KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd) TAKE US THROUGH YOUR DAY. "With no practice I thought we did a great job guessing at what we thought we needed to win this race. We had four different springs underneath it from what we had...
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Rubbermaid Taurus (Finished 2nd)
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR DAY. "With no practice I thought we did a great job guessing at what we thought we needed to win this race. We had four different springs underneath it from what we had in the fall, but we had the same outcome. We just came up a bit shy leading the race with 20 laps to go. It just seemed the more we ran throughout the race - our car was excellent through the middle part of the race when we were leading. It took a while for the track to come to us and then we didn't make the adjustments the proper way to keep track of the track later on . We just slipped up a little bit at the end. Dale Jarrett had a better car and he just got by us like anybody else would. Traffic helped me get back by him and we staged a great race there at the end. If the fans didn't dig that, then they need help."
WAS THE WIND A FACTOR? "No, not really. The wind changed directions from one and two down to three and four and then it blew from the front straightaway to the back straightaway. We had the best seat today - all 43 of us drivers were pretty warm."
DID KURT AND JIMMY SPENCER GET TOGETHER DOWN THE STRETCH? "No. It's pathetic the amount of times you guys bring it up. He was a lapped car just like anybody else was out there. I was maneuvering in and out, going low, going high. You have to stage things to where you look ahead and I don't think I lost anymore time trying to pass him than I did anybody else."
HOW MUCH WAS LAP TRAFFIC A FACTOR AT THE END? "This race was similar to the fall race. I knew it was coming. We had an 80-lap run to finish the race. We had an 85-lap run to finish the fall race. That's when we were leading and faded to third. We faded to second today, not due to lap traffic, it's just too many laps on a set of tires. We had to stay out. We were in that position to do so and we need to figure out something to where we can run a little bit better for 15 more laps into a run, but we're pretty good from the get-go all the way up until about lap 65. So we've got something to learn. We've got to do something better so we can get into Victory Lane at Rockingham."
YOU WIGGLED A LOT AT THE END. WAS THAT TIRES? "Yeah, like I said, we're real good for about 70 laps and that's when you'd have to pit in a normal sequence. So we had a little bit of understeer going into the corner and the car was pushing. That elevated the loose off and that was just killing our momentum that you'd keep around this race track. Once we lost forward bite, there's nothing we could really do except make the Rubbermaid Ford as wide as it could be and Dale Jarrett got his Ford underneath us."
DID YOU THINK BOBBY LABONTE WAS GOING TO BE THE ONE TO CONTEND WITH? "Yeah, he got a lap down and then they threw the yellow as I was crossing the start-finish line, which, if we were a lap down, we would have stayed a lap down. They gave him his lap back and then he didn't pit and he passed everybody out on the track while everybody came in to pit because he only had eight-lap-old tires. So once I got back by him, I knew he had eight-lap-old tires and I just had to pace myself. He was on my rear bumper. I knew he was there, it was just a matter of time before his tires wore out quicker than mine. I didn't want to pull away too quick and burn my stuff up, but I did see DJ back there and I just tried to pace myself to stay in front of him."
DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE A CONTENDER FOR THE WINSTON CUP? "It feels good to get off to a great start. We had a lot of things go our way at the end of last year to get into Victory Lane a few times. They were races that we were prepared for and that's what we kept working towards in the off season was to get ahead. I think we've got our car built for Texas right now and that puts us a good two months ahead of where we need to be. As long as we can understand that and keep all the crew guys motivated and all the guys that jump over the wall - they're knocking out 13-second stops that kept us up front today. It takes a whole team package and we were fortunate enough today to have a balanced setup underneath the car to run towards the front. So we go to my hometown next week, Las Vegas, we go to Atlanta and we'll get a very gauge as far as the aero is concerned between the four manufacturers. Then after that, I hope we're still up there in the points and we can continue moving forward. We'll assess our season after Sears Point. We're just two races in. I'd like to say that we're a championship contender with the way we ended last year and we'll just try to keep our momentum rolling forward."
DO YOU SHARE A LOT OF INFORMATION BETWEEN ROUSH TEAMS FOR THIS TRACK? "Mark won his first Winston Cup race back here in '89 and since then Roush has been very competitive here. We ran real well in the fall. Kenseth won the spring race here last year. Yes, we do share some notes and that's what you have to do with five cars now. The way that our process works is we share vital information. We share some insider information and, yet, we compete on the seventh day. So we work together as teammates for six and we compete on the seventh."
HOW DOES IT FEEL HAVING THE POINTS LEAD GOING TO YOUR HOME TRACK? "We're just fortunate enough to finish second in both of these races. This one is much more difficult to swallow than the original race. We had a great run today. I'm real upset that we didn't win. I would have loved to have gotten off to Victory Lane so early in the year, but finishing second isn't too bad. That gathered up a lot of points for us and, low and behold, we're the points leader so we'll just roll into Vegas. You need a whole different type of car there and a whole different type of frame of mind. It feels good. The confidence is there and we'll just continue rolling."
HOW MUCH DID YOUR TEAMMATES HELP AT THE END ON THE TRACK? "You don't have time to stage anything. Everybody is racing their car to the best of their ability and you have to find the right hole to go in to move forward and to keep your momentum and to run the fastest lap time you can.
"It looked like Jeff Burton helped me get the lead back, it just happened to go that way where I filled the hole on the outside lane and pinched the 88 down and got back by him. There was a lot of give-and-take between the lapped cars. There was a lot of give-and-take between Dale Jarrett and I, so it was an exciting race. I was glad to be a part of it, we just came out on the wrong end."