Kurt Busch Open Interview — Las Vegas

Kobalt Tools 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Kurt Busch Open Interview NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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American Muscle

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ultra Dodge Charger R/T) TALK ABOUT RACING AGAINST YOUR BROTHER IN THE BULL RING GROWING UP HERE IN LAS VEGAS? “It was just unique because we’re seven years apart. When I was out running Late Models or Southwest Tour cars, Kyle was just starting out in Legend cars. So I had somewhat mastered Legend cars; we won almost every time that we jumped in them. We traveled around quite a bit. To come back to Vegas on the weekend when I wasn’t racing because I was away at college, Kyle and I would race. Kyle was racing for a point’s championship and Dad would say sometimes say, ‘Hey, let Kyle win tonight.’ I was like, ‘No, he’s my little brother. I’m supposed to beat him every time.’ It was just a fun atmosphere to race each other, race competitive…to be out there as brothers…because I did it with my Dad for years. For him to come up through the Legends and into some of my old Late Models, it feels like it opened some doors from him through the years. We never raced each other all that much. There might have been two dozen total times. We use to race quite often. We use to race 60 times a year and for us only to race around 24 times (against each other), that’s just because of our age difference.”

DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY ON-TRACK INCIDENTS WITH KYLE? “We may have run into each other. We’d race each other hard door-to-door and put door dings in each other. When I got the call to go Truck racing, Kyle was jumping into his Late Model racing. So it was tough to race against each other that much unless it was in Dad’s cars. When we raced Dad’s cars, we didn’t wreck Dad’s cars.”

TALK ABOUT YOUR NHRA PRO STOCK CAR? “It’s always been about cars, no matter what style of car. I remember as a kid before Kyle was born, we’d go on street car runs down on Lake Havasu, out to LA to the beaches. It’s just what we did as a family. It was always cars, whether it was street rods, street stocks, late models, dwarf cars; anything with four tires on it, we’ve always been involved. It was cool when I was a kid, we went to George Marnell. He was a masonry guy here in town and a Pro Stock racer. We were selling tools to a professional team out of my dad’s tool truck business. That’s where I got my taste for it and I felt like maybe one day I could get to that point, try it out. This is just something to challenge myself to another discipline of motorsports. It’s four rubber tires and a race track, but it’s night and day difference on how you have to be prepared for a drag race versus a NASCAR event.”

TALK ABOUT THE CHANGES THAT YOU’VE SEEN WITH PENSKE ONLY HAVING TWO CUP TEAMS? “We’ve worked a lot on our budget program in the off-season. We’ve actually been able to find more key personal to bring to the race track each week as well as cutting out some of the budget. It’s been an interesting balance to watch the upper management work things through. I feel like at the race track we’re a stronger team because there’s more guys to bounce ideas off of that are directly related in our hauler after practice. There’s just more guys to filter through information and that’s helped us. With (Brad) Keselowski conquering the Nationwide program, I really think that his Cup focus is amped up and I’m excited to see what it brings to the season; the 2 car and 22 really working together and that much more in-synch.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK A BUSCH BROTHER POINT’S BATTLE WOULD MEAN FOR NASCAR? DOES IT BUG YOU THAT KYLE HAS A WIN AT LAS VEGAS AND YOU DON’T? “I think it would be great to battle each other. Every time there’s a Chase that we’re involved with together it’s seems to draw more attention around our programs. If we could do this, a season-long battle, it would bring more attention to NASCAR. What two brothers are doing out there on the track, the same background, but two different programs. Gibbs and Penske, to me it’s exciting. It’s special because the two of us respect each other a lot. We want to race each other as clean as we can. We know that we want to beat each other at the end of the day. You see the Williams’ sisters in tennis. You see every now and then the Peyton’s play each other. There’s all that extra attention and hype that’s around it. As far as I’m concerned, the bigger brother always wins because he always knows more. It’s fun to have that relationship. We’re always going to be in that situation. The more that we can be out on the track together, it will be better for our sport.

“The fact that he’s won here before stings a bit. I’ve been on the pole, he’s been on pole here. It’s Vegas. It’s one of the top-five marquee events of the year; the Daytona’s, Indy, Charlotte’s, I think Vegas ranks right up there with a lot of guys. Him winning here was great for our family and all the friends that have supported us over the years. I just want to be able to do it as well.”

IF YOU WERE TO LEAVE HERE AS THE RACE WINNER OR ANOTHER GOOD PERFORMACE, WOULD YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD WITH THE SEASON MOVING FORWARD? “Yeah, this track here will give you a better gauge on how your program is for the full season. You’ve got to get through the bumps that we’ve been struggling with in Turn 1 and 2. You also have to have a car that doesn’t burn off the front tires which we might struggle with on Sunday. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us on what we can do to improve our car. Hopefully, we leave here with a solid finish knowing that we’ve accomplished something special. It’s only three races in. There’s still a long way to go. I always look at the season as the first seven to nine races on where you rank; after that point in the season is how you’re going to settle in for the long summer runs.”

HAVE YOU GIVEN YOUR BROTHER A LOT OF ADVICE OVER THE YEARS? “We’ve talked about all sorts of racing and things on and off the track. I can’t say it’s been one more than the other. When I see something or he sees something, we’ll point it out to each other. We never really share common numbers in our race cars. That’s something that we’ve always stayed away from as far as sway bar size or springs. We’ve always tried to keep the integrity of our teams and what we’re doing a secret, but point out advice to one another with track lines on the race tracks or how to handle this type of question from media or how to handle sponsors. We’ve always bounced ideas off each other for our respective programs.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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