NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Federated Auto Parts 400
Topics: Federated Auto Parts 400
September 7, 2013
KERRY THARP: We have a special treat right now. Kurt Busch makes the Chase. He'll be going for his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Kurt, before the seeding would have been in eighth position. After the seeding, he goes to 10th. Kurt, congratulations. He's joined by Joe Garone and owner Barney Visser. Single‑car race team. Terrific accomplishment. I think it's a cool deal.
Kurt, your thoughts about making the Chase?
KURT BUSCH: Well, how about them apples? Unbelievable. The way this team has grown, what we've been able to accomplish, it's an amazing feeling. We achieved something very special tonight. Barney Visser and his dream of a NASCAR Sprint Cup team, to be a competitive team, he deserves all the credit.
Joe Garone, the general manager, all the people that he's aligned to help build this team. Then there's guys like Todd Berrier that are veterans of the garage that make big differences in small places like this. Everybody at the Furniture Row shop back in Colorado, it was a dream, now it's a reality.
It's an amazing feeling to sit here at Richmond after such a long journey for myself, but to be able to deliver, to do my part along with these guys. I can't thank them enough. Very proud to have driven the No.78 Furniture Row Chevy into the Chase this year.
KERRY THARP: Barney, your thoughts?
BARNEY VISSER: I want to thank Joe Garone, who we built the team around eight years ago. He's collected all these people. Everybody has just been putting in a lot of hours this year. I think the road crew put in several hundred‑hour weeks testing. It's all kind of paid off here, I think. Kurt expressed it really well, how we feel about everything.
But thank you, Joe, and thanks to the team. I mean, a lot of time, a lot of effort. It's been real good.
KERRY THARP: Joe, your thoughts about making the Chase. Great accomplishment.
JOE GARONE: It is a great accomplishment. I have to go back and say at the beginning of the year as the team has grown, you start setting goals, again coming to Barney, after Kurt coming onboard, being able to bring Todd Berrier, some of the guys we've had come onboard at the shop, Barney making the comments, I expect to make the Chase.
When you're out in Colorado, you've gone through what we've gone through, you realize just how difficult of an accomplishment that is, to have a leader that's got that kind of vision, we all just fell in right behind him.
I don't know that we had that vision. Maybe Kurt did with his experience, but we all filed in right behind Barney and his lead there. Dream comes true today.
KERRY THARP: Questions, please.
Q. Barney, we've seen a lot of single‑car owners come and go over the years. To have Kurt, to be able to accomplish this, what kind of a dream come true is it for you?
BARNEY VISSER: Well, I don't know that it's a dream come true as much as I'm kind of in awe of Kurt and Joe, the whole team, what these guys have been able to do.
Like I said, it's been a lot of hard work. They put in a lot of hours. It's much appreciated here.
Q. Kurt, you were sort of safely into the top 10 pretty much all night, not by a great margin, but by a little bit. Were people telling you, We're 12 points in, we're 8 in? Did you have any idea how safe you were within the top 10?
KURT BUSCH: When the race started and the 24 was fast and dominant, that's when I knew we had our work cut out for us. If he was going to win tonight, we had to finish second, not knowing what was going to happen with Biffle and Logano.
As the race progressed, I didn't see the 24 as often. I was able to relax a little bit. But still, the nerves and the feelings, the emotions were all there of making sure that I hit my marks, making sure I didn't slip any tires, try to protect the car, stay out of trouble.
Any time that I did ask, I was just doing it just for conversation's sake. I needed to break up my rhythm, my intense white knuckles just to say something. They'd go, Yeah, you're fine, keep digging. It was more of a verification and a check, then just get back into work and focus on making my lap times.
Q. Obviously your alliance this season with RCR has helped a lot. How much of a role do you think it will help you in the last 10 races?
KURT BUSCH: I think it will still be business as usual. We have a great group of crew chiefs on the other side there at RCR. Gil Martin, the way he's helped us and Harvick, those guys stand out in my mind. We all know what Harvick's future is and my future is.
Then we look at the 27 car, the help they've given us this year. I would say that should continue.
Then you have Luke Lambert in the 31 car. They've always been helpful. I would say it's going to be business as usual. We'll expect to be there to do our part, to help the 29. Right now it's the 29 and the 78 coming out of that situation.
But overall, very happy for our guys, everybody that works in Colorado. It's an amazing group of guys. They're at the race shop at 5 a.m. every day. The way that our logistical situation is, you have to stay ahead of the game, about 10 days ahead. Todd Berrier does an amazing job of balancing that.
Garone is the one that's helped allow us to operate like a big‑time team in the state of Colorado.
JOE GARONE: Yeah, I think Kurt said a lot there about the same things that I would say. What I would add is the partnership that we have with RCR, when we first started, Richard was very supportive, really to the point of saying, I'm not going to do this unless we do it all in and really support you guys.
Whenever we've needed it, on projects when we're working back and forth, they've always been right there with us. We look forward to growing that as we move forward here.
Q. Kurt, you won a championship in 2004. That's obviously considered the pinnacle of anyone's career. With a decade of racing between then and now, is this something that you can really appreciate and savor for how difficult it was?
KURT BUSCH: Yeah, you're right. I took some of the performance levels of Roush Racing for granted, then expected the same thing at Penske. It was a tougher road there.
But we made the Chase in a fashion to where it was supposed to be a given. When you didn't make it, it was a devastating feeling.
Now to be back after missing it last year, the work that it takes, the commitment, the things that you just can't expect to happen, not necessarily with the odds stacked against you, but you have to dig in deep and you have to find something from within. Barney has been a great shepherd for me and this whole team.
It's something special we achieved tonight, to put a single car into the Chase. We have our friends, other drivers. But yet it's every man for themselves out there. We have some muscle left in us. We have a great 10 weeks ahead of us. We have a test session we've saved. I think we can make a run through this Chase. We just have to do the same thing we did tonight: keep plugging away, let everybody else worry about what has to happen and we'll keep doing what we're doing out in Colorado because nobody can look over our shoulder.
Q. Your first pit stop on pit road under yellow didn't go the way that you wanted it to, but they got better as the night went on. Talk about the way the pit crew stepped up and rose to the occasion. Also, do you think the 99's final restart was okay?
KURT BUSCH: I feel like the pit crew did their job. We needed them to hold serve tonight. We lost a few sets or maybe a breakpoint. We went in leading once, came out seventh. That's not acceptable. We came in third one time, came out first. I was happy for them, and they felt it. They knew what they did.
Overall I think we did what we could on pit road tonight. Can we get better? Yes.
The way the restart went, I couldn't tell you if he went early, he went late. I was on the outside just trying to protect my car and not get hit from behind. Then if I could have been more aggressive instead of on the defensive, maybe I would have had a shot to win.
I didn't care if Carl went a hundred yards too early, I was just going to go when I saw bumpers moving.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations to Kurt, Barney and Joe.
Q. After all you've been through the last couple years it's my pleasure to be among the first to welcome you back to the Chase. What does this mean to you?
KURT BUSCH: Thanks. It's been a journey. It's been a great ride of trying to persevere and going up against the odds when certain things are against you that are out of your control and sometimes you induce things that put you in a position where you have to dig hard and keep working. This shows to people that when you can just pull through and believe in yourself and find good people like Patricia and little Houston, he said he wanted to go to victory lane this summer and I didn't get him to victory lane yet, but we're going to celebrate on the Chase stage. I'm getting all emotional about the eight year old hanging out with me.
But to make the Chase with these guys is an unbelievable feeling. It's been an 18‑month work in progress, and I've been through a lot, and I've learned a lot, and I feel like I'm better ready for the Chase and life in general as a 35 year old.
I've got a little one that's in a go‑kart looking up to me now. Just these guys, it's an unbelievable feeling; Barney Visser started this in Colorado years ago, and here we are in the Chase. You get a guy like Todd Berrier that comes in and helps arrange things, starts cutting weight out of cars and knows his way around the garage, he's a veteran leader, and I've always loved veterans and car guys. Todd Berrier reminds me a lot of Jimmy Fennig, who's a guy that helped me win a championship years ago. We've got some muscle in us. We haven't won a race yet this year, but we're in the Chase, and we've got a good 10 weeks ahead of us where we can do some good things.
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