Martinsville II: Kurt Busch - Dodge Friday interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger) COMMENTS ON THIS WEEKEND'S RACE "I hope that the rain pushes through and we're able to get out on the track. We sat on the pole here last October. We hope that we have a good enough car to do that ...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)

COMMENTS ON THIS WEEKEND'S RACE "I hope that the rain pushes through and we're able to get out on the track. We sat on the pole here last October. We hope that we have a good enough car to do that again today. We have had really good Chase races up until the last pit stop. Then we don't have good finishes. All in all the Miller Lite team is pumped up each week with our progress. If you take two or three steps back and look at the program as a whole we feel like we've come a long way. We feel like we're in contention to win every other week or so. Eventually we will have that opportunity each week if we can get the car a little better. We are excited about our shortrack opportunity this weekend at Martinsville. Now we're on to the rest of the 1.5-mile races that are left in the Chase. We want to try and gain some points and get back towards the top."

THOUGHTS ON THE PRESSURES FOR YOUNGER BROTHER KYLE BUSCH "He is doing great. The kid is 22 years old and has quite a bit of pressure on his shoulders with the team that he is looking forward to as well as the team he is working with right now. It challenges you in many ways to stay focused with the group of guys that you have right now. His crew chief Alan Gustafson has kept the guys together. He deserves a lot of credit for pulling through and keeping everything as upbeat as they can and in contention for wins. That is Hendrick Motorsports for you though. Those guys are always on top of their game no matter if it's the No. 24 or No. 48. Hendrick Motorsports is a great first class organization, even if they have a driver leaving they're still going to take care of them and wish them well on their way. Sometimes it doesn't go that way but Kyle has done a good job blending in with those transitions."

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE GOODYEAR TIRE TEST AT LMS AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COT ON A 1.5 MILE TRACK? "It was a very good test. It was something that I didn't expect. I expected some struggles with the speed that you carry at Lowe's Motor Speedway and how the COT's lack of downforce would balance out. What I realized is that the car has a bigger mood swing then what our normal car does. When the track conditions were cool, overcast and fast the car seemed extra fast. Then when the track got hot and slick the car slid around more. So it had a larger mood swing. That is interesting because it will put more of a challenge on the teams to get their cars dialed in for the different changing conditions.

"I was impressed with the speed of the car. We didn't make many long runs because Goodyear wanted to keep it in moderation. We have to challenge that car on the long runs and see how it does.

YOU WERE IN THE SAME POSITION AS GORDON A FEW YEARS AGO, DID YOU START TO THINK WHAT COULD GO WRONG? "He (Gordon) has been in this situation before. He has a Championship lead with so many races to go. For me it was a cool experience. I'm here, we're doing it and what do we need to do to stay on this gravy train? Luckily enough we were able to do that. In his situation he can go back to past experiences and understand what he did for the final five races with the points lead. Right now he has his team clicking on all eight cylinders the luck factor is there. He is turning cars that aren't race winning cars into victory lane cars. When you're finishing better than where you're running it is hard to beat that Championship type run.

"I think we have had a great five race Chase, except we aren't finishing where we're running. Our average running position was 10th. Then our average finishing position was 22nd. That doesn't get it done. If you are running 22nd and you finish first that is a much better swing in the positive direction. Gordon is doing that right now and he'll be tough to beat."

HAS THE COT CHANGED HOW YOU GET AROUND MARTINSVILLE? "I can only go off of my experience. I don't know what the protocol has been with these types of cars. You try to stay as clean as you can for most of the race. These cars are easier to bump into someone but it is harder to move them out of the way. The cleanest car usually goes to victory lane. In the first race here at Martinsville we were trying the Avenger out. How is it going to react? How is it going to bump? With the year that has past now there might be more aggressive racing this time around. That might help with what the race fans want to see. It is still about protecting your race car and not sustaining damage."

WHAT DOES THE TEAM HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO KEEP UP WITH THE CHANGING TRACK CONDITIONS AT ATLANTA? "That is a tough thing to do. At Atlanta the track is very abrasive and it wears the tires out. 10 laps in if there is a yellow you're going to come in and get four tires. In the beginning of the race the car has much more grip to it because the track isn't filled in with rubber. You search all day long for which groove the cars likes the best. It may be the low groove, the middle groove or the high groove. You find a spot where you want to run. Toward the end of the race the fastest car gets around the bottom of the racetrack and he is able to get in the gas sooner than anybody and carry that speed down those long straightaways. You have to search for where you want to be the most comfortable but when the money is on the line you have to race that low lane and past those guys."

DO YOU SEE NOT HAVING A TEAMMATE IN THE CHASE TO BE AN ADVANTAGE? "Absolutely. I think when the Chase started it was an opportunity for them to look forward to 2008 and get things going in a positive direction for his team, as well as try out unique setups. We have to run with what we think will get us the best result with the Miller Lite Dodge. Ryan is out there with the alltel Dodge trying different things and if he can hit on it, we will move right into that setup. That would help us move into a better position. He is doing things big picture. I think it helps out because he is not sitting in the pressure cooker like we are."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports