NASCAR Media Conference
June 16, 2009
Q. Can you tell us how the car feels compared to last July?
KURT BUSCH: Yeah, to me it's, it's the same. We had a part of the tires the last year and a half, and compared to two weeks ago, it was similar. And there was a lot of rain here over the last few weeks. So I feel like it's a really good tire. I feel like it's going to be to me a great race because the tire is better than it's been.
We didn't have any wear almost or any overheating problems. So I think it should be pretty good. We'll come back ask know that we've got something that we can really enjoy here for the 400.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, it's night and day different. That's the positive note. The ability to make more than ten laps will be refreshing. The fact that last year was sliding around, not knowing which tire was going to let go first, was definitely very frustrating. And we've had a short race. We didn't get to race very long.
So to start off practice for Goodyear with this test, we were just amazed at how different the tire feels. And you can just tell the tire itself is not turning into as much powder. It's actually got a little bit of like a chemical in it that's actually laying rubber down, it feels sticky when you're cleaning it off the race car. That's compared to normal tires.
So it's a great refreshing feeling. I don't know how many laps we did for our longest run, but we were leaving it up to others to go out and make longer runs. I feel confident that Goodyear has made a dramatic improvement.
Q. Were either one of you here for the initial test last November?
KURT BUSCH: I was.
KASEY KAHNE: I think he's been to all of them.
KURT BUSCH: I've been to every one. I mean, even from that point, I felt like Goodyear worked really hard through all these tests. But until two weeks ago, we didn't have anybody that was ready to race this race and put on a great show for the Brickyard 400. Two weeks ago they hit on it. They brought it back Monday or Tuesday.
We unloaded and ran right off the bat, and ran 30 laps total and the tires were fine. So that's pretty much the total run ask that was on Monday.
Q. Do you know who it was that ran out of gas? Actually ran out of gas?
KURT BUSCH: I do not. I ran out on Sunday (laughing) I ran outcoming to the checkered. No, I've been hearing the rumors about the tires, and it backs up what Kasey had said, the fact that there hasn't been a solid answer until the last couple of weeks. I kept hearing from this group and hearing from that group.
David Stremme our teammate was here a couple of weeks ago, and there was no answer then. So I feel much more confident now that I've been here my own self to see what's transpired.
Q. You guys come to this point to race.
KURT BUSCH: I'm actually confident even before we had tired, we'd come here the first day we'd go on track, you'd come by and have the tires rubbered on the racetrack. And by Saturday there would be enough rubber on the track, and everything was good to go. Sunday's race was perfectly fine.
Last year they never rubbered it, and it was the same at the start. I feel like this tire and with the way that the rubber's sticking on the racetrack compared to what it's done over the last year, we can come here on Thursday and probably make a 20-lap run right off the start and have no issues, which to me is better since I've been in the Cup series.
Q. Would you like to see extra testing here so that the track is rubbered in on race day?
KURT BUSCH: No, I think a normal schedule is fine. I think the track's good, the tire's are good, and we're ready. As far as I'm concerned, I think it's ready for us.
Q. How would you evaluate the course of the tire over the run? Is there any falloff?
KASEY KAHNE: There's some falloff. It depends. We haven't run a great fuel run. But in the 15-lap run yesterday, we were in a 15-lap run and we fell off. 8. We started at 51.40, or we started at 51.20, and ended up at a 52 flat, or 51.90, somewhere in there 15 laps. That wasn't the best car here, but it was probably top six or seven out of everybody here. I think we've made some gains from there. But the tires were very good
Q. Both of you, you want some falloff, don't you, over the course of a fuel run to make the racing a little?
KASEY KAHNE: I think you definitely do. I think you slow on down, you can move around on the racetrack. Every time I slow down more because it's tight, and you hurry up as the race goes on.
I think the only way you can race these cars on tracks like this is you can't falloff. To me, that creates a much better race.
KURT BUSCH: I think the way that the pace is back up, it's a challenge to get your set-up right at the beginning of the run versus the end of the run.
Is so to drop off the second over 0 laps, it feels appropriate. It's about what we normally would see even at Indy or Pocono and tracks that are similar.
Q. Why are some races like Michigan where the fuel is an issue, and the others you can race right to the end. What brings that about?
KURT BUSCH: It's basically the timing of the yellows and how far we can go on a fuel run. At Michigan, it always seems to end up that way no matter how many different types of wrecks or yellows there are in the beginning. It just seems like there's a long run at the end.
It just depends when the yellows fall. If you get a yellow halfway through the fuel run, you're going to see everybody hit pit road, whether it's for two tires or four. But you definitely need the tires over the track position at some of the tracks towards the end. So just the timing of the yellows. I don't think it's a bad thing when race fans get to watch a race, whether it's on TV or live at Michigan like last week.
The anxiety of not knowing if your driver's going to make it, and who is pacing themselves to make it or who is still running you all out to try to get to it. It's basically signing, you never know who is going to come out on top. Instead of just a flat-out 20-lap shootout where everybody's getting strung out or running full throttle, it creates a different element that should be appreciated.
Q. What is the prestige surrounding the win when you win at a place like this? You talk to guys, what is it about this place that for a lot of mid western guys makes it a big win?
KURT BUSCH: It's really just the prestige and the history. When there are banners that say 1909 is when this place was established, it makes you feel special that you're having an opportunity to race here at this racetrack, and put your name along with the legends that have raced here and won here, and the challenges of Indy.
I always try not to look at the lap times that I'm running at practice just to get a feel for the car and how it's reacting.
But you're always captivated and caught up in your lap times how you have to be the fastest guy here to win, but you don't. The fastest car sometimes doesn't win, and it comes down to strategy.
There are just all types of things that happen here that don't happen at other tracks, and you're always caught up in the moment because this is Indy.
I notice it the first lap that I pull out for practice every time is, hey, this is pretty special.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I remember my first time coming here in 2004 and just driving out on to pit road, basically to test. Then when we came back for the race, and the driver intros and the fans, and coming down the front straightaway for the start of the race, and there's people everywhere, and growing up as a kid watching the Indy 500's and all the legends and the history of that race here. Once the Brickyard started I was racing mini sprints and watched Jeff Gordon win his first one.
I remember we were racing two nights in Bellingham, Washington, and a three and a half hour drive from my house. So we had a hotel room that night, and we stayed there and watched the race on Saturdays. I watched the whole race just to see who ended up winning because it was Indy, you know. It was exciting.
And then we went and raced the mini sprint. But I think Jeff won that one. Pretty sure he won that one. Yeah. So that was pretty cool. You know, just watching this place. I about won it, and the smoke caught me a couple of years ago, so I would love to win here, it's a pretty cool place.
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