KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) HOW MUCH DOES THE SUCCESS AT ATLANTA A FEW WEEKS AGO CARRY OVER TO THIS TRACK? "It carries over quite a bit. The setup in general and the changes that we made in Atlanta are going to be the general ...
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
HOW MUCH DOES THE SUCCESS AT ATLANTA A FEW WEEKS AGO CARRY OVER TO THIS TRACK? "It carries over quite a bit. The setup in general and the changes that we made in Atlanta are going to be the general pattern here in Texas. With limited testing in Las Vegas, I feel like we still need to utilize that first half-hour to try and develop our portfolio."
HOW DOES A NEW CHASSIS AFFECT THE CONFIDENCE OF A DRIVER? "It's really about track time. This car is different than the car that we ran in Atlanta. Yeah, I'd love to have the Atlanta car here. I'd love to have 'Hot Rod' here in Texas. The only way that we're going to get smarter and back-up our decision making is to run a different style car at a same style race track and expand our horizons a bit more."
HAS YOUR FAST START TO THE SEASON CHANGED YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR? "We can't let those good runs overshadow the tough races that we had at Bristol and Martinsville. We still have the same objective and that's to get into the Chase, but we now only have 20 weeks to get to the cutoff to get work done."
HOW WOULD YOU SUMMARIZE THE FIRST SIX RACES OF THE SEASON? "I think we exceeded our expectations on the mile-and-a-halves. We still have to continue to grow. I think that we're way under expectations on short-tracks, so we have quite a bit of work to do in that area. One style of track that we haven't even been to yet is the flat track...the flat intermediates...the Richmond's, Phoenix...we'll get to Loudon eventually. That really is the next grouping of tracks along with road courses as well."
HOW WAS THE CAR IN THE FIRST PRACTICE AND THOUGHTS ON THE WEEKEND? "We felt like we spend a little extra time in race trim just to try and knock a few things off of our list. We did switch over to qualifying trim which put us second on the board and ended up third overall. I feel like we have a good turning car in 1 and 2, we're just a bit tight in 3 and 4 sections of the race track. Pat's (Tryson, crew chief) got a good handle on what we need to get our Miller Lite Dodge Charger better."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE POSSIBILITY OF MOVING THE NASCAR BANQUET TO LAS VEGAS? "It's always exciting for my hometown to have more NASCAR things in it. Obviously, the 'Entertainment Capital of the World' would be a cool place to have the banquet. It would go against the trends that NASCAR has rooted up in New York City over the years. I think that the media is a stronger avenue in New York, but I think that the teams would be able to celebrate a bit more if they were in Las Vegas."
WHY NOT BRING THE ATLANTA CAR TO TEXAS? "I think that the plan is to get as much information under our belts in the first few weeks of the season as we can. Yeah, it was a great car in Atlanta. We know exactly what it shows us in the wind tunnel and this car (we're racing here in Texas) is slightly different and we want to put that underneath our belt as well. How different does it feel? We know what setup we ran in Atlanta and we want to try just a different car here at Texas to get our portfolio bigger."
HAS THERE BEEN ANY FALLOUT FROM THE RADIO COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND ROGER (PENSKE)? "To me, that's the heat of the moment. The radio, I always thought, has been a team tool that should be utilized just by the teams. We don't get to hear what the coach says to his offensive and defensive coordinators in the NFL. I don't think that we get to hear what they do in baseball when they call to the bullpen. You don't get to hear what they say in the huddle, and what they say in the huddle is pretty animated. Roger (Penske) and I are on the same page. Martinsville is behind us. This is Texas and right now, we have a shot of trying to sit on the pole this afternoon."
HAVE YOU HAD ANY FOLLOW-UP CONVERSATIONS WITH ROGER? "I feel like Roger and I are definitely on the same page. I have the utmost respect for him. When we're in the heat of the battle, sometimes things are said that aren't really the right thing to say, but we do need to work on our short-track program if we want to be a contender once we get down the stretch run. That's all I was trying to imply."
HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE NEW DODGE ENGINE SO FAR? "I would give it a 'B'. I would say that there is room for improvement. I would say that we gained some torque and gained some power and cooling. Cooling has been a nice plus that I didn't expect because we can run a little bit more tape on the front grill of our Dodge Charger."
ARE YOU HAPPY TO BE BACK ON A MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACK THIS WEEKEND? "Yeah, I feel like our mile-and-a-half program is definitely where we want it. I'm going to go and test all the short-tracks across the country that we can to help better ourselves and be ready for Richmond when it comes up in May and get better at Martinsville. Last year at Martinsville, we blew out five beads while we were running. This year we didn't blow out any. So we did improve in certain areas."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THINGS ARE HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR YOUR TEAM? "For sure. To be third in points doesn't happen by accident. It's a lot of hard word that's been put in over the off season in all areas of our team...engine department, aero, the motor guys and my guys here at the race track that jump over the wall and work on the cars. Just everywhere you look, I think that we've improved and that's what's helped us."
-credit: dodge motorsports