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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation NASCAR 08/06-8/07(Sat & Sun)

Pocono Raceway



Race Capsule

What: Race 14 of 25 on Camping World Truck circuit
Where: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA
When: August 6, 2011 1:21 pm EDT
Laps: 50
Track Length: 2.5 miles
Race Length: 125.00 miles


Records
Date Series Driver Speed

7/21/96 Sprint Cup Race Rusty Wallace 145.00
6/13/04 Sprint Cup Qualifying Kasey Kahne 172.533
7/31/10 Camping World Truck Race Elliott Sadler 112.00
7/31/10 Camping World Truck Qualifying Elliott Sadler 162.602

Camping World Truck Series
Upcoming Race Aug 6
Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125





Camping World Truck
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse


7/31/10 Pocono Mountains 125 Elliott Sadler Elliott Sadler Chevrolet $455,131


Race Capsule

What: Race 21 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit
Where: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA
When: August 7, 2011 1:18 pm EDT
Laps: 200
Track Length: 2.5 miles
Race Length: 500.00 miles


Upcoming Race Aug 7
Good Sam RV Insurance 500



Sprint Cup
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse


6/12/11 5-hour ENERGY 500 Kurt Busch Jeff Gordon Chevrolet $4,906,691
6/6/10 Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Kyle Busch Denny Hamlin Toyota $4,945,083
8/1/10 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Tony Stewart Greg Biffle Ford $4,945,083
6/7/09 Pocono 500 Tony Stewart Tony Stewart Chevrolet $5,077,262
8/3/09 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Tony Stewart Denny Hamlin Toyota $5,077,262
6/8/08 Pocono 500 Kasey Kahne Kasey Kahne Dodge $5,037,783
8/3/08 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Jimmie Johnson Carl Edwards Ford $5,037,783
6/10/07 Pocono 500 Ryan Newman Jeff Gordon Chevrolet $4,940,543
8/5/07 Pennsylvania 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kurt Busch Dodge $4,935,998

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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U.S. Cellular 250
Iowa Speedway



Race Capsule

What: Race 22 of 34 on Nationwide circuit
Where: Iowa Speedway, Newton, IA
When: August 6, 2011 7:49 pm EDT
Laps: 250
Track Length: 0.875 miles
Race Length: 219.00 miles


Iowa Speedway
Records
Date Series Driver Speed


5/22/11 Nationwide Race Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 106.00
8/1/09 Nationwide Qualifying Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 135.135
9/5/09 Camping World Truck Race Mike Skinner 99.00
9/5/09 Camping World Truck Qualifying Mike Skinner 137.052

Nationwide Series
Upcoming Race Aug 6
U.S. Cellular 250



Nationwide
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse

5/22/11 Iowa John Deere Dealers 250 Drew Herring Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford $1,171,305
7/31/10 U.S. Cellular 250 Trevor Bayne Kyle Busch Toyota $1,362,993
8/1/09 U.S. Cellular 250 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet $1,465,255

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NSCS Race Advance - Pocono
August 2, 2011 , LONG POND, Pa. - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dodge Motorsports NSCS Race Advance
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Good Sam RV Insurance 500
Pocono Raceway
Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011



POCONO RACEWAY

· Dodge has six wins at Pocono Raceway: Richard Petty (1974, 1976), Bill Elliott (2002), Ryan Newman (2003), Kurt Busch (2007) and Kasey Kahne (2008).

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch dominated the 2007 fall race at Pocono en route to victory, leading 175 of 200 laps in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.

· Dodge has started from the pole three times at Pocono since its return to Sprint Cup racing in 2001: Bill Elliott (2002), Ryan Newman (2003) and Kasey Kahne (2008).

· Dodge holds the track qualifying record at Pocono: Kasey Kahne, June 2004 (52.164 sec. 172.533 mph).

DODGE NEWS AND NOTES

· Kurt Busch started from the pole and led three times for 37 laps in the first visit to the track in June. He finished second. In 21 starts at “The Tricky Triangle”, Busch has two wins along with eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. His driver rating of 104.1 is third best among active Sprint Cup drivers.

· Brad Keselowski started 20th and finished 23rd in the June event.

THE DODGE BOYS

· Dodge has 209 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.

· Dodge’s most recent win came at Infineon Raceway. Kurt Busch led 76 of the 110 laps en route to victory in the Save Mart 350. The victory was the second for Dodge in 2011.

· Dodge teams have posted 49 victories since the manufacturer’s return to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001 after being out of the sport since 1977.

· Dodge has posted wins each season since its return in 2001 including seven wins twice (2002 and 2006).

· Dodge claimed two Sprint Cup victories in 2010.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

· Dodge’s Brad Keselowski gained two positions to 21st in the Sprint Cup driver standings after his ninth-place finish in the Brickyard 400; he’s 16 points outside the top 20.

· All 67 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been 500-mile events.

· There have been 29 different race winners at Pocono.

DID YOU KNOW

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch has 12 combined wins at the six race tracks leading up to the Chase: Pocono (2), Michigan (2), Bristol (5) and Atlanta (3).

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch led 306 laps en route to his two Pocono wins: 2005 (131) and 2007 (175).

2011 DODGE SPRINT CUP REWIND

· Race 1: Kurt Busch won the season-opening Bud Shootout and a Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway.

· Races 12-15: Dodge earned four-consecutive poles.

· Race 13: Keselowski won Kansas. First Dodge win of the season

· Race 16: Busch dominated at Infineon. Earned first win of season and first road-course victory of his career.

ODDS AND ENDS

· Kurt Busch is the only driver in the Sprint Cup Series who has been in the top 10 in the season point standings every race. Two other drivers – Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart – have been in the top 12 all season.

· There have been 14 different Cup Series winners in the 20 races this season – eclipsing the total (13) for all 36 races last season.

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch has won a NSCS race in each of his first 10 seasons – the second longest active streak amongst current Cup Series drivers.

· Only one of the last 12 Sprint Cup races Pocono has been won from a starting spot outside the top 15.

· NASCAR will have 10 jet track dryers standing by for duty during the weekend. It takes approximately 120 minutes to dry the 2.5-mile track after a significant rainfall.

· There have been six sweeps (win both races) at Pocono.

· Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at Pocono: Kasey Kahne, 06/08/2008, Pocono 500, 125.209 mph avg. speed.

FROM THE ENGINEER
"Ever since the Sprint Cup Series started racing at Indianapolis, the adage has been if you run good at Indy you'll run good at Pocono. If only it were really that easy for engineers. Both tracks have relatively flat corners and both are 2.5-mile tracks, but beyond that they start to diverge pretty quickly. Indy doesn't have three corners more than 90 degrees, the ever-dangerous tunnel turn, or drivers shifting gears each lap. We saw in the first Pocono race this year that all three of those factors played into an early exit for several top teams. I think Indy is a picnic for engineers compared to the challenges they face at Pocono."
Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering

DODGE MOTORSPORTS QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We continue to bring better and stronger cars to every race and that’s what we have to do if we’re going to make the Chase and go after the championship during the final 10 races of the season. I’m really pleased with how our team has come around in the last couple of months. I may get a little fiery out there behind the wheel, but Steve and the guys know how I am and I love them for that. We all want to excel and that’s what we’re after – this weekend at Pocono and for the rest of the season.” Kurt Busch, driver, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

DODGE QUOTES
“When the dust had settled there back in June, we had left a little out there on the table. I guess it may sound a little greedy, but it’d be fair to say that we’re coming back in there looking to do one better this time around.”
Kurt Busch, driver, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

“Pocono has always been a track when you had to look at fuel mileage strategy. When you look at how this season has gone, that has to be your chief concern. The fact that you can pit there easily without losing a lap, it will be huge on everybody’s radar screen.”
Steve Addington, crew chief, No. 2 ShellPennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

“Now that we are starting to go back to tracks a second time, I really expect the Miller Lite Dodge team to be more competitive than we were on the first visit. Pocono this weekend will give us a chance to see what we learned from the race in June. I thought we had a car that could run in the top-five in that race, but we broke a shock mount early on and that basically ended our chances for a good finish. Our flat track program has been pretty solid this year. I was really proud of our performance at Indianapolis last weekend. That gives me confidence that we can go to Pocono and get a strong result. We’ve seen it before where someone runs well at Indy and they’re able to come right back and do the same at Pocono because the tracks do have some similarities.”
Brad Keselowski, driver, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation

Posted: Wednesday August 3, 2011 2:22PM ; Updated: Wednesday August 3, 2011 2:22PM
Brad Keselowski taken to hospital after accident at Road Atlanta

SI.com staff

NEW YORK -- Brad Keselowski was involved in an accident while testing his vehicle at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Wednesday, according to Penske Racing. He was taken to an Atlanta area hospital for further evaluation.

"Brad was able to exit the car under his own power, but as a precautionary measure was taken to the hospital," a media representative from Penske Racing said. "Penske Racing will provide further communication as details become known."

Keselowski, currently 21st in driver points, is coming off a ninth-place finish at the Brickyard 400. The 27-year-old won the Nationwide Series title last year.




Find this article at:
Brad Keselowski taken to hospital after accident at Road Atlanta - Racing - SI.com

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Keselowski is OK after wreck in testing

updated Aug 3, 2011 8:47 PM ET

Brad Keselowski was involved in an accident while testing the No. 2 Miller Dodge at Road Atlanta in Georgia on Wednesday, but the Penske Racing driver believes he'll be able to race this weekend.


The driver was airlifted to an Atlanta-area hospital for evaluation, and afterward he sent messages from his Twitter account.

"Looking at data with engineers in hospital bed. Was going 155, car slowed to approx 100 before hitting a non safer barrier wall head on," Keselowski wrote. "Looks like I'll be ok to race this weekend. Blue deuce, not so much. I'll keep u posted."

The 27-year-old driver also sent out pictures of his ankle from the hospital via Twitter.

After the accident “Brad was able to exit the car under his own power," said Jonathan Gibson, vice president of Penske Racing.

Keselowski is slated to run in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway and Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Team sources say that Parker Kligerman and Sam Hornish will be standing by for Keselowski at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway. Hornish posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes in his last four Pocono starts in Penske Dodges.

Keselowski, currently in his second season with Penske Racing, is 21st in the Sprint Cup point standings. Keselowski won the inaugural spring Kansas race on June 5, his second career Cup victory. Last season, Keselowski won the Nationwide Series title. It was the first NASCAR championship for Penske Racing.



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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-04-2011, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Brad Keselowski to miss Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide race
3:23 PM, Aug. 4, 2011



Brad Keselowski of Rochester Hills will not run in Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway after his high-speed crash at Road Atlanta on Wednesday.

The Penske Racing driver was testing at the 2.5-mile road course when he collided head-on with a wall at 100 m.p.h., according to messages Keselowski posted on Twitter soon after the wreck. He had slowed his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge from 155 m.p.h. before the impact, he said.

Keselowski, 27, was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center, from which he posted a photo of what appeared to be his extremely swollen left ankle.

Keselowski was released from the hospital today.

Penske Racing issued a statement today that said, in part: "Due to Brad Keselowski's accident while testing at Road Atlanta, he will not participate ... at Iowa Speedway. Parker Kligerman will practice the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger on Friday, while Sam Hornish Jr. will qualify the race car on Saturday. Penske Racing will continue to evaluate Brad's condition."

As for Keselowski's chances of competing in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway at Long Pond, Pa., a Penske spokesman told the Free Press it was still under evaluation.

But Keselowski tweeted the following this afternoon: "Been a full day of doctors and hospitals here. The Good news? Just left dr.petty's office in Charlotte and i am cleared to race!"

A former Nationwide Series champion, Keselowski is 21st in Sprint Cup points and fighting for a place in the Chase for the Championship. He scored his second Nationwide victory of the year Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis



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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NNS Race Advance - Pocono
August 4, 2011 , LONG POND, Pa. - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dodge Motorsports NNS Race Advance
U.S. Cellular 250
Iowa Speedway
Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011



KESELOWSKI UPDATE

· Dodge’s Brad Keselowski will not participate in this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway after being involved in an accident during testing at Road Atlanta on Wednesday. Penske Racing’s Parker Kligerman will practice the car on Friday with teammate Sam Hornish Jr. taking over the driving duties for qualifying and the 250-lap race on Saturday afternoon.


SAM HORNISH JR. – No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T

Career Stats:

Starts: 27

Wins: 0

Top Fives: 0

Top 10s: 2

Poles: 0

Laps Led: 12

Average Start: 16.4

Average Finish: 24.7

2011 Season Stats:

Starts: 7

Wins: 0

Top Fives: 0

Top 10s: 2

Laps Led: 4

Average Start: 9.1

Average Finish: 16.3


KESELOWSKI FACTS

· This weekend’s U.S. Cellular 250 will be the second Nationwide Series race of the season that Brad Keselowski has not participated in. Jacques Villeneuve drove the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger to a third-place finish at Road America and will also be the driver when the series competes in Montreal later this month. Keselowski, the 2010 Nationwide champion, is not receiving points in the series this year.

DID YOU KNOW

· Penske Racing earned its second Nationwide Series win of the year last weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway when Brad Keselowski drove the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger to victory. Keselowski led the final seven laps of the race en route to his 14th career victory in the series and first at the .686-mile track.

THE NUMBERS

· Sam Hornish Jr. will be making his first start at the .875-mile Iowa oval. In seven NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this year, Hornish has two top 10s with an average-finishing position of 16.3. His last Nationwide start came at Nashville last month where he finished sixth.

DODGE IN THE NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES

· Dodge won its first Nationwide championship last year when Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski claimed the driver’s title.

· Dodge is fielding two entries in the Nationwide Series this year from the Penske Racing stable. Sam Hornish Jr. joins teammate Brad Keselowski for a limited race schedule.

DODGE QUOTE:

"It's unfortunate what happened to Brad yesterday while testing at Road Atlanta. However, this gives me the opportunity to drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger this weekend at Iowa Speedway while Brad has time to rest and recover in Pocono. I'm very grateful to have the chance to run in the No. 22 Dodge. I had practiced the car for the spring race here in Iowa, which lead to Brad finishing third. I'm looking forward to compete with the Discount Tire crew and hopefully we can bring home a victory."
Sam Hornish Jr., No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T

FROM THE CREW CHIEF
"Fortunately we have had a chance to work with both drivers this year and have found great speed with both. Parker (Kligerman) tested for us just last week and Sam (Hornish Jr.) drove the Discount Tire Dodge during both practice sessions at Iowa in the spring, setting the car up to lead several laps and finish third without Brad having a lap of practice in the car. I look forward to our chance to compete for a win with Sam this weekend and don't feel we need to change the expectations of our performance. Sam has had several good runs in the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge with circumstances beyond his control not giving him the results he deserves. I hope we can put the whole deal together at Iowa and get him to victory lane."
Todd Gordon, crew chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T

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Keselowski cleared to race at Pocono

08/04/2011 8:44 P.M.

Brad Keselowski has been cleared to compete in Sunday’s Sprint Cup event at Pocono Raceway, Penske Racing said in a statement.

During a test session at Road Atlanta on Wednesday, Keselowski slammed into a wall head on at 100 mph after his brakes failed. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he was treated for injures to his left ankle and released.

Following the accident, Keselowski tweeted that he was OK and that he would race at Pocono. Thursday, Keselowski saw Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurologist, who cleared him to race.

“After meeting with Brad Keselowski today it became clear that, despite an avulsion fracture of the left ankle, he would be able to compete this weekend at Pocono Raceway without any limitations,” Petty said. “Mr. Keselowski saw an orthopedic surgeon this afternoon who indicated that he would be able to put weight on the foot as necessary and should not be inhibited in any way.”

Keselowski was scheduled to compete in both the Cup Series race at Pocono and the Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway this weekend. Penske has decided to keep him out of the Nationwide race. Sam Hornish Jr. will take his place.

Missing the Cup race would have been a devastating blow to Keselowski’s chances at making the Chase. He’s 21st in the standings but because of his victory at Kansas is still in the wildcard hunt. Keselowski is 42 points behind Paul Menard, who currently holds the final wildcard spot.





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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch Open Interview - Pocono
August 5, 2011 , LONG POND, Pa.

Dodge Motorsports PR
Pocono Raceway
Good Sam RV Insurance 500
Brad Keselowski Open Interview
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series


BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
HOW ARE YOU FEELING? “Pretty good, glad to be back in the race car. It didn’t look like, for a little while, I was going to get to do that.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR YOU IN THE RACE CAR? “It’s been easier at times. In general, I’m not that bad. There are some things down there that don’t feel real good. It took a little effort to make it all work inside the car. I’ve got a good car, so it will be alright.”

OTHER DRIVERS HAVE COMMENTED THAT THE ACCIDENT WAS REALLY BAD; HOW BAD ARE THE INJURIES TO YOUR FOOT AND LEG? “It wasn’t good. The biggest thing is that I felt lucky that was all that was tore up. I hit about as hard as you can hit in one of these cars and I’m still here somehow. As a driver, probably one of your worst nightmares is going through a corner, like that one was, without a safer barrier, without any of the stuff that we’ve got used to and got accustomed to, without brakes. And knowing that I had two or three seconds staring at a wall, knowing that I was going to hit it about as hard as you possibly could. Probably less comforting was knowing that it was a temporary wall and on the other side was trees, so I figured I was going to end up in the trees. Somehow, I made it through it, broke the wall down and came flying through on the other side. I was just really, really lucky.”

HOW MUCH PAIN WERE YOU IN THEN COMPARED TO NOW? “I was pretty sure after I hit the wall that I had broken everything that I could break. I was hurting pretty good. I guess, you know, a few days recovery and I just healed up. I feel pretty decent now. Walking isn’t all that easy, but that’s just the deal. You get in the race car and make it work somehow.”

IS IT MORE DIFFICULT WITH THE SHIFTING AND BRAKING YOU HAVE TO DO HERE AT POCONO? “I can tell you, I’ve checked my brakes a couple extra times before each corner. It’s not an easy place to drive with your foot tore up. Coming to Pocono this year, they opened up the shifting rule, so that means you do a lot more with your feet. It requires a little more finesse. Finesse certainly isn’t something I wouldn’t say you have when your feet hurt. It’s going to be tricky all weekend.”

DO YOU USE YOUR LEFT FOOT FOR BRAKING? “I do everything with my left foot as far as braking and shifting is concerned.”

WHAT ABOUT PAIN ON SUNDAY; WHAT PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE IF RELIEF IS NEEDED? “I’m not going to get out (of the car); I don’t care how much it hurts. That’s not going to happen. Sam (Hornish Jr.) is going to drive my car at Iowa (Nationwide). I would go there if they would let me. I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince Roger (Penske) of that. I can tell you, I’m not getting out Sunday.

WHAT ABOUT MEDICATION, HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO CONTROL THE PAIN WITH MEDICATION? “I got to take a Motrin or two and they put some pain medicine in me while I was at the hospital through an IV; I don’t know what that was. Thank God for that. Otherwise, it would have been really bad, really rough. I’ve been really lucky that each day I’ve recovered tremendously. All the swelling in both my feet have gone down. I’m able to walk and do the things it takes to be a race car driver.”

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A TOUGH GUY? “I consider myself a lucky guy to have walked away and be here. It’s not for me to judge that.”

AFTER WHAT YOU’VE GONE THROUGH, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE TRACKS THAT DRIVERS GO TO FOR TESTING? “There’s a reason why there are certain tracks on the schedule that are on the schedule. They’re great facilities. They’re nice facilities to drive on and when things go wrong, usually people won’t get hurt. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a wreck in Cup where a driver has been seriously hurt. Let’s knock on wood. I was real lucky. That has to do with the facilities you go to. I had a good time testing at Road Atlanta, but at the end of the day, there’s a realization that there’s a reason why it’s not a Cup facility. It’s not up to the requirements that it takes. Those are the things we have to do if we want to remain competitive, if we want to find the edge, if we want to go to Watkins Glen and unload as a competitive team with the Miller Lite Dodge. You’ve got to take those chances. This Wednesday when we took those chances, we paid the price for it and almost a much larger price.”

HAVE YOU HAD OTHER INJURIES DURING YOUR CAREER; IS THIS THE WORST INJURY YOU’VE HAD? This is probably my worst. I’ve never had both feet injured at the same time and everything else that comes with that. It’s just the way it is. I think in a long race season, at some point you’re going to have to deal with injuries or deal with what happens; if we can make it through this, we can make it through anything.”

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE YOU TO HEAL? “I should be back to 100 percent I guess in the next six weeks. The big question is how the bone in my foot is going to heal. That’s a huge question; we’ll just have to find out as we go.”

HAS THIS INJURY COME AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME? “This is about the worst time knowing we’re coming up on the Chase, knowing that we need another win to get in, knowing that we have tracks coming up that require a lot of finesse with the brakes – Watkins Glen and here at Pocono. And then, you’ve got one of the toughest races of the year with Bristol, it’s 500 laps on a short track. There’s no good time, but this is certainly the worst time.”

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch Open Interview - Pocono
August 5, 2011 , LONG POND, Pa.
Dodge Motorsports PR
Pocono Raceway
Good Sam RV Insurance 500
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Kurt Busch Open Interview


KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TRYING TO TACK ON ANOTHER RACE WIN THIS SEASON AND A CHANCE AT $1 MILLION WITH THE SPRINT SUMMER SHOWDOWN? “It’s great to come back to Pocono. It’s one of our favorite tracks on the circuit. This place over the years, for me, has been a really good top-five finish, a first or a second, or it’s been a tire failure or motor failure. So we’re looking for the positive side of it to continue to pad our points with where we are with just six races left to the cutoff.

“The Sprint Summer Showdown, a beautiful promotion that gets everybody excited about running hard up to the Chase. That’s what it’s meant to do. It puts a lot of pressure on teams that want to win and be eligible when we go to Atlanta for a $1 million payday – not just for the team, not just for your own foundation, but for a race fan that’s tied in with Sprint. A great promotion. It’s a brilliant theme for the next few weeks. I just want to thank Sprint for making this happen for us, to create the excitement.”

HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY? “It was a great day at Walter Reed Medical Center Hospital, to see the troops and visit some of the rooms with some of our wounded soldiers. To go to the rehabilitation area and see these guys, it’s amazing. It’s a very heart-warming experience to go and visit the hospital. It was my fourth trip. To think that when you have a bad day because you didn’t finish well or because you got a flat tire driving down the interstate and you have to change it yourself or you’re late for a meeting and then you see what these guys have been through serving our country; to have their lives altered forever, being changed by being a double amputee or triple amputee and to have scars all over their bodies and not be able to live a normal life anymore. Some of them, when they get fixed up, they want to get deployed again for overseas and fight again. It’s a way of life. It’s an amazing experience to see these men and women. To go to the hospital on one of its last operating months until they move everything from Walter Reed to Bethesda, it’s a moving experience working with the military. That’s why we teamed up, to try and raffle off a car this year to raise funds and raise awareness along with the Armed Forces Foundation. It’s a beautiful Dodge Charger. One hundred dollars for a ticket and you have a chance to win a car. It’s neat to watch it come full circle. That’s how I spent my 33rd birthday because after 30 you don’t count anymore, you just go to the big 10s on your birthdays – the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I think Jeff Gordon, a good friend of mine, he turned 40, so his birthday was more important this year.

CAN YOU CONTRAST AND COMPARE INFINEON AND WATKINS GLEN?
“Two very distinctively different road courses that we visit on the Cup circuit. Watkins Glen is a very fast race track with hard, hard, heavy breaking zones; a road course setup that is really different, but there are still some small things that you can take between the two tracks. We’re really excited about the next couple weeks. Pocono this weekend and Watkins Glen and try and back up what we did at Infineon this year and that’s to bring home another win and make it a “WINsday” – a promotion that Shell has to give race fans a chance to save 22-cents a gallon if they have their Shell Saver Card. It’s pretty exciting when you can win and have a big company like that go nation-wide with a promotion.”

IS THE FRUSTRATION LEVEL AS HIGH AT WATKINS GLEN AS IT WAS AT INFINEON? “I don’t know where I read it, but somebody said the ‘new’ Bristol is now Infineon and everybody uses their paybacks and the opportunity to bump people out of the way, it’s now done at Infineon. You don’t see that at Watkins Glen. Watkins Glen is a standard road course where it’s more of a gentleman-type sport and you’re not looking for the contact at Watkins Glen.”

HAVE YOU TALKED TO BRAD ABOUT HIS ACCIDENT? WHAT’S THE WORSE WRECK THAT YOU’VE BEEN IN? IS IT TOUGH TO GET BACK IN THE CAR? “Yeah, I talked with Brad. He was in our hauler this morning shooting the breeze and trying to pick up more pointers about Pocono. If you looked at him, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. He had a little bit of trouble getting up and down the steps and that’s just with the swollen ankle that he has. The way that feels and looks is that he’s normal. He’s going to try and run the whole race, but we’ll have Sam Hornish Jr. on stand-by for him."

“I actually lost my brakes at Road America back in 2005. I came out of the pit and did turns 1, 2 and 3. Turn Five is the heavy braking zone at Road America. Luckily, I didn’t have a concrete barrier to run into first. I had where they tie the tires together, like in open wheel where you just zigzag through them. I just blew through those. I was bouncing off of things, walls, and fences. I actually hit an ambulance because nobody expected me to end up that far into the infield. When I jumped out of my car, I couldn’t believe that I survived, for one. Two, the ambulance people were crawling out of the ambulance because the left front was knocked off of it. If one of us were hurt, none of us were going to get to the hospital because the ambulance had a DNF as well. It’s a tough experience when your brakes fail you when you’re going 180-mph. At road courses, you have to slow down to 30 or 50-mph for a slow corner. It was a tough day. We had our back-up car there. I jumped right into the back up (car) and went right back out to run some laps. The old cliché of ‘when you fall off your horse, you have to get right back on it’ is still the best medicine. With Brad being in the car this morning, he had a few days to rehabilitate and get ready, now here he is. You have to know that the team is giving you the best equipment possible and when there’s one small mistake made, everybody has to learn from it.”

WHEN DID YOU START TO TURN YOUR ROAD COURSE PROGRAM AROUND? “Last year, finishing second at Watkins Glen. I finished second to (Juan Pablo) Montoya and beat (Marcos) Ambrose. That was a big moment for me. Back in 2006 I swept the poles at the road courses. I’ve really enjoyed the road courses over the years. To me it feels like an off-weekend where we’re going to have fun, yet it’s not as intense as it is on the ovals. I’ve always taken a light-hearted approach. I actually was on the podium at the Daytona Rolex 24 Hour Race, finishing third one year. So I enjoy it. I don’t know where it clicked or where it hit. One of the fun moments that I always had growing up and racing was going to Bondurant’s driving school and messing around with Mike McGovern, one of their chief instructors for three days straight. That was a great experience for learning about road courses. I think when things turned around was when I just didn’t let the Hendrick cars dump me because we were fast enough to stay away from them this time around.”

THE GLEN HAS SUCH BIG CORNERS. IS THAT WHY YOU’RE ABLE TO SEE GUYS STRETCH LEADS? “You have a lot of speed at Watkins Glen. If you hit the esses just right, nobody is really going to be able to pass you getting into the inner-loop. Then if you get a great run out of the carousel, you can stretch your lead and develop it through turns 10 and 11 onto the front straightaway. A lot of speed at Watkins Glen. There’s no real slow corner like there’s a bunch of at Infineon. Once you have a fast car, it just adds to all the corners where you can build up speed and build up that speed.”

HAVE YOU EVER REALIZED THAT YOU AND JEFF GORDON ARE ASTROLOGICAL TWINS SHARING THE SAME BIRTHDAY? “We’ve always just joked with each other with “Happy Birthday”. The way that we’re seven-years apart is funny because Kyle (Busch) and I are seven-years apart. Over the years, we’ve learned we have the same birthday (date). Barack Obama, Roger Clemens, there’s quite a few guys on August 4th. You see a lot of competitive people that are Leos.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW PRACTICE WENT FOR YOU GUYS TODAY? “Practice went smooth for us this morning. We were second overall which means if it rains out tomorrow’s qualifying session, we’ll start (the race) second. It also means that if we do qualify, we’ll go out second from last which isn’t the greatest of news because qualifying starts at 10:00 a.m. We’ll see how the weather plays out. We just didn’t want to be caught without putting a good, fast lap down. As race trim progressed for us, we had a good top-10 car. Now we need to polish it up here in the final session if we want to be a race-winning car.”

Rick

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