Talladega: Kurt Busch - Friday media visit

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING AT TALLADEGA THIS WEEKEND? "It's exciting to come back to Talladega this weekend. The atmosphere here is definitely different than a lot of the other race tracks and the...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING AT TALLADEGA THIS WEEKEND? "It's exciting to come back to Talladega this weekend. The atmosphere here is definitely different than a lot of the other race tracks and the fact that restrictor-plate racing is very difficult to get anything out of the car. It's like, 'This is what you have and this is the hand that you were dealt when you hit the race track for the first laps.' That's the hand that you'll have for the rest of the weekend. We're hoping for a full-house-type of hand that will be competitive with the competition. Some guys will start out with a royal flush and some guys will have one pair. We hope that we're in the middle and that gives us a good shot at running up front. When you get to run up front at Talladega, it's safer than most spots, but still there is no real safe spot. This place, I haven't had the chance to win here just yet, so it gets you that much more pumped up if you haven't won at a track before. I've been close on restrictor-plate races, but just haven't been quite able to put her in Victory Lane just yet. I'm looking for an overall good finish from the weekend for the Miller Lite Dodge. This is Miller Lite's track. Dodge has a strong affiliation here, so this is a big weekend for our sponsors."

HOW HAS ALL THE RUMORS ABOUT CHRYSLER AFFECTED YOUR TEAM? DO YOU HAVE TO SPEAK ITALIAN STARTING MAY 1 (IN REFERENCE TO FIAT MERGER SPECULATION)? "I know that there is a deadline coming up. The Fiat connection, when I first heard about it, it was exciting for me because they're somewhat affiliated with Ferrari and maybe there would be a chance to get a Ferrari out of this deal (laughs). Backing up to reality, I think that none of us really have control over what happens up in Detroit. We hope the best things for Chrysler and everybody involved. I know that Bob Nardelli (CEO of Chrysler) and Roger Penske are very good friends. I know that they'll work through it the best way that they can to make everybody happy. As a race car driver, working for a guy named Roger Penske, I think that I've got the best-case scenario and he'll shelter us from any of the tough happenings that could happen or if things are business as usual, he'll keep it that way."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SPIKE THAT YOU SOMETIMES GET WHEN DRIVERS/TEAMS SWITCH CREW CHIEFS? "I think that there's sometimes an immediate connection that can happen between a driver and a crew chief and they'll post results that exceed the group's expectations. An example of that could be my little brother (Kyle) when he went over to Gibbs (Racing) and how they just caught on fire when they teamed up -- him and Steve Addington (current crew chief for Kyle Busch). Then there are times when you team up and the chemistry is there, but the spark and the flare doesn't produce good results and you question which direction we need to go and how can we adjust this to make it better. Sometimes it's just a crew-chief who wants to make an edge for him and to land that position full-time. He'll gamble on a race-day call and it will turn out in his favor. Then there's times that the race-day calls will go against you. Then there's the inexperienced crew chief that will struggle with those race day calls, but he'll be very good at managing the people back at the race shop and finding the right setup to put in the car. You hope that you work on the weak areas so that you can make the whole package better. Crew chiefs and drivers, the combinations can go up and down. They can go with older cars, new cars, sometimes they hit it off at specific style race tracks like a mile-and-a-half versus a short track they seem to be stronger on. To be competitive in this sport, you have to be good at all the race tracks. You have to be good back at the race shop Monday thru Thursday and you've got to be dialed in when you come to the race track Friday and Saturday and then make those good pit calls on Sunday. A crew chief has a great deal of responsibility."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RICHMOND NEXT WEEK? "When people tell me, 'What race should I go to for my first race,' I always tell them Pocono because everything else is better from then on up (smiles). Then I tell them Bristol. The night race is obviously a fantastic race to go to, and then I have people who are still aching for more. They go to Daytona, they see it and they come to Charlotte. I tell them a race that is fairly quiet, but has plenty of excitement are the two Richmond races. Two races under the lights, they both have great meaning. This one (race) in the spring, it really no holding back. Then the one that leads up to the Chase in the fall, you've really got to be on your game if you're going to be in the Chase or out of the Chase. Both those races, pure excitement. Richmond, they call it 'the action track'. We can race low, we can race in the middle or the high groove and you're always around somebody and there's always some good action going on at Richmond. I think it's a great track and it's neat that both races are under the lights. But I still like Pocono, I've won there twice. Pocono's not that bad of a track (smiles)."

WHAT IS THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF DARLINGTON? "It's really a crown jewel in our sport. It reminds me that if you go to a ballpark, whether it's Wrigley Field or Fenway (Park), it has that old nostalgic feel that, 'This is a cool place.' If you're able to wrestle your car there and get into Victory Lane, it's something very special. It's a very difficult track. It's a place that if you try and pressure too hard, it will jump up and bite you. As a racer, you want to go there because it really demands a lot of a driver. That's what makes it fun. The nostalgic part of it and the history that that race has produced with the 'No Bull' races that used to be there, with Ricky Craven and my finish there being the closest ever and years beyond that with (Cale) Yarborough and (Richard) Petty, all the top names that have won there. Jeff Gordon - he's probably has six wins there, I don't know the number, but the greats are able to come out on top at Darlington, and it's just a place where greatness meets greatness. It's a tough, tough place."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ricky Craven , Roger Penske , Kyle Busch