KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd) DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING FOR BILL IF IT WOULD HAVE GONE THE DISTANCE? "On that restart when we were third I thought the car to beat would have been the 40 car because the 9 was a little loose on...
KURT BUSCH --97-- Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd)
DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING FOR BILL IF IT WOULD HAVE GONE THE DISTANCE?
"On that restart when we were third I thought the car to beat would have been the 40 car because the 9 was a little loose on the get-go. I thought we could get by him and we'd be racing the 40, but, come to think of it, the 9 car sat there and rode all day long behind the 40 car -- played possum -- and he showed his cards and went. We made adjustments all day on the car. We would change this and counteract that and just throw something at it to get a different balance on it. We took wedge out on that last run and that was unaffective. If I had to do it over again, I would have raised the track bar and we would have been able to race 'em pretty hard."
HOW TOUGH WOULD IT HAVE BEEN TO CATCH ELLIOTT?
"We were behind the eight-ball all day as far as track position, so we just kept working at it and getting towards the front and sniffing that clean air. We kept making the car better and, at the end there, I was running the high line to keep it wound up on the top side of one and that may have shown him the way to go around the race track. His Clydesdales would sure run from turn one to turn two and he went right around the 40 car. I was as surprised as anyone else that he was able to make that pass that easily and then I was able to scoot by the 40 car as well coming out of turn three. He was just a stout race car. He was stout in qualifying. He was stout at Loudon. I don't know where they get this magic from, but I'm pretty sure they did a lot of testing at Miami last year and the year before that and Miami is a race track that applies to all flat tracks and Ray Evernham surely has it figured out, that's for sure. I was 10 years old when Bill Elliott was winning races back in 1988 and I would have thought that would have been the end of it, but here we are in 2002 and he's just as strong as ever."
HOW HARD IS IT TO HAVE THOSE LONG DELAYS LIKE TODAY?
"It was almost funny. It was like back in the sixties, they had to repair the fence because the fence got torn down. There was a little bit of delay there and then the rain. We almost could have gotten the race in if the fence wasn't torn down before the race came. We would have gotten 100 laps in, but you just have to wait and you have to know when to go. That's part of the game. Just like a rain delay in baseball, you've got to stay focussed and make sure that there's not too many distractions that pull you away. You've just got to hunker down and just look forward when you jump in the car. That's all there is to it."
RYAN NEWMAN --12-- ALLTEL Taurus (Finished 5th)
DID THE DELAYS CAUSE ANY PROBLEM FOR YOU?
"Driver-wise, it doesn't make much difference. The biggest thing, I think, was just the track changed a little bit. It went from being pretty cool and humid to just plain humid when it was raining. Then it got warm again and cooled off later tonight. I think that was the biggest change and just drawing it out made it definitely a physical race for me anyway."
HOW WAS VISIBILITY IN THE CLOSING LAPS?
"I've driven on dirt before, so it doesn't really matter how dark it is when you've got your shield full of mud. You can see through just about anything as long as you've got your mind on it and you want to."
"I was just looking at the board making sure that 175 came as quick as it could. There was no big factor in there."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CARRYING THE BANNER OF THE YOUNGER GUYS IN THE SPORT?
"It's great to be considered in that class of the young guns, so to speak, the ones that are going forward. There's a lot of hype with it and there's a lot of media this way and that way with the drivers. Old guys and young guys alike, we're all out there racing just as hard against one another. It's great to be classified within that group. I'm 23 years old, 24 next week, and I'm just out here racing away. I've learned as much as I could in a short amount of time and we're just classified in that group because we're young, so to speak. The older drivers might not like that. They might not like the media attention that's headed our way, but coming down to it, we're the ones winning races. Bill Elliott got into victory lane today. It's been a great year for young drivers and I think there's been a great changing as far as the way setups have gone. It takes more of an open mind to understand what setups take and what ideas are needed to get around what race tracks. It's just a matter of throwing away the notebook sometimes and going after it."
ON BEING A YOUNG DRIVER.
"Last week Ward Burton won and this week it's Bill Elliott. Next week it could be anybody. It's just close. Without a doubt, it's good to be considered one of the up-and-coming NASCAR racers, but, to me, it doesn't really matter. I race as hard as I can every lap no matter how old I am or how old a guy is next to me, and I'm sure everybody else does the same thing."
YOU PICKED UP SOME SPOTS IN THE POINTS.
"It seemed like we could never get a jump on the points. We'd have a top 10 finish and we'd stay ninth. We'd have a 30th-place finish and we'd drop back to 15th. It's great to have a jump in points, but you can't really focus on it too hard. Your sole objective is just to run competitively every week and, for us, we've been in the top 10 in the last five out of six races -- excluding Daytona. You add a little tussle there and we're gonna keep moving on. As long as we keep having smooth days like we had today, where we had no altercations that really set us back. It was kind of an uneventful day. We just kept plugging away and picking off cars one at a time and to have a great day like this is really satisfying to know we can put together a good finish anytime. We've just got to keep doing it and doing it. Roush Racing has really made the turn this year and I'm real proud of everybody in the whole organization for putting their heads down and working together."
WHAT ABOUT RACING NEXT WEEK AT INDY?
"I definitely have a lot of fans, I think mostly because of growing up and racing around that area. But, to me, it's an awesome race track and it's got a lot of history. A lot of legendary drivers have raced there, but it's just another stop on the schedule and I think that's how everybody really treats it. You go there and do the best job you can as a team and then you walk away and that's what you get. I guess that's pretty much the same everywhere."