NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Hollywood Casino 400
Topics: Hollywood Casino 400
October 6, 2013
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
KRISTI KING: We welcome Kurt Busch, our second place finisher today, driver of the No.78 Furniture Row Denver Mattress Chevrolet, currently 7th in points, 47 points behind the leader. Talk about your race out there today.
KURT BUSCH: Wow, what an unbelievable drive. Kansas Speedway has been a great track over the years, and for us to finally knock off a small little check box, and to that what it means to me is a top 5. Today is a small little victory in my own mind. I don't know how much it counts for anybody else, but this is the last track that I needed to get a top 5 finish on, and now I have a top 5 at all the tracks. So a small little feather in the cap.
We battled hard to come from 41st. We did this in a backup car. It just shows the strength of this team. There's all these reports or stories and opinions about how small this team is, but Barney Visser deserves a lot of credit. We got back out on the track after our wreck in Saturday's practice at the same time that Kyle did, so it show that a team can turn a car around just as quick as the Gibbs team; that's important. Those are numbers that don't rank anywhere, but they rank in my mind. I'm just so proud of this team, the way these guys have worked all year. They deserve a win, and sorry I couldn't deliver a win for them today. Our teammate at RCR with Kevin Harvick, they won today, and congratulations to Kevin.
We finished second. We'll take it. We haven't quite had the start to the Chase that we wanted, but overall we have two top 5s out of four races. That's not bad.
Q. Talk a little bit if you can about what this team did once the green flag waved, because you all were way back in the pack, and it just seemed like you made steady progress, slow at times but steady progress to get where you got to.
KURT BUSCH: You know, the way you have to work through these treacherous races where it's cool out and the tires don't quite have the heat, you have to be patient. But at the same time restarts were where we could pass guys. I found some patterns in the way that restarts were shaping up, and I was able to apply it. With where we were, when you're stuck between 8th and 14th, it's like everybody is back there with machetes and everybody is just whacking and hacking, and once you can clear that, then it's not smooth sailing, but then you seem like you're in a little bit more of the clear.
Q. Can you kind of talk a little bit about your emotions representing‑‑ the pride you take in this one‑car team operating out of Denver and not in the heartland of NASCAR, Charlotte, yet you're leaving them, too, and going to Stewart. How do you balance that?
KURT BUSCH: It's just going out to the racetrack and smiling and having fun and working hard with these guys. You know, the way that they've been developing the team over the years, I just so happen to hit it right with them putting together Chase‑quality cars and having setups that are as fast as they are. The pit crew has had its troubles this year, but overall to have as many top 10s as we do and top 5s, there's no reason to stop once we made the Chase. We've put up statistics to run right around 4th to 7th this year, and I want to just go out as strong as I can for this group.
This might be just a David versus Goliath story, but at the same time, this Furniture Row team has put in the investment into the cars, into the people, and here we are posting top 5s. But most importantly I want to win for these guys. I want to drive our Chevrolet into victory lane by the year's end.
Q. Would you classify what happened with Jeff Gordon as just good hard racing, and also when you had kind of fallen back to about 20th did you think you were that close to coming back and finishing second?
KURT BUSCH: You know, we had a good battle with Jeff. There was a restart where he was on our outside through 1 and 2, and just didn't quite give us an inch and dumped so much air under the rear of our car where I was on banana peels sliding up onto the exit of 2, and he thought I was trying to pinch him. I was like, man, I needed an inch instead of you taking that inch. So I returned the favor by putting my nose close to his rear bumper and took away that inch instead of giving an inch and got back by him.
It was a battle. Could it have been cleaner? Yeah, but at the same time the track is so treacherous on restarts that it's hard to pass once you get strung out and everybody is running the same lap times. Everybody was getting aggressive on restarts.
Q. Kyle Busch called this speedway the worst track he's ever driven on. I don't suspect you feel the same way. What do you think about his comment?
KURT BUSCH: Well, it's his toughest track on the schedule, and so he's going to say that, plus he had a rough day. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Here he is, he's raced 30 or so races this year, he got into the Chase where he didn't last year, and then he started the Chase off strong this year and was a championship front runner.
Now it's gone, so he's going to be frustrated. You guys dog pile all you want.
Q. How confident or how worried were you considering the track conditions, the fact that you were starting in the rear to almost have to try to miss everything on the way through?
KURT BUSCH: It was tough. We started 41st, and the wreck on the first lap, there was cars and shrapnel everywhere, and just with the combination with the cold temperatures, the tires, it made it treacherous when you were around other cars. We always hope we can have more grip and be able to race side by side and have a comfort level to reproduce a show where fans want to come out and we see sellouts, and we need to put on a better show on the track. And for that to happen, we just have to have Goodyear, the drivers, the teams, the tracks on the same page. Right now we're close, but I think we swung and we missed on tire combo this weekend.
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