Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch Open Interview - Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. , Aug 6, 2010 - Friday, August 6, 2010
Watkins Glen International Dodge Motorsports PR
Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen
Kurt Busch Open Interview
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite/Vortex Dodge Charger)
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK HEADING INTO SUNDAY’S RACE.
“We’re real excited about The Glen and coming back to a road course where we’ve felt comfortable over the years, but just quite haven’t posted solid results. Sitting on the pole back in 2006 helped Penske Racing understand I was going to be alright on road courses and really enjoy it when we go out to Sonoma and here at Watkins Glen. We look forward to trying to make our car best we can in this afternoon’s late practice, do a couple of qualifying runs, but primarily work on doing some longer runs to see how the car handles. Last year, we had a fairly decent strategy. It just didn’t unfold in our favor with fuel mileage we didn’t have. This year, our engine department has really worked on our fuel mileage to allow us to stay out there as long as we can. Right now, the tires aren’t wearing out at all with the cooler temperatures. We’ll have warmer temperatures on Sunday. Hopefully the track will stay rubbered in and there won’t be any rain delays throughout the weekend. It’s looking pretty promising for us with our Miller Lite Dodge. We’ll take it from there and try to get a nice solid top five or even go for a win because the win would be an extra 10 bonus points that would could take with us to the Chase.”
ARE THINGS OK BETWEEN YOU AND JIMMIE JOHNSON NOW?
“Yeah, I know the he said, she said and all that good stuff. I asked him when I was walking in here do I need a dust pan and a broom to clean up your mess? I’ve been wrecked by (Jimmie) Johnson quite a bit in the last couple season, the last 13 months and whether it was racing or just a small bump that he didn’t intend to do what he did. He didn’t intentionally try and wreck us at Pocono, but it ended up that way. There might be some of that coming from my side of it. I may not intentionally try to wreck him, but we’ve got a high car count of wrecked cars over at our shop and those guys on the 48, and even Jeff Gordon, with what he did to us at Sonoma, it’s been definitely a one-way street right now.”
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO YOUR BROTHER KYLE SAYING THAT HE RESPECTS YOU MOST OF ALL ROAD COURSE RACERS AND THAT YOU DON’T GET THE CREDIT THAT YOU DESERVE?
“That’s nice of Kyle. He’s actually won here and won at Sonoma. He’s done really well with his feel in the car for a road course. That’s nice of him to say that. I can list guys like Tony Stewart, who has finished first or second here the last how many years in a row? Jeff Gordon has the most wins at road course. Guys like Tim Richmond would step up and race hard at places like Riverside. Rusty Wallace of course. There’s a big group of guys that have always stepped up at road courses, but as of late, everybody steps up at these road course races. You can’t have a weak spot in your program. What I’ve noticed is that you have extra names that really jump in the mix that get excited about turning left and right. Guys like Marcos Ambrose, Robby Gordon, those guys will definitely be amped up for this weekend and then you have (Tony) Stewart and (Jeff) Gordon who haven’t won this year. Lots of big names at road courses and mine (name) just kind of fizzles in around ninth or 10th or 12th, depending on who’s at road courses. I’ve always taken a lot of pride in running hard at these types of tracks.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU PREFER TO FOCUS IN ON JUST THE RACING SIDE OF STUFF AND NOT GET INTO THE PEOPLE MAGAZINE TYPE OF NEWS. IS THERE ROOM FOR THE PERSONALITY TYPE OF BUSINESS IN THE SPORT?
“Really? We’re race car drivers. The guys at Hendrick are pretty boys and they get on People Magazine covers and that’s their job. My job is to go out and race cars and that’s what I focus on. I like to race the cars and race them hard, race them smart and I feel like that if what happened last week, which we’ll talk about racing because that’s what we should be talking about, if the roles we’re reversed and the 2 car wrecked the 48, I would have been hung. I would have been lynched at the gates for wrecking a four-time champion. But if the roles really were reversed, I wouldn’t have bumped the 48 in that fashion and both of us would have continued on and ended up with good results.”
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD RACER AT WATKINS GLEN?
“The balance at any road course, the amount of braking you have and not over-stepping what the car is able to do for deceleration. You’ve got to be able to toss it into the corners and slide it just right and not overheat your tires while you’re doing that. If you can find a good pace that’s at 95 percent of the cars ability, then you’re going to be tough to beat because now you can amp it up that extra five percent at the end when it really counts.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARCOS AMBROSE AND TONY STEWART ON ROAD COURSES?
“Marcos is one of the top names that come to mind. Just his background in supercars in Australia, those guys when you seem them on TV and see how close they are together and out of control they are while they’re doing it, they definitely have it science out as a fine art. To come out of that background, it makes you very competitive in our style of cars in road course. With Tony Stewart’s success, the guy’s amazing here at Watkins Glen. Just finding the right balance of speed versus handling and also the fuel-mileage game because you really have to have that worked out because a lot of times, you’ll pit not knowing if you can make it to the end and you have to count on yellows with your fuel mileage to make it.”
WILL YOU AND JIMMIE TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM EACH OTHER?
“We’ll both try and put it behind us. It’s tough for me to put it behind me because I look at the wrecked race cars I have at the shop where he goes to his shop and all those cars are pretty and clean. Yeah, it’s behind us. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. We feel like we can lock ourselves into the Chase the next few weeks, then the points get reset and I’ll only be thirty points behind him and those guys are the leaders, him and the 11 car. A few weeks from now, we’ll be 30 points behind the championship lead and that’s really where the focus needs to be.”
DOES IT MAKE IT EASIER THAT YOU’RE NOT THE GUY BEHIND THE WRECKED RACE CARS?
“We’re struggling a little bit with getting cars turned around quick enough with some of the wrecked cars we’re bringing back to the shop. I feel bad for all the guys. At the same time, it’s tough when they’re texting me, ‘Hey man, we need to go wreck that guy. We need to go put him on his lid’ and have to manage everything. We have the crew guys, we have our sponsors, and we have my close friends that all have the opinions. Ultimately, it comes down to the drivers down on the track knowing when someone crosses the line or not. Johnson and I are fine. It’s tough when we have three against nothing right now.”
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU WORKED TO CHANGE YOUR IMAGE SINCE BEING AT PENSKE RACING?
“I think that it’s been a great transition for me working with Roger (Penske) and everybody over at Penske Racing. Roger is a magician when it comes down to making things the right way. He really helped me mature as a driver on and off the track. If I even thought that I had a shot at jumping in that 5 car, a pretty boy named Kasey Kahne got picked over me.”