Watkins Glen: Kurt Busch preview

BUSCH WILL BE "EXTRA PREPARED" FOR SUNDAY'S WATKINS GLEN RACE -Miller Lite Dodge Driver Pulling "Double-Duty" Again This Weekend On New York Road Course- WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2006) -- No other team in motorsports is better known for ...

BUSCH WILL BE "EXTRA PREPARED" FOR SUNDAY'S WATKINS GLEN RACE

-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Pulling "Double-Duty" Again This Weekend On New York Road Course-

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2006) -- No other team in motorsports is better known for their preparation for competition than Penske Racing. As a matter of fact, the credo long associated with teams owned by Roger Penske has been "effort equals results."

A supreme example of "Penske Preparation Philosophy" can be found in the groundwork laid by Kurt Busch and his Roy McCauley-led Miller Lite Dodge team entering this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Watkins Glen International.

Busch, the 2004 NEXTEL Cup champ, could be found on Monday afternoon at the 2.3-mile Carolina Motorsports Park road course in Kershaw, S.C., shaking down the team's brand new NBS car, the PBC-009 Chassis No. 39 Penske Truck Rental Dodge.

It was all part of a plan the team devised last December, according to crew chief McCauley.

"In one of our very first conversations with Kurt when our team was coming together last December, we asked him if he thought he had any weak tracks on the schedule," said McCauley, who has done a masterful job in his rookie season as a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team leader. "He thought about it and almost immediately pointed to Watkins Glen.

"From that moment on, we've had a bull's-eye on the upcoming weekend's race at the Glen," McCauley said. "We looked at it as a challenge to get Kurt as prepared as possible for this Sunday's race. No bones about it, that's the biggest reason he'll be racing the 39 car (Penske Truck Rental Dodge) there on Saturday.

"If you ask me, I've seen no weak links in Kurt Busch as a driver -- not even on the road courses," said McCauley. "You saw what he could do out at Sonoma (Infineon Raceway) and we feel that he can be just as strong this weekend at Watkins Glen. But, if he thinks he needs to get better at any track, rest assured that we're going to utilize every resource we can to help him do so.

Busch put his Miller Lite Dodge on the pole for June's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway and he finished fifth. He led the first 29 laps and ran among the top five cars the entire race. The 110-lap race around that 1.99-mile road course came down to track position, fuel economy and execution in the pits. Jeff Gordon had the dominant machine and he came home the winner. Ryan Newman emerged from the final green-flag pit stops ahead of Busch and he claimed the runner-up spot. Terry Labonte stretched his fuel mileage to claim the third spot and Greg Biffle, who also gained track position during the final round of stops, finished fourth.

The Watkins Glen road course has historically not been as kind to Busch as has the California track. His Watkins Glen career Cup record sports one top-10 finish in five starts. His best start was fifth in last year's visit to the sprawling New York road course and his best finish, a 10th, came in the 2004 race. Overall, he has an 11.4 average start and a 26.2 average finish at the Glen. He also competed in one Craftsman Truck Series race there, starting seventh and finishing second on June 24, 2000.

But according to McCauley, Busch's participation in Saturday's Zippo 200 will carry more benefits than just allowing his driver additional track time.

"Watkins Glen is unlike Sears Point (Infineon) or any other track in that you pit the car backwards from normal," McCauley explained. "You gas the car on the right side, so your tire changing procedure goes from left to right instead of the other way around. That's unique in our sport and will be the reason we use our Cup guys in pitting the car there on Saturday. It will give them additional practice for Sunday's race.

"Then you have to look at all the similarities between Saturday and Sunday," McCauley continued. "The downforce difference between the two cars is not as significant at Watkins Glen as it is elsewhere. We can actually work with the No. 39 car on Friday and Saturday and learn things about shock packages and tire pressures that we can apply to our Miller Lite Dodge for Sunday's Cup race."

-credit: penske racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Roger Penske
Teams Team Penske