NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
5-HOUR ENERGY 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 9, 2014
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed racing both the Indy 500 and the Coke 600 on Memorial Day weekend, his physical fitness routine to prepare, the busy schedule, and more.
ON TALKING TO TONY STEWART ABOUT DOING THE ‘DOUBLE’
“He said you know the IndyCars have less horsepower. They have less pick-up, acceleration, and feel even though the cars weigh 1500 pounds, IndyCars don’t accelerate like stock cars do. So you have to look ahead. You have to anticipate. You have to digest what’s happening in front of you when guys get side-by-side, how quick you’re going to catch them.”
ON THE PACES FOR NEXT WEEK
“That all starts on Thursday to Friday of next week. Andretti Autosport and the way that we’re going to go through our paces next week, most of the practice runs are in race trim for the Indy 500.”
ON INDY 500 QUALIFYING
“That’s a nice gift so to speak. We still don’t want to be part of bump day or in that lower half of the field or lower third. So, to me it still is following Andretti Autosport’s lead even if we had a threat of having to qualify in, I’d be leaning on every bit of experience from them. But it will be nice not to have to worry about getting bumped out.”
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
“I would say the open arms and the feel in the paddock of the IndyCar guys and team owners and other sponsors and the drivers; it’s been an amazing welcome to our garage area.”
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF TRAINING?
“I think it’s going to be upper-body strength. On the physical side of it, my hands have been very sore after each of the practice sessions just from the death grip on the wheel. I need to relax more and just let the car come to me instead of me forcing the car. So, it’s just getting comfortable with the driver controls and knowing where everything is around me.”
HAS DANICA PATRICK BEEN HELPFUL?
“I was going to talk to Danica this weekend and I still have more race review tape to watch, so it’s like doing homework after all my practice as well.”
DID YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH ROOKIE ORIENTATION?
“Yes, it’s been a good confidence builder all through the few days I’ve been in the car. And Andretti Autosport had done a tremendous job in allowing me to roll as a rookie and to feel the comfort levels each time we go out in the car and not overstep anything that’s asked me to do too much as a newbie.”
ON LOOKING FORWARD TO THE DOUBLE
“The excitement is building up. It’s been great all this whole month. Just over the past year of putting two competitive contracts together, I have a chance to win with an Andretti Autospot car and I’ve got a chance to win the Coke 600 with a Stewaart-Haas car. At the end of the day there still is a full second half of this double. There’s a stock car race. There’s a 600-mile event where I’ll be driving the Haas-Automation Chevy and this team here that I’m with, they’re rooting me on but I still have my job to do when I show up. And there has to still be a lot of focus around the stock car side of this.”
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE GOING TO BE LIKE FOR YOU?
“We have a pretty straightforward schedule on the IndyCar side. It’s very different than our scheduled practices in stock-car-land. What’s happening on the IndyCar side is the track is hot every day from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. So I’m on call every day, 12 to 6 pm. Andretti Autosport has their sequence of schedule on when we’re going to go out on the track and that’s been given to me. And we have more time than we do tires over there on that side of the garage.
“We have our practice sessions all planned out already. So it’s neat to have a mindset to know where we’ll be and what needs to be done on both sides of the garage area. Mother Nature ultimately is in change. She is dishing out a little bit more of a percentage chance of rain early in the week. And then it’s cool conditions with very consistent conditions Friday and Saturday next week up in Indy.”
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO GETTING AROUND KANSAS?
“This place is fast and it’s a matter of getting the car setting into the corner the right way to where you don’t lose a lot of speed getting back to the gas. I see the way the test speeds have shown, we’re probably not going to be out of the gas all the way. And so we’re going to be holding a lot of throttle in the car, and hopefully the car doesn’t step out on you. With the wind direction here, that changes; looks like today we have a wind blowing towards Turn 2. That will make Turn 2 the toughest corner when you cross over into a headwind.”
ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR EFFECTS OF THIS BEING A NIGHT RACE?
“It will be just that much faster. The tires might take a little bit to come in with temperature. I see us pitting with two stops to go for tires and then that last stop will probably just be for fuel only. So we’ll have heat in the tires on that last pit stop.”
HAVE YOU LOST ANY WEIGHT SINCE YOU STARTED TRAINING?
“I’ve bulked up a little bit just with muscle mass. I’ve gained about three pounds. It’s been a noticeable slight difference.”
HAVE YOU TALKED TO JUAN PABLO MONTOYA?
“I haven’t talked to Juan. I think Juan will be a smart guy to talk to, based off of his transition from NASCAR to IndyCar just in the last six months. He was there on my rookie orientation day, but I was in the car and all the drivers were outside telling jokes. It was a great group that was there to support me for my rookie orientation.”
WHAT MAKES IT A SUCCESSFUL ‘DOUBLE’? FINISHING BOTH RACES, WINNING ONE OF THEN, OR WHAT?
“I think finishing both races. That’s just a quick honest answer. I’d love to finish in the top half of the field at Indy. I’d love to stay out of trouble all day and just experience it all. But once this week gets further down the road, I think with just the comfort level that I will gain, I’ll want more. But right now, it’s a matter of just finishing both races. Eleven hundred miles is tough to do.”
WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONS AND THIS GETS CLOSER?
“Each day I wake up it’s like its now, it’s here, and I’m giving it my best. And right now I have a couple hours of NASCAR practice on this Friday to dial our car in for race trim and qualifying trim, and then we’ll probably go back to race trim to finish. It’s just me going into that compartmentalized component of what has to happen every session or every time I’m in the car.”
ON GETTING BACK AND FORTH, INDIANAPOLIS TO CONCORD
“Cessna has been phenomenal. They orchestrate all the logistics to fly me back and forth. The team here, Stewart-Haas has been through this before, and the Andretti Autosport guys know that my day job at the end of the day is the Coke 600. So it’s been fun. The balance of both race teams, the practice sessions, learning a new IndyCar and then still coming back here to my comfort zone, which is the NASCAR garage and driving the No. 41 car.”
“It’s a matter of still just pacing myself. The 600, you don’t as a driver get too excited about that the sunshine’s out anyway. It will be the first 100 -200 miles that we just have to log laps with anyway. And at the end of the day I’ve got Monster Energy to help me out. If I need to get jacked-up, I’ll just chug a can. And we’ll do this. It’s been a lot of fun to push myself through training, to work some marshal arts thought processes as well. I hope that the IndyCar thing goes smoothly. I don’t need to be in a wreck or have my laps cut short up in Indy because it would be a disappointment in all the effort and training that I’ve given it.”
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL WORKOUT ROUTINE?
rmal workout would be strength training with lifting weights, getting on the treadmill, and then running a half hour. Half of that half hour might have been a strong walk to a strong run. I’m running to the gym, so it’s a mile and a half there and a mile and a half back. When I’m there, we keep my heart rate up above 140 and I track that with my Basis watch, which has allowed me to download my workouts and to see the actual results. And to have information downloaded on graphs is neat to be able to see that. Running, the amount of time engaged with my heart rate elevated, learning more about nutrition and having the foods that I eat release the energy into my body in the right way. It’s just been a lot of fun to get into more depth in all areas. And I feel like that’s going to help me, being 35 years old here in the Cup garage, with another strong ten years. Ramping up this format is going to carry and prolong my activity level here in the Cup garage.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES