NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
IRWIN TOOLS NIGHT RACE
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 23, 2013
KURT BUSCH TO START ON THE FRONT ROW FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK
Six Chevrolet SS Drivers to Start in Top 15
BRISTOL, TN – August 23, 2013 – Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS, who has five career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, will start the race on the outside of the front row for the second straight week. Busch has now earned seven outside, front-row starting spots so far in 2013. He will be looking to keep his hot streak alive and stay inside the Top 10 in the point standings in the last three races leading into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kasey Kahne, who won the spring event at Bristol, will start his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS in seventh position. Kahne also needs a solid run on Saturday night to keep his grip on his Chase “Wild Card” position. Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, also very much alive in the Chase standings, and will start in eighth position on Saturday night.
Other Team Chevy members starting in the Top 15 are: Mark Martin, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS – 11th, Jimmie Johnson, No 48 Dover White Chevrolet SS – 13th, and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS – 15th.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was the pole winner, Carl Edwards (Ford) was third, Brian Vickers (Toyota) was fourth and Matt Kenseth (Toyota) was fifth, to round out the top-five.
The IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway takes the green flag on Saturday, August 24th at 7:30 p.m. ET, and will be aired live on ESPN.
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/SEALY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SECOND:
TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY:
“It was an eventful Friday for us. I got a little loose getting into (Turn) 3 and it took me all the way until Turn 4 to scrub the fence and we pancaked the right side just enough to where we had to quit practice for the last half hour and go to work on fixing the car. The hood seams were sealed and the decklid seams were sealed, but the whole right side was pancaked. You’re right on that edge. Do you fix it or do you pull out the back-up. It was so cool to just feel the energy from my guys. They all rolled their sleeves up. They all looked at the clock and said we’ve got an hour and a half to fix this to get in the tech line. And we got it in. Then we had trouble getting it through the tech line because the lasers inspect the car with a little bit more detail than what our tape measures show. And so we had to go through the tech line two or three times and got out to the grid right before it was our turn.
“I went and turned a lap and the cool part was I said I’ve got to go 95 percent. I can’t go a full 100 percent on that first lap just to feel the car and to trust the car and to trust the track. And then the second lap, once I made it through the first lap, I said all right, let’s go 100 percent. And then I backed all over the place again. So it was a very eventful day. But, thanks to my guys for working as hard as they did to give us this outside pole. We’ve been on the outside pole a half a dozen times. It’s a good accomplishment but at the same time, we’re coming up a little short for getting the pole. But these guys keep plugging away. It’s been great to go into an old school thrash like we did today and come out with an outside pole.”
THIS IS YOUR SEVENTH OUTSIDE ROW STARTING POSITION. YOU ARE IN POSITION FOR A CHASE BERTH. WHEN YOU WENT TO FURNITURE ROW THIS YEAR, DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA YOU COULD PUT TOGETHER THIS KIND OF SEASON?
“It’s been great on qualifying days. Fridays have been, I think, our strongest suit. What I mean by that, it can be defined in a few categories and that’s all the hard work at the shop the guys do with the simulator and the seven-post. So, when your first lap out is fast, it’s encouraging all weekend long. And when we switch over into qualifying trim, that speed is there again. To say that I didn’t expect it wouldn’t be the right phrase. It’s been a great work in progress that I knew we could achieve. And to have as many outside poles as we do, is a nice feather in the cap. But when you need to get through a Saturday practice session and still have that speed and then translate it into Sunday, we’ve just come up a little bit short on some of our speed. That’s maybe why we haven’t driven the Furniture Row Chevy into Victory Lane. But it’s been very satisfying on Fridays, and working through the sequence of the weekend to find that chance to go to Victory Lane, we just keep coming up a little bit short.”
“Is not winning the only thing that’s missing? Well, we’re three weeks away from the Chase. And that’s what our focus is right now and I said this about six or seven weeks ago, we don’t have to win to make this Chase. Even if we had a win right now, we would be not guaranteed a spot in the Chase. Consistency is what gets you in and consistency wins the championship. You just have to ramp it up a notch once you’re in the Chase. So right now, the blinders are on. We are full-focus on just making sure we get nice, consistent finishes.”
DO YOU TRUST WITH YOUR GUYS ALL THE TALK ABOUT WHERE YOU MAY GO NEXT YEAR TO TRY TO HELP THEM KEEP THE BLINDERS ON? AND DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS ON THE REPORTS ABOUT STEWART-HAAS RACING WOOING YOU FOR NEXT YEAR?
“Yeah, the guys know that this is the time now, and they are all shaking my hand saying thanks; and they are also saying let’s do this again next year. And I’m like yeah, heck yeah, I’m right there with you. We have to stay focused on the present as well as balance the future. And it’s a tough thing to do. And you hope you could do it behind the scenes, you know, where it’s not out in the public. But today was a great reminder of how hard you have to work in this sport. And when things go wrong, you have to have talented guys jump in and pick you up. And today we brought home the outside pole with the adversity we had to overcome.”
YOU HAD YOUR ISSUE TODAY KYLE BUSCH HAD PROBLEMS. JIMMIE JOHNSON HAD PROBLEMS IN QUALIFYING. IS THE EDGE A LITTLE BIT HARDER TO FIND AT THIS TRACK THIS WEEK FOR SOME REASON?
“If Jimmie didn’t have problems, I was just going to go oh you know those dang Busch brothers; always out there on the edge tearing cars up. Checkers are wreckers, you know. That’s the whole mentality. But it’s a joke, guys, really. My delivery was really poor (laughter). I actually asked (John) Darby if I could go out there and walk the banking in (Turns) 3 and 4 right before qualifying, just to see where the marbles had collected. We’re all right there on that high lane. And the higher you go, there’s more grip. But as soon as you put a few inches of the tire into the marbles, then your right-side is pancaked. You’re right on that edge and it’s a half-mile around. Any little mistake shows up on the stopwatch immediately.”
EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW HARD YOU DRIVE A CAR. WHEN YOU ARE A SOUGHT-AFTER DRIVER, AND THERE ARE MULTIPLE OFFERS COMING YOUR WAY, WHAT IMPACT DOES THAT HAVE ON YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THE CAR?
“You know, it’s like a checklist that you go through each time you get in the car. One of those items is to just block out the outside world and know that what is at hand right now is a qualifying run. Tomorrow is 500 laps at Bristol where I have to protect my car and make sure we don’t try to push any issues on restarts. And then to have the outside guys knocking on the door going hey we want you to drive. It’s a good confidence booster, to say the least.”
THERE IS GOING TO BE A CONTRAST BETWEEN THE GUYS THAT HAVE TO MAKE THE CHASE AND THE GUYS WHO ARE GOING OUT TO WIN. EVERYBODY WANTS TO WIN. BUT WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THE TENURE TO BE TOMORROW NIGHT?
“I’m just sitting here thinkin
g. With Bristol, as cool as this place is and the excitement level, could we move this race into the Chase so we didn’t have the guys that were on edge, that had to have a good consistent run, just to get their way into the Chase, why couldn’t this be the second race into the Chase? And then why can’t we just put dirt on this place and run here in March on dirt, you know? I think that would be awesome to put dirt on here and then every ticket was $35. That would be pretty sweet. That’s my vote for next March.”
WHAT ABOUT MARTINSVILLE?
“I can get on my soapbox again and talk. I think there should be a lottery system or there should be a wager that you have to place with NASCAR to buy a Chase date. And that the championship race, at the final race, should have to bid just like you bid on the Super Bowl. It should move around a little bit. Yeah, we can’t probably race in Chicago in November. It might be a little too cold. But there are a half-dozen tracks that I think could be a series finale, and I think they should have to bid on the tracks.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES