KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Finished 3rd "It was really a great day for us. All in all, we battled hard to get where we ended up. To finish third with where we were with 60 laps to go was definitely an overachievement. "Just...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Finished 3rd
"It was really a great day for us. All in all, we battled hard to get where we ended up. To finish third with where we were with 60 laps to go was definitely an overachievement.
"Just comes back to where I think (we are) with our short-run speed, we were able to hang in there and put up a good battle. We just didn't have overall speed throughout the day. We saw some guys get out there and stretch the lead, like Kasey Kahne and Jeff Burton, the 48. They came up battling through the pack and he was checking out for a while. But for us, to take a fifth- to tenth-place car and throw it into third place at the end, even giving it a shot to win; that was a great feeling to know that, hey, we can battle these guys and we just came up a bit short.
"All in all where we were today and Saturday, we just couldn't quite make the car any better through adjustments. It was just the only speed that we had, and so, hey, if it works out to a third place finish, we'll take it. It was a great battle at the end and for us to we just have to make the car a little better during the race to hold the guys off when we do get in lead position."
WHEN YOU KIND OF PUSHED THE 48 OUT OF THE WAY, DO YOU KNOW THAT IF HE GOT THAT CLOSE TO YOU THAT HE WAS GOING TO DO THE SAME? "Well, I thought it was a great short-track battle. It wasn't because he did something that I had to do something, or since I did something, he had to do it back. Driving down into turn three, I saw my window, and it was a perfect time to go for it, because our car was good on the short run, and once four or five laps got on the tires, I knew we were going to have a hard time holding them off and he was still going to be right there. So, just a classic, get in the corner a little bit deeper than the guy. We didn't just flat-out wreck them. We didn't cut his tire. We didn't drive over him. It was just a nice nudge that we are all used to seeing and appreciating on short tracks."
A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING INTO THE RACE PREDICTING PAYBACKS, MORE ACTION; GUYS RACING ROUGH AND IT DIDN'T TURN OUT LIKE THAT. CHARACTERIZE HOW THE RACING WAS OUT THERE? "You know, it was a surprising race with all of the green flag runs. Tony was caught on a different sequence all day and didn't really race hard for position. For us, we were just sliding back a little bit. We didn't quite have the offense as far as the speed went. So we were just riding. We were a good fifth- to 10th-place car, and on the short run, we could gain some spots. So, I felt like that was our opportunity to make some passes, but really, it was a nice event that had its long green runs and then had its action at the end."
DID YOU FEEL THAT NUDGING JIMMIE ON THE RESTART THE ONLY CHANCE TO GET BY HIM KNOWING WHAT YOUR SPEED WAS? WAS THAT YOUR ONLY CHANCE TO GET BY HIM KNOWING WHAT YOUR SPEED WAS, AND LOOKING FORWARD, WAS IT IMPORTANT TO SEND A MESSAGE THERE AND LET HIM KNOW THAT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WIN THE RACE GOING AWAY? "The thought was 10 points winning would look a lot better stacked in our deck than his chip count. That was the original thought. Driving into turn three, I had all intentions of passing him on the inside and trying to cut underneath him at the apex. I just got into him a little bit in the left rear and nudged him up and we were able to squeak on by. Your motive is always to pass a guy clean and you always want to make sure that when you do pass him, that he's not completely upset with you and then we'll go and race again if he's going to come back and try to pass me at the end, and he did, he did great."
WERE YOU A BIT SURPRISED THAT THE LEADER DIDN'T GO INTO THE PIT? "Man, it's tough being a leader and trying to decide if you need two tires or if you need to stay out. Jeff Burton's situation, his car looked good on those long green runs and he probably wasn't happy to see the yellow. Everybody pits, he doesn't; he's a sitting duck. Our opportunity was we can't win the race with old tires. Let's put on two at least and go for it, and so that's what helped our day."
MARK MARTIN SAID ON FRIDAY THAT RACING HAS REALLY CHANGED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS AS FAR AS LACK OF RESPECT AND LACK OF BEING ABLE TO TRUST OTHER DRIVERS OUT THERE AS MUCH AS YOU USED TO BE ABLE TO TRUST THEM TO RACE YOU THE WAY YOU RACE THEM. TODAY, REALLY, THE CLOSING LAPS SHOWED THE ULTIMATE RESPECT BETWEEN DRIVERS. DO YOU THINK WHAT MARK SAID IS TRUE OR IT'S JUST THE NATURE OF THE BEAST? "Yeah. Mark is correct. It's tough because Mark is a very well respected guy in the garage and when he speaks, it goes a long way, and we all listen. At the end of this race, we saw champion drivers running up front and rubbing each other and bringing it on home.
"Jeff is a champion driver, and he had a bad day at Sonoma. Things happen. But when Jeff Burton talked about guys have lost respect for each other and that you have to use your brake pedal or, it's tough because we have double file restarts all the time and checkered flags now. We had a 10th-place car and finished third today. You hope that you can gain spots at the end. Everybody thinks that they can gain spots.
"I think my little brother finished 11th today. He had a top three car. At the end, it's not every man for himself, you're trying to race hard and smart, but ultimately you want to bring it on home for your team but you don't want to upset other drivers while you're doing it."
TAKE AWAY THE SONOMA INCIDENT, THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A FIFTH STRAIGHT TOP-10 FINISH FOR YOU. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR TEAM IS WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE OR IS THERE STILL MORE THAT YOU NEED TO DO? "We are in the mix, but there's guys that are stronger than us. I'm not going to say that we have it all sorted out. There are some areas of our team that I can rate as a B-plus instead of an A. Once we correct some of these, whether it's just pit calls during the race or trying to make the car faster or whether it's a little bit in the motor department, you look at all areas and try to make it better."
KURT, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST LAP BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU? "Yeah, and it's part of the deal where I had a fifth to tenth place car and I'm running second. It's not that I didn't deserve to be running there, but my lap time wasn't as competitive as it needed to be. So when you're in that position, you have to know that something is going to come and you've got to be ready for it. I think it's fun. It shouldn't be anything exciting about you that's different."
SAM HORNISH JR (No. 77 AAA/Go Penske Dodge Charger) Finished 23rd
"Our AAA/ Go Penske Dodge was pretty much loose all day. We struggled with forward drive, and although we kept working on it, we didn't get the car right where we needed it to be. With the long, green-flag runs it makes it hard to really dial the car in, especially when you pit under green. The AAA/ Go Penske guys worked hard all day and I look forward to coming back to New Hampshire later this year."
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 12 AAA Insurance/Go Penske Dodge Charger) Finished 26th
"We weren't super strong today with our AAA/Penske Dodge. That long run really made it tough to gain any track position. I'm proud of the way that we held on during that long run and kept digging and digging. We weren't that far off today, we just couldn't seem to hit on what we needed to make the car really good. We put in a good effort and fought all day and got the most out of it that we could. I'm proud of my guys. I wish that I could have raced up inside the top 20, we just fell short."
-source: dodge motorsports
Scott Sebastian Dodge Motorsports NASCAR PR Darnell Communications 14110 Hickory Marsh Lane Fort Myers, Florida 33912 312-519-5040 [ Part 2, Application/MSWORD 318KB. ] [ Unable to print this part. ]