Michigan II: Roger Penske post race interview

Roger Penske (team owner of Penske Racing) "Obviously to come to Michigan and win in our backyard is awful important. It's great to bring my pal Bob Nardelli (CEO of Chrysler) another Dodge win. That's pretty special for us. Kurt had to race ...

Roger Penske (team owner of Penske Racing)

"Obviously to come to Michigan and win in our backyard is awful important. It's great to bring my pal Bob Nardelli (CEO of Chrysler) another Dodge win. That's pretty special for us. Kurt had to race all day, came from 15th and worked his way almost up to first before his first pit stop. Our stops were as good as we've had this season. They were all lower than 14 seconds. I think we had a 12.6 and then Tryson's (crew chief, Pat Tryson) call just added to the continuity of today's victory. The yellows at the end made it a little bit dicey. But I think the calls were spot on. We just had a perfect day."

ON PAT TRYSON

"I think the key thing is we've had some good runs this year. I think Pat has brought a level of experience. I think it's just come together. Kurt has a lot of confidence in Pat. Pat is experienced and to me we were very fortunate to have him join our team. I take my hat off to him. He reminds me a lot of Buddy Parrott when Buddy joined our team back when Rusty was on roll. I think this is common glue throughout the team. All I can say is that these teams that have won all these races in the past have good continuity. You build a family and we're starting to get that family with the right continuity and experience.

"Pocono was one we couldn't believe. Last week we had a great car. We made the decision to come in and play it straight because Earnhardt had fallen out. We wanted to be sure we didn't have to come in and put under green and we made that move and got back to 11th. Today was a resounding success based on execution."

ON KURT BUSCH

"Let me say this. Kurt Busch was a great driver from the very beginning. I was very disappointed in the situation that took place at Phoenix because Kurt did not have a DUI but it was thrown up that way. Then when he was let out of the team it aggravated a situation that we didn't need. We've worked with Kurt. I think he sees the benefit. We brought him in as part of the family. Right out of the box he won a race for us his first year. I think he's matured as all young men do. I'd rather have a guy that I'm pulling on his belt and having to kick him in the butt. I can tell you that. It's all about race drivers here. We will work on the personality. We will work on the things you might need to do. I think Kurt appreciates what we're putting behind him. As we do Ryan (Newman), as we do our other drivers on our team. And he's delivering. I can tell you it's making a huge difference. We're always right on that half inch of being successful or behind. He certainly has demonstrated in the last races here how good he really is. I think he is right at the top of his game. His age, his experience and now with us giving him the tools that he needs he is going to be fine. I think it was the best move I ever made. We hung with him when he was down, face down quite honestly. Remember, we had a beer sponsor too. So it wasn't the coolest time for me to walk into Phoenix with that going on. But the Miller Brewing Company stood behind him. The team has stood behind him and certainly you can see what has turned out to be a terrific team and some great success to date.

ON GETTING INTO THE CHASE

"We have to get in the Chase. We have three races to go now; I don't know what the points look like today. I think he picked up some key points and if he is in, he is going to be a car they have to beat."

ON THE NO. 12 CAR

"I think the No. 12 car has run real well today. They had something on the side window which got him a lap down. To me, both cars have run real well. He almost won the first Pocono race. He is up in the points. Everyday it's hard to judge which one is better from the standpoint of one day's result. They have openness from a standpoint of what each car is running. I think the opportunity now is for us to continue and let the 12 move on. Hopefully get in the Chase with the No. 2 car. We are cautiously optimistic when we come to the next three races. The good news is these last two have just been absolutely key for us. To get Dodge in that Chase will be a real important thing for us. We have been a partner of Dodge for a number of years. One of our best friends and business associates Bob Nardelli is now the CEO. For him it's a great day. Hopefully he can continue that success inside the company."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING THE BEST TEAM HERE TODAY UNDER THE UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES?

"Well I feel real good about being the best team here today. I have a long history with this race track. I bought this track when it only had 16,000 seats and there are probably 160 here on Sunday. Michigan and Canadian race fans, people from Ohio and Indiana and Pennsylvania that come here are just amazing. When I look down and see the number of people that were here it blew my mind. I think it shows you the strength of NASCAR and the strength of the fan base here in the Midwest. To me, it's the strength of the Michigan Speedway and the great show we have here every year."

HOW IMPORTANT WOULD IT BE FOR YOU TO HAVE A TEAM THAT WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIP?

"I just want to get in the same club as Roush, Rick Hendrick and these guys. If I could get into that club, that would be tremendous for us. I think we have to finish these next three races there's no doubt we're in the Chase, but I think if we're in the Chase, we'll be one of the teams to beat."

TELL US ABOUT THE CHOICE TO START THE RACE YELLOW AND THE WAIT FOR THE FOG TO DISAPPEAR?

"I was up with the spotters during the race, and from up there you couldn't even see with binoculars into turn three and four. I think the decision to wait for a few minutes when the weather was clear west of us, NASCAR did the right thing. Mike Helton, to show you how he operates, came to the spotter's stand himself and took a look to make sure he was making the right decision."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Mike Helton , Roger Penske
Teams Team Penske