KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger) Seeded fifth in the Chase for the Nextel Cup "It's great to be back and to hear that we finished 10th overall after the first 26 races. That's a little feather in the cap. It's a nice little note to...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)
Seeded fifth in the Chase for the Nextel Cup
"It's great to be back and to hear that we finished 10th overall after the first 26 races. That's a little feather in the cap. It's a nice little note to know that we did a good job over the first 26 races, especially as of late with Pat Tryson coming aboard. Since the beginning of July it's felt like a very solid race team. We're poised to be at threat in this deal. We have fast race cars. We have consistency and we have patience. And the best thing is we have that experience. Pat has been in the Chase as a crew chief every year that it has existed. I took a year off last year to get the team built up. But here we are and we're ready to go. It's great that we've positioned ourselves and got a couple wins to be fifth overall. That's how you have to work the system. Bonus points move you up when the Chase starts so you better have some wins. For us at Penske racing it's great to put one car in. It's great to have one Dodge in the Chase but we want to have more Penske cars in there and more Dodges next year. So I know that those guys will go to work. We're looking forward to it."
WHEN YOU WERE HIT FROM BEHIND DURING THE RACE WAS THAT A MOMENT OF PANIC? "Definitely. I saw my teammate get loose or spun by the No. 17. Smoke everywhere. The best thing I could of done was just stop and hunker down and wait for the impact. So I held the wheel pretty tight and when you do that you get hit from behind. When you stop like that. Our heart was beating at thousand miles per hour after that cause I figured the rear bumper cover was flapping in the wind or there might be material dragging on the tires. Luckily there was a red flag at that point. We checked the car out and everything was OK. Our car was a little loose after that. After the crush panels got tore out of the back and the downforce just didn't see to be there. To come home ninth, it's just a testimate to what this team is doing. While we stopped on that accident we were running sixth behind Kenseth and Newman. Since we stopped for the wreck they decided that we were part of the wreck, I guess. So we lost five spots when we went back green because they pushed other guys in front of us. So we just didn't gain the track position back but overall it was a good day"
WHAT ARE THE UPCOMING RACE THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO? "You have to be optimistic about each and every one of them. The way the Chase starts out you have a flat track with New Hampshire. I'm excited about it. Then you have Dover another COT race. That will be a tough one because these cars have an interesting quark in them when you race at Dover. I'm looking at a couple trouble makers like Talladega that will be a tough one, especially with the COT there. Then Charlotte that has been a struggle for me so I'll talk to Humpy Wheeler and see if I can't get some magic from him and be OK at Charlotte."
DO YOU THINK THE IMPACT WOULD HAVE BEEN WORSE WITH THE COT AVENGER OR THE CHARGER?"I believe the COT helped in that impact. With the old cars we probably would of got the rear tires lifted off the ground. We would of spun around and when you do that now you're free game for anybody to run into you. You could say we got lucky under that or you could just say that we did all the right things when the smoke was out. We just stopped and tried to stay out of the way and luckily we were hit behind square enough that we weren't part of the wreck."
HOW TOUGH CAN IT BE TO MAKE UP POINTS OVER THE FINAL 10 RACES? "The guys are running very well with Johnson, Gordon, Stewart is going to be tough. In 2004 I came in 35 points off the lead and I was within 10 after the first race. The points aren't tough to make up its just tough to maintain. The stretch that we've been on since the first of July is the philosophy we're going to take during the Chase. That is to be consistent and if we have the opportunity to win and lead most laps we better make sure that we do that."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH NEW HAMPSHIRE "You can't just ride around and finish seventh at these COT races and expect to be up at the top of the points. I think we fit right in there about third, as far as team ability to get these cars handling. You have to go for it. You have to be fast and usually fast cars are easier to drive and the weekend just goes smoother. It's those tough days when you have a 12th place car, sliding around and you have three guys on top of you and now you're racing side by side with guys you don't normally do that with. They feel nervous because they don't want to hurt a Chase contender. So those are the situations you want to stay away from."
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Labonte's 500th Career Start Dodge Avenger)
"Yea, we just couldn't go there on the last restart. It was the worst restart we just couldn't go because it got too tight. Doug (Randolph) did a good job making some changes that were better for us. They were in the right direction but that last run, with a couple caution flags, didn't help us."
WHICH WAS HARDER TONIGHT WITH THE COT OR CALIFORNIA IN THE HEAT LAST WEEK? "Yea, this Car of Tomorrow, they all run the same speed. It's IROC cars, so oh well."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger)
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "Well, I don't know. I think the two cars spun and then everybody started hitting me. I just got run from behind and pushed. I don't know into what car I got pushed. It was just smoke everywhere. I just got pushed, hit the guy in front and the next thing I hear is my spotter saying 'get out, get out it's on fire'!
ON HIS RUN UP TO THAT POINT "The first time we actually fell back and we made more changes and we picked it up again. That is the thing that's huge. A lot of times we qualify good and today we made good changes and progress. To have a result like this is terrible."
DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger)
"It's just real disappointing. The fire burned all the electrical wiring and lines. There just isn't enough time to re-plum the car and get back out on the racetrack. The fire just burned up the front of the car.
HOW WAS THE NIGHT UP TO THAT POINT? "The car was working well. We made several adjustments on pit road that had us up to ninth. We were going to have a good finish and then you just get caught up in someone else's mess."
SCOTT RIGGS (No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger)
ON THE CONTACT WITH THE WALL "We were just buying our time there. We had a right front tire go down. We hadn't had tire trouble all weekend. I don't know if I ran over something or what. I was just trying to find grip. It happened real sudden off of turn four we got in the wall with the Valvoline Dodge Avenger. I just hate it. We were trying to fight our way into the top 35 and we don't need nights like tonight. We were trying to take care of our stuff and be there at the end to get a finish.
"The tire went down all-of-a-sudden, it just dropped down and blew out and hit the wall. The right front went flat and I couldn't turn it. I turned it back to the right and it wouldn't turn. It just went straight into the wall."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 49 LifeLock Dodge Avenger)
"I think we broke oil line or something. We must have just spun a bearing. We went out there and everything was fine, had good oil pressure and everything. Then it broke. We didn't hit anything else and we can get it fixed. That was going to be our Loudon car but we've got another car to use."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"The pit crew was awesome with some great stops. The car wasn't that good early in the race, but Kenny (Francis) and the crew kept working on it, getting it better on each stop. It felt good to come back. I drove it as hard as I could. That's another top 10, three straight now. That's good. Maybe this will create some momentum for the last 10 races."
KENNY FRANCIS (team director, No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"The crew did a great job. We were pretty far off at the beginning of the race, but made a lot of changes and got it pretty good at the end. We just needed a little bit more. That's three top 10s in a row, so everybody is happy about that. We've got to keep building momentum."
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
"The car was loose early in the race and we never did get a handle on it. The car was extremely loose off the corners. The crew did a good job. We were making a lot of changes during our stops, but they still held their own or picked up a spot or two. We expected to perform better than that tonight."
-credit: dodge motorsports