUT THE EMOTIONS YOUR MOM AND DAD WILL HAVE SUNDAY? "She always likes to keep busy throughout the racing, whether it's behind the scenes or running a video camera. That's what she did when I first started with the dwarf cars and now she'll be in the scoring stand on Sunday for Kyle, so she gets to keep busy during the race and she won't be as nervous because she has something to do. It's a very special moment for her and my dad will be up on top in the spotter's stand, so they're very involved in my little brother's career and they still have been with mine. Now we all live together in North Carolina, so it's a cool family day in Vegas. Even though we don't live here anymore, you always have one hometown."