Talladega II: Kurt Busch - Friday media visit

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) HOW WERE YOUR PRACTICE SESSIONS TODAY? "Things went really smooth for the Miller Lite Dodge. We felt like we had a few things to science out on the front end of our car and we did that. We were able...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

HOW WERE YOUR PRACTICE SESSIONS TODAY? "Things went really smooth for the Miller Lite Dodge. We felt like we had a few things to science out on the front end of our car and we did that. We were able to get some bump-drafting in as well. We ran our car out of fuel to check the fuel cell capacity and did all the homework we could to be prepared for this weekend's race. I feel like we have just as good a car as we've had in the past. The competition has definitely stepped up as far as horsepower that is being brought to these races as well as the aero dynamic package. For us, we're still looking for that first restrictor-plate win. I've been close a few times...here and Daytona...I just want to break through and get that first restrictor-plate win. It would mean a lot to me."

BUMP-DRAFTING LOOKS A LITTLE WEIRD; IT JUST DOESN'T LOOK RIGHT...DOESN'T IT? "What else do you want us to do? What would be the side-effect to it? We can't run around here without restrictor-plates because we would have the cars running 230 mph and they would have a better change at hurting the drivers and the race fans. That's the reason for restrictor-plate racing. The COT is a more comfortable car to draft with, therefore bump-drafting is more aggressive with these cars and that's just what we have to deal with. It's a necessary evil."

CAN YOU FEEL ANY DIFFERENCE IN A 1/64TH RESTRICTOR-PLATE BEING SMALLER THAN THE ONE USED HERE IN APRIL? "I feel a little bit slower on the race track when you lose the draft and you're bumped out of line and you have to move back to the rear and slide back in. It seems harder to keep up and it may spread the cars apart a bit more come Sunday. I just think in drafting practice some guys are pulling in, some guys are on the track and it gets us spread out. But honestly, it feels a little slower. Fifteen horsepower is quite a bit when they take away half of your expected horsepower already."

ARE YOU GOING TO SNEAK OUT FOR HALOWEEN TOMORROW NIGHT? "I'm definitely going to try and slide out and see the crew guys. A group of my crew guys are staying here in the infield and living it up. It might even be one of the last hoorah's with Pat (Tryson) so to speak. Pat's actually staying in the motor home with the guys and so we'll blend in and see them. I can't give away my costume; I don't want to be seen. I'll probably just be bouncing around and enjoy the atmosphere of Talladega."

WHERE DOES YOUR TEAM STAND WITH GETTING A NEW CREW CHIEF FOR NEXT YEAR? IS THERE ANY INTEREST IN STEVE ADDINGTON? "I feel like what we've done internally at Penske Racing has been smart; we've been patient. We still find ourselves with an outside shot at the championship and that's what we're going to base our decision off of when we do make a change or move somebody in. A guy like Steve Addington, to hear the news, you have to talk to a guy like J.D. Gibbs before you move on and find out what the story is and if he's available. Those are the types of guys we'd love to talk to and see if we can match up."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH WORKING WITH JASPER ENGINES? "That's our engine shop and that's where we build the horsepower that we need for the open motors and the restrictor-plate motors. We've phased in our R6 for this race. The 12 and 77 cars for Penske Racing will be racing the new engine (R6). I'll still have the R5 package because of the durability questions. The power still shows the same. For us being in the Chase, you can't afford to have an engine failure. We needed to go with the given. With those guys running the new R6 engine, it helps us get ready for Daytona in 2010."

THE NEW NATIONWIDE SERIES DODGE CHALLENGER LOOKS PRETTY SPORTY. WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY IT OUT AND SEEN HOW IT RUNS? "Yeah. I haven't seen it up close. I did see it at a distance in the race shop and here today. It's something that resembles a car that you can buy off the showroom floor. I think that's the key. The car has a nostalgic look, but at the same time has a sport look. I think that's what we all hoped the COT would be; something that could resemble the past and also expose us to the future and what it could hold. It looks cool. The horsepower over there is cut considerably from where it used to be with the tapered spacer. They're running on some race tracks a different tire than what the Cup cars are and I still think that the Cup car pays the bills, it gets you the points and that's the ultimate factor when you're racing on race weekend."

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOURSELF AS A RESTRICTOR-PLATE DRIVER? "If I had to grade myself I would give myself a 'B'. I've been close enough to finish second a bunch of times in Daytona and third a bunch of times here in Talladega. I can't give myself an 'A' because I don't have that victory that's out there."

HOW DO YOU GUYS STAY UNDER CONTROL WITH ALL THAT BUMP-DRAFTING GOING ON THE TRACK? "At Martinsville it's definitely tougher because there's more of your cars handling and the package that you have for your setup. At Talladega, everybody is about the same. It's more about a mental game of what lane your drafting with, who's in your lane, who's aggressive on a certain day and who in the past has been a good guy you can rely on that's not necessarily a teammate. All those things are going through mind here at Talladega and a little bit at Daytona whereas they don't at other tracks. If you feel like it's getting hostile up front or in the middle, you try and separate yourself from it. You have to be there at the end. You can't have a damaged car and expect to win at the end of these races. You have to look around you and protect your car like you would at a short-track all day long and be there at the end."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske