NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400
Topics: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400
June 13, 2010
KERRY THARP: Kasey, thank you so much. Good run today. Good luck next week at Infineon.
At this time we'll call up Kurt Busch. Kurt finishes third today in the No. 2 Miller Lite Vortex Dodge for Penske Racing. Kurt, another solid run for this race team.
KURT BUSCH: It was an exceptional day for our team, to be able to have the captain on top of the spotter's tower, out there up front early on, I felt like we had a special day brewing for us. To sit on the pole, lead a lot of laps with our Miller Lite Vortex Dodge, we felt like we had things going our way.
As the race progressed, the track rubbered in. It wasn't that we didn't keep up with adjustments. I thought we had a good handle on the car. Other guys got better than us. In Sprint Cup racing, if you're off just a little bit, somebody is going to jump on top of you, get by you, pass you, make you feel like you belong up there.
Great day for us. Denny Hamlin deserves all the credit. He put on a good show. That team has been dominant. They are showing their strength.
Then to race Kasey Kahne, he is in a Ford. The winner was a Toyota. We were in a Dodge. The guy that finished behind me was in a Chevrolet. It's a dream that you could ask for when you come to Michigan is to see all the manufacturers have the success they had today. Of course, I was pulling for Dodge, trying to get our Dodge into Victory Lane. Just came up a bit short.
All in all, man, this was a great day for us points-wise. What we found out on the track today will hopefully help us at some of the ovals later on.
KERRY THARP: Questions.
Q. Kurt, you put on a great show, have done exceptionally well this season. Now Hamlin has won five spoiler races. That's enough of a number. When you go into the Chase, he'll have the bonus points. How do you stop that or combat that or catch up?
KURT BUSCH: Those guys have all the top ingredients, it seems like. When you're a chef and somebody gets a better looking steak than you, it's going to taste better. Those Gibbs guys are doing it right now with their horsepower, their aerodynamics. They've sorted out the spoiler it seems like.
I wouldn't say we're very far behind in any of the categories, it's just that balance that you find. It's that little itty bit of speed that translates into a 10th of a second. Those guys have definitely found it.
I mean, Gibbs is running strong. Jeff Gordon said out there today that Hendrick is not the top team. It's like, Come on, Jeff, it's going to be all right, buddy, you finished fourth. Right now everybody is in this game. Nobody is going to separate themselves anytime soon. I see the competition right now the most equal it's been in years.
Q. You have been great on intermediate tracks. Every time you get momentum going, you've stumbled, either a Martinsville, Richmond. Now you're going to Sonoma, which you've qualified very well there but haven't been able to put together the positions. Is this just a matter of trying to keep consistency all the way through?
KURT BUSCH: We've got to find some more consistency, you're right. There's a couple tracks coming up in the summer months that we're looking at. Then there's some we feel very comfortable going into. It's been an interesting year for us. Tracks that I've struggled on in the past we've done really well; tracks that we've expected to do well on we've struggled.
So I just feel like once we turn the corner on finding a consistent setup for us week in and week out, then we'll be stronger. Right now with the variety of racetracks coming up, we're going to see the different strengths of all the teams coming up here because we got a road course, a flat one-mile oval, Daytona, superspeedway, restrictor plate race, then a mile-and-a-half like Chicago, then we have a week off. That's the chunk of the schedule I'm looking at next. Variety of tracks coming up are going to show some of the strengths of the teams.
Q. Kasey a moment ago said they did everything right today, didn't make a mistake, the car was better than it's been, yet they weren't even close as far as catching the 11. Was there a point today when you just said, Nobody's going to touch that 11, they were just that good?
KURT BUSCH: I mean, there was a couple battles we had on restarts I was able to squeak out in front. He was able to pull up ahead on some of the other ones.
If you feel like you're in your racecar and you're missing just a little bit, somebody is going to go blowing by you. Denny Hamlin had that today. There's times when I've had a perfect car like I did at the Coca-Cola 600 and we were able to bring it on home, somebody like McMurray that finished second could say like Kahne did today: He did everything right, but things didn't fall his way.
If everybody had an A out there, the 11 car has an A plus. We'll see what we can do. It's a strong race they've had today. They've had consistency throughout this year. But it's just a matter of if you've got your car perfect, you can pull into Victory Lane and beat anybody out here.
Q. It seems like the No. 2 team is this close to really turning the corner and running up front consistently like this on a weekly basis. Do you feel if there were more Dodge teams in the Sprint Cup Series that that would help speed up that transition?
KURT BUSCH: Yeah, it's hard to know that answer. I feel like the relationship we have with Dodge at Penske Racing is a general family oriented relationship where we're definitely in this together.
All their eggs are in one basket with us at Penske Racing. I feel like sometimes, yeah, I'm out on an island on my own. In the end, we were very close to winning the race today. If we would have brought home a banner win in Michigan in Dodge's backyard, we might be answering a few other different questions. Right now we're in the mix.
If I could get my teammates up to speed and to have a little bit more of a pattern going through the whole program, then, yeah, I mean, it would feel like a power team. We wouldn't need other Dodge teams out there.
We're close, we're very close. I'm proud to carry the banner right now.
Q. You were talking about the schedule upcoming, the different tracks. What does today do you feel shows in the sense there's only a few more intermediate type tracks for the Chase, Chicago, Michigan, Atlanta? Not too many opportunities to get things fixed or perfected. How do you move forward based off today?
KURT BUSCH: There's that bonus point situation where you win, you bring those into the Chase. For us, we feel comfortable right now with our points situation. But we still want to have some consistent runs to back up any mistakes that could pop up, whether it's missing the setup, getting caught up in a wreck. These next few weeks, the variety of racetracks, we have to continue to explore new ideas. I think that always makes you stronger when you're knocking more things off your checklist.
But the most important race coming up is Loudon, New Hampshire, that's in two weeks. That will be the first race in the Chase. That's how you get off to a good start in the Chase. Then there's those bulk of mile-and-a-half's that are in the Chase. Chicago tells you a little bit. Atlanta is what Atlanta is because it chews up tires so bad. For us, we have to look at Dover, see what we can do to be better there. Martinsville has always been a struggle for me. When we go to Talladega in the Chase.
The summer run right now, it's important to continue on with good, solid finishes. It's also important when you have a car to win, like what we had today, to be able to pull that thing into Victory Lane and get those 10 bonus points.
Q. Can you also talk about how challenging it is to maintain that strength. We're three months away from the Chase. Just because they're good today, doesn't mean they're going to be as dominant in three months.
KURT BUSCH: Absolutely. Things change so fast in this sport. You can be onto something like I think we are with this Miller Lite team. In three months when the Chase starts, we could be scratching our heads, Where did our speed go? This next stretch, it's a lot of fun, the variety of races, the action that happens out on the track, some guys are going to start feeling the pressure of not being comfortable in the Chase, then there's going to be those guys pushing hard to get those wins, like the 11, the 48, the 29, the 2, the 17, the 24. Those guys that are in the top six, seven in the Chase, they're going to be pushing for wins to bring in those bonus points.
Q. You've won a pole at Sonoma. You have two top fives there. Have you tested at all in the last couple weeks? What does your car look like for next week?
KURT BUSCH: It's amazing how much effort we put into road course racing, yet we only go there twice a year. I feel like at Penske we have a very strong car. It's advanced itself since last year with carrying more right-side weight, weight lower in the racecar. The general test sessions we've done, we've done two at VIR. Working with Addington, he's won at Sonoma with Kyle. I feel a whole different type of setup in the car. I'm anxious to get out there, see how it shakes down.
We've had good qualifying cars in the pass at Penske. In the race, seemed to lack a little bit of that forward bite, that grip coming off the corners, which is important at Sonoma. We have all that horsepower. We have to stay out there so long on the last tank of gas, that's where the key to the race is, is maintaining that grip, staying out there as long as you can on a tank of gas.
KERRY THARP: Kurt, thank you very much. Continued luck next week at Infineon.
KURT BUSCH: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
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