chevy racing–nascar–charlotte roval–kurt busch

KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference and discussed the weather and challenges of today’s race at the Charlotte ROVAL, upcoming races at Kansas, Texas, and Martinsville, mentoring his future teammate, Ross Chastain, and more. Full Transcript:
IF YOU’RE GOING TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP, IT WILL BE YOUR SECOND TITLE, 16 YEARS APART. IF YOU EMERGE WITH THIS, IS IT YOUR BEST CASE FOR THE HALL OF FAME?“I feel like you’re going to have to win out in this Round of 8 and the championship race in Phoenix. This group, the elite eight, that will make it, are the best of the best; and can win each and every week. And so, with Kansas not being one of my best tracks, but it is a 1.5-mile, where we have won twice at Chip Ganassi Racing. Texas is a 1.5-mile that we’ve been very good at. And Martinsville has been a nice surprise since I switched to Ganassi. I’ve been running much better with the balance of the car that they have there. And then with Phoenix, if we can get there, that would be huge. It would give me an opportunity to win the championship for Chip Ganassi Racing, my second title. Those things and Hall of Fame talk will all handle itself after my racing career is done. I just keep plugging away and adapting. I’ve got a great sponsor with Monster Energy to help.
YOU HAVE NOT WON AT KANSAS. HOW CAN YOU PULL THIS OFF?“It’s been a tough track for me. I’ve got a couple of second place finishes, I believe. And one of them was a set-up that (Kevin) Harvick happily agreed (laughs) to run when we were running with Furniture Row. We were at RCR together. And, that’s what it takes. It takes that comradery and balance of teamwork and also pushing the envelope. Kansas is one of those very aero-dependent tracks. And so, you’ve got to be on top of your game with the aero side of it to win there.”
LOOKING AT THE CONDITIONS TODAY, THERE’S GOING TO BE A LOT OF RAIN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND AT WHAT POINT DO YOU SAY WE CAN’T KEEP DOING THIS AND WE NEED TO STOP?“We had the Daytona Road Course a month or so ago and I didn’t even send my motor home down there as far as pre-race or normal sequence, because I’m like, we have rain tires. We’re going to race. And so today, yeah, this is a little bit different with battling remnants of a hurricane. And if it’s consistent light rain, we’re good to go. If we have our downpours, we’re going to have to red flag the race. I think NASCAR learned a lot watching the Xfinity guys and calling that race. It’s still, again, whatever it takes to adapt and to be there to win. That’s what I’m doing today. I’m ready to race no matter if we’re hydroplaning or if the sun comes out and we’ve got to switch to the dry (tires). You’ve got to be ready for any condition change.”
HOW MUCH IS YOUR MINDSET IMPACTED BY THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO BE IN THE ROUND OF 8 REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS TODAY?“Yeah, I’m on easy street. Me and Denny (Hamlin) might be the happiest guys to talk to. Harvick is probably pretty good in points. This race was positioned on the calendar for this reason; to be a cutoff and to create all the anxiety and all of this stress. And so that’s what that win at Vegas did for us at Chip Ganassi Racing is that it gave us an ease of operation today; and hopefully that loose, fluid feel will stay with us and we’ll make the right calls to win this.”
YOU SEEM TO BE A PRETTY HAPPY GUY RIGHT NOW. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE KURT BUSCH AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR LIFE?“Just racing with Chip Ganassi Racing and a great sponsor with Monster Energy and a manufacturer with Chevrolet, and the teamwork. The team comradery is a different element for me now. I love to teach young engineers and young crew members how to evolve in this sport and to do it at a championship level. And so just being older and wiser, and still having that passion and that drive to adapt to the new technology and the new ways of winning, that’s something that my father instilled in me, that work ethic, from a young age. And with my wife, Ashley, she loves sport. She’s an athlete herself. And her support and her love has been a new direction for me these last five years.”
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MENTORSHIP YOU’LL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE TO ROSS CHASTAIN, YOUR NEW TEAMMATE NEXT SEASON?“Yeah, that will be a big part of how this season concludes and how the off-season progresses, and preparations for next year. Ross Chastain is a good kid. He’s worked hard. And he’s gone through some setbacks and he continues to persevere. And he’s put himself in position for a top tier ride at the NASCAR level. So, I feel like it’s a perfect fit to help mentor him, and to coach him, and to give to a driver that I think will have a long career in this sport.”
YOU MENTIONED WHAT NASCAR LEARNED FROM THE XFINITY RACE LAST NIGHT. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT AND WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?“This track, even when it’s dry, is like a bull in a china shop. It’s a big heavy stock car with all this horsepower and there are tons of braking zones and tons of turning in and trying to accelerate. And the tires will only handle so much. Sprinkle in the rain, with the rain tires with having hardly any data at all; and then watching the race, you know how there were these slick areas of the track. There was water standing in certain spots that you have to avoid; the treachery of the oval section, it looked like. And our cars have way more horsepower than the Xfinity cars. We have the possibility of looping it on the oval if we’re not careful. Today will be one of the most historic days of NASCAR, with racing these big, heavy cars on a road course; and this isn’t just a normal road course. This is a ROVAL. So, there are lots of things to watch out for and hopefully we protect our car to put it in position to win it.”
WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE HARDEST PART ABOUT TODAY’S RACE?“I think the toughest part will be visibility. Our cars generate a lot of heat. And the windshields are prepped as best as they can be, but this is our first time. And throughout Chip Ganassi Racing, we’ve relied heavily on the IndyCar guys to help us. Common sense is the key, as well. But then there are so many areas that these cars aren’t sealed off and I think visibility will be tough with the windshield wiper and the mist and the rooster tail from the other cars; and just how the water gathers in certain spots at this track. And also, the radar. The radar looks relentless right now. It’s not giving up. And so, we’ll see how that plays out.”

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