Watkins Glen: Kurt Busch - Dodge Friday interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger) MOMENTUM RIGHT NOW? "It feels good to be back in the top 12. Just the attention the drivers get with the different sessions with the media. So we must be doing something okay. To be able to continue...

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Avenger)

MOMENTUM RIGHT NOW? "It feels good to be back in the top 12. Just the attention the drivers get with the different sessions with the media. So we must be doing something okay. To be able to continue this role is obviously the most important ingredient for us if we want to make the Chase. With five races left, I have won at four of the five tracks. I had a great car last year at Watkins Glen. We're looking to build on each one of those wins and use that past experience to help us in these next few weeks.

"I think the key ingredient has been Pat Tryson coming aboard. He's really clicked with our team very well, building the race cars as well as making pit calls. So, it just feels good with the Miller Lite Dodge and the team and where we are headed right now."

HOW BIG WAS THE POCONO WIN? "It's a tremendous feeling to go to victory lane and to do it at a point in the season where you definitely need some points. The way that everybody at Penske Racing has embraced this win, crew guys that don't get to go to the track or anybody that is in the front office, the guys in the back; we had a big pizza party Wednesday and one of the guys came up to me and said, 'Winning is great but having you right here at a pizza party on a Wednesday afternoon here at the shop means more to me.' It's that feeling you get when you are part of a team; the atmosphere of people working so hard all the time and not being able to enjoy it. Victory lane is something that cures a lot of evil and you want more of it when you get there.

"Right now the biggest key for us in the Chase is consistency. To have a long stretch without winning you have to go back to what you're building on and that was to get the team up to speed. We won right away with Roy McCauley but with him taking a leave-of-absence earlier this season and having an interim crew chief knowing he wasn't long term, we had a lot of things to build. We've gotten to the point where we feel like we now have built up the things we need and now let's go start running for race wins."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE LAST THREE RACES BEFORE THE CHASE? "Bristol is going to be the biggest wild card of the races left to get into the Chase. The half-mile has got new concrete. It's going to be interesting how old setups are going to work on that race track. And, then with it being new it's going to be different to pass cars. It's not going to be the same passing cars when someone gets loose over the bump in two because the bump in two doesn't exist anymore.

"Bristol is going to be a wild card. We like California Speedway. I finished seventh there earlier this year. Richmond, a great short track for me, I thought we had a great shot at winning in May just came up fifth."

FINISHES NOT AT STRONG AS RUNS AT THE GLEN -- "Last year was a great weekend for me here at Watkins Glen sitting on the pole for both the Busch race and the Cup race. Having the chance to go to Victory Lane with the Busch car after a long, hard-fought battle with Robby Gordon felt very solidifying to me in building my road course resume. I feel comfortable on the road courses. I enjoy racing at them. Pit strategy always has a lot to do with if you are going to win or not. Last year we tried to pit and about a foot before I got to the open/close line the light changed on me. So it was red when I pitted and we had to adhere to the penalty. It made it interesting that we had a great car, dominating performance, but we just came home 19th because we had a one-lap penalty. You always look back at those events and it pushes you harder to try to go get it again. And that is what we will do this week. It will be very different with the Car of Tomorrow racing at this road course then where our setup was last year. Some of the stuff will apply but most of it will be different."

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GAIN POINTS EVERY WEEKEND? "That's the thing, we would like to go into each week and gain as many points as we can, but on a weekend like this we have all the extras that come in such as Ron Fellows, PJ Jones and guys like Boris Said. The normal gang that likes to run road courses, they'll be here. Then you have to look at the guys we're running for in points, Truex, Junior, Bowyer and my teammate Ryan Newman. If we can stay in front of those guys that will help us when you end up adding the points up at the end of the day."

ABOUT THE COT PRACTICE TIME ON THE TRACK: "We're definitely looking forward to getting out on the track with the way that the weather is playing around we might not have as much practice time. So, that will make what practice time we get very valuable and the way that our car ran at Sonoma we want to be better than where we were there. We tested Road Atlanta on Monday this week trying to get better for road courses with our new setup with the Car of Tomorrow. The Car of Tomorrow has better braking power than the previous car, but it also has a higher roll center, center of gravity. The car is very high as far as its weight. And, then the rear end slides around a bit more with the wing on it then it would with the regular spoiler. So, there are quite a few things that are different. You get into the corner faster, but then you have to go slower through the center and the exit because of the way the car handles."

WHICH IS THE MOST DIFFICULT, SONOMA OR THE GLEN? "Each place has its difficult quirk. This race track here at Watkins Glen has much faster straights, much faster corners and much harder on the braking zones. It's a very fast racetrack for a road course. At Sonoma, it's more of what a road course guy would call a point-and-shoot race track where you have very tight corners, slower apexes and not many braking zones. You just get in there, point the car and shoot it out of there.

"Here at Watkins Glen, much more momentum based where you've got to roll the corner with speed. Turn one dictates how fast you get all the way to the bus stop with carrying that momentum through the esses. Here each corner is more important than it is at Sonoma just because momentum really carries all the way around this racetrack."

-credit: dodge motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Boris Said , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske