Martinsville II: Pole winner interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Wins circuit-leading sixth pole of the season, breaks tie with Kasey Kahne. "It was a great lap, unexpected for me, but this team has always qualified well at this track, especially with Rusty...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) -- Wins circuit-leading sixth pole of the season, breaks tie with Kasey Kahne.

"It was a great lap, unexpected for me, but this team has always qualified well at this track, especially with Rusty behind the wheel. Roy McCauley isn't here with us this week. This is his favorite track and this one is for him. I was joking with Don Miller earlier. I said 'how old are you? When were you born?' He said in the 30s, and I said, 'that will be a good number to try to run.' I'm real proud of this team. Rusty always did well with the Miller Lite Dodge at Martinsville.

"Sometimes when you go slow you think you left some on the table. I thought there was some left, but maybe it was just right. Martinsville is the kind of track that you either love or hate. I've learned to do both. It's a tough, challenging short track. When it's good to you, you really enjoy it. When it's tough, you don't want to come back. Right now we're having a good run with it."

"It's been a pretty good Friday for us. It's been a pleasant surprise on most Fridays. It's been a good effort from Penske Racing on qualifying and their approach to qualifying. It's been great. I never knew I could get a pole at Martinsville. I'm surprised by it, yet our success this year on Fridays has been very pleasing. We hope to carry this over to Sunday. It was a good lap from start to finish. I felt like the first lap was quicker, but I slowed down on the second lap so I could get on the gas sooner, and that always pays dividends. I'm real happy with the way the car drove off the corner. Miller Lite is back on the pole again, and that's good."

CAN YOU BE MORE AGGRESSIVE NOT BEING IN THE CHASE? "Denny (Hamlin) is on the outside looking in and Burton is leading the pack right now. There's two ways to look at it. One is the aggressor, and he's got to be because he's the challenger. He's not up there leading the points. When you're leading the points you still want to gain because it's way too early to pinpoint where you can gain points and where you can lose points. Denny doesn't have the knowledge Jeff Burton has, and he shouldn't be trying to decide how Jeff Burton is going to approach this race. I think Jeff Burton has got a pretty solid mindset of what he needs to do here being the veteran that he is. For me, we're not holding back. We're full tilt boogey. We're on the pole. It feels good. We've got a hot rod with us as Rusty would say and we're not looking back. I hope we're able to put down some great laps early on in the race. We're going to have the best pit box selection, so I hope the Miller Lite Dodge has a great day on Sunday."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SEE THE 2 CAR ON THE POLE AT MARTINSVILLE? "It definitely is a great site. I can't really drive as well as Rusty on the short tracks, but if I can hold half the candle then we're doing OK. Rusty is a true competitor and with him winning his last race here at Martinsville everybody gets excited with the blue deuce here and so I think we've got some blue deuce juice under the hood and we're going for it."

COMMENT ON THE 12 CAR "There's things that work in time and there's things that don't work when you bring it back a few years later. We all look at Ryan Newman's success in the past and say the guy can drive cars and drive them very well. For me this has been an interesting year winning just once so far. We've still got more to go, but when I started with this group back in February at the first race some of the setups I looked at I might have looked at a few years back when I was with a different race team. We've come a long way in just one year. These past eight months we've been very busy. We started the season driving an '05 car. We got the Dodge Charger running strong and bridging some more gaps. We're probably going to add a few more people in the off season to help with the engineering support and just pick up the pace. We know we haven't run up to par this year. The 12 knows it and we're all trying to make adjustments where we can go faster each week"

COMMENT ON WINNING FROM THE BACK HERE A FEW YEARS AGO "The way this race evolves and you run your pace from the beginning, the middle and the end. It's real easy to go down a lap early if you don't have your chassis right. If you qualify at the back, most likely you don't have your chassis right yet. Changes are needed, pit road is a tough place to gain spots. The race I won here we continued to gain spots each and every green flag run. It's a positive feeling when your car can run good on a long run. That usually pays dividends going into victory lane. Guys in the back, if they can get their cars to run good on a long run, they'll work their way toward the front. Once you get in the top five, those guys have been racing hard all day and now you've got to race hard with those guys. It's a little different when you're racing in the top five and top 10. There's plenty of guys out there capable of winning. Burton is running his race the way he needs to. So are the other guys in the top 10. Those guys outside the top 10 are hammer down come Sunday."

DOES IT MAKE IT EASIER STARTING ON THE POLE? "I don't know. This is the first time I've ever been up here. I would say it does make it easier. There's been a lot of talk about it today. I can say the few times I've qualified OK, it is a different strategy, a different feeling, running up front most of the day, not playing catch up."

WHAT WAS YOUR CHALLENGE TWO YEARS AGO WHEN YOU CAME INTO THIS RACE LEADING THE STANDINGS? "We were really good at the time on flat, short tracks like Loudon, Phoenix and Martinsville. We had a great racecar. We led the most laps that day, and that just takes out the mind games. We just went for it. We led the most laps and finished in the top five and got out of here with a great finish. I wish that on Burton and all the top 10 guys. It's just a matter of if your car is running good enough right now to do that. I think Burton's got a good car. He ran well at New Hampshire and the RCR cars seem to be doing well on the flat tracks this year."

WHAT'S IT LIKE FOR YOU NOT BEING IN THE CHASE? "Not making it this year gave us an opportunity to start working on next year, to get 10 races ahead of the game. That's what I saw all the teams that missed it last year being able to do during The Chase. We saw no non-Chase racers win last year. I think Joe Nemechek won at Kansas in 2004, but a lot of teams not in the top 10 started working toward next year. That's what we've done. It's a different approach. I like it. It's a bit more carefree, but we're trying to get ahead of the game for next year. We've come a long way in a year and it helps to have these 10 races to start working toward next year."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Joe Nemechek , Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne
Teams Team Penske