Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – NSCS Race Final – Infineon

Sunday, June 26, 2011

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dodge Post-Race Quotes

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KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 1ST “It was an unbelievable setup.  Once we got into the groove with this car, it seemed to get better after lap five or six. Our cars have never done that before.  I’m real proud of this Dodge team, everybody from Shell and Pennzoil.  If that doesn’t inspire you to go get a SRT8 Dodge Charger, I don’t know what will.  That was an awesome handling Dodge.  I’m so proud of these guys for really stepping up after what we’ve been through.  Man, we’ve been on a high these last few weeks.”

SOME DIDN’T THINK YOU COULD DO IT WITH A TWO-STOP STRATEGY?  “We just had to conserve our rear tires.  That was the main thought.  Once we had enough fuel to make it, I started to pick up my pace.  I didn’t want guys to think they had a shot at us and I was able to stretch it out.”

“It was an unbelievable day.  The one thing I have been pushing hard for all year is when we win with this Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, 22-cents-a-gallon off for everybody that has the Shell Saver Card on Wednesday.  So you’ve got to get a Shell Saver Card by Wednesday and save 22-cents a gallon.  That’s awesome.  So thank you Dodge, Sprint, Coca-Cola, you guys have been great, AAA, Lenox, Discount Tires, Snap-On Tools, a whole group of guys that help us out.”

IT WAS A TOTAL TEAM EFFORT TODAY.  “This was an awesome Dodge Charger.  My guys really stepped it up.  Thanks to my crew, the guys at the shop building the cars and the guys testing for us.  We logged a lot of miles in testing.  It feels great to bring it home and put our Dodge on top.”

YOU GOT THE ROAD COURSE WIN TODAY; CAN YOU GET THAT RESTRICTOR-PLATE WIN AT DAYTONA NEXT WEEK?  “That’s been big on my list over the years.  I really want to get one of those plate wins.  We had a good Speedweeks at Daytona, now I want to go there and get the big July 4th win.  Thanks to the fans, this was an awesome ride today.  That backward lap brought tears to me; I was all choked up because that’s something cool that deserves to be done.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE WIN?  “It’s awesome to have that insurance package. We got a win, but we still need to run hard and we’ve been doing that of late with our fast Penske Dodge.”

BUSCH:  CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DOMINANT WIN TODAY?  “It was one of those unbelievable days where having a game plan going in – we weren’t questioning it – and it was just old school on how we were going to make it on two stops.  With the pace dropping off like we saw in practice, it was going to take one of those perfect efforts to make sure that we maintained out lap time throughout the run to be able to make it on the stops and not be worry about tires as well as the fuel strategy side of it.  It was great calculations by the guys. Saving fuel is one thing, but having Shell on the hood is another.  When you have those good omens, it’s great to put together a solid effort in the pits, in the strategy department and out on the race track as well. The car drove itself and I have all my guys to thank.  Anybody who watched the race today, hopefully they’re inspired by what they saw out of a Dodge Charger to go to the showroom floor and check their SR/T 8 models.”

BUSCH: DID YOU GUYS HAVE A PIT STRATEGY NUMBER OR DID IT JUST PLAY OUT IN THE EARLY PART OF THE RACE?  “We had a goal and our fuel strategy from practice gave us the calculations we needed; it showed that we could make it on two stops.  A lot of guys said that they couldn’t make it on two stops, so we knew that there were going to be teams pitting on about lap 10, lap 15 to get those fresher tires.  So my thought inside the car was to continue to push this car hard and run a lap time that won’t allow those guys with fresh tires to chop off and be able to catch us.  It was just one of those feeling.  The crew was helping me, I was helping them and the race played out perfectly for us.”

BUSCH: WERE THE REASONS YOU SAID ON FRIDAY ON WHAT YOU NEEDED TO WIN THE SAME TODAY?  “You going to give me a hint on what I said? (laughs).  It’s a combination of having the right strategy of course and having that forward drive coming off the corner.  I think, usually, my thought process is to protect the race car, not get into those big fender rubs or not get into the side of peoples doors and get damage.  Ultimately, you have to protect the race car and have that speed and of course, have the right strategy.  My crew gave me that today.”

BUSCH: AFTER LAST YEAR’S FINISH AND JEFF GORDON NOT APOLOGIZING, IS WINNING THE BEST REVENGE?  “Yeah, and to see that he finished second.  It was a definite boost at the end of the end day to see him come home second and to come out on top.  To win a road course race and to beat him, he’s one of the best and he always will be.  To get a road course win, it’s a big check mark off my list.  It’s something that I’ve been working hard at over the years.  Just like with the restrictor plates, I’ve struggled to win and close out one of those.  It’s just really neat to bring home that “W” and most of all, to have that insurance package now.  We have that win heading toward the Chase.  And now, we bumped up to fourth in points, but again, it’s a great day for our sponsors.  For Shell and Pennzoil and for Dodge, it was a great day.  The cool thing is that if you have a Shell Saver Card, you can save 22-cents-a-gallon on gas on Wednesday.  So everyone has to go fill their tanks up on Wednesday at the Shell station.”

BUSCH: WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CAR TODAY?  “I think the best thing about the car was just that it would allow me to do everything at an “A” level.  There are times when you can be A-plus on forward drive-off or gear ratios for saving mileage, and then you would have to sacrifice on overall speed.  And then you have the turns – turn right or turn left.  My car gave me the ability in all areas to do that very well.”

STEVE ADDINGTON (crew chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY TODAY?  “We stuck to it.  We had a game plan and Kurt said that he was going to get a couple positions there at the start.  To gain a couple of positions, I was thinking, alright, we’re starting 11th and we’ll get to seventh, eighth.  We drove by them and took the lead.  That made it easier on me and my guys to make the decision to go to our lap.  We felt like we had the speed in the car to go to our lap and it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing.  We were paying attention to what was going on, but we didn’t vary from what we had planned,  That has worked out the best for me at road course races – hit those laps that we had planned.”

BUSCH: YOU GAVE YOUR TEAM A GRADE OF B-PLUS ON FRIDAY; WHAT WOULD YOU GRADE YOUR TEAM AFTER TODAY’S PEFORMANCE?  “We’ve been on a great run these last few weeks.  To bring it on home and get a “W”, yeah, there’s that insurance with the win.  We bumped up in points.  It’s a matter of just continuing each week to get better.  This is a stretch of our season where we hit a road course, a superspeedway, a mile-and-a-half; we’re all over the map.  And then, we go to a flat, one-mile track at New Hampshire, which is part of the Chase.  So these next few weeks, you have to show your versatility if you want to be a front-runner toward the Chase.”

BUSCH: DID YOU NOTICE ANY OF THE CHAOS AROUND YOU?  WHAT DID YOU THINK OF TONY STEWART’S INCIDENT?  “It’s funny.  I only get to see out my front windshield and that’s the only view that I get as a racer.  You get to see replays every now and a then with the Sprint Vision, but I didn’t get to see much of what was going on.  I’ve been a part of that chaos in the back over the years.  I’ve been hit by guys running fourth or fifth and it gives you a flat tire and you end up coming home 32nd.  To have a car like we did today, I had to protect it and I had to bring it on home for a good point’s day.  I wanted to get that revenge of a win over those guys.  To beat Jeff Gordon on a day like today, it’s that much sweeter.”

BUSCH: YOU TOOK BRAD (KESELOWSKI) AROUND THE TRACK ON FRIDAY. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LEVEL OF TEAMMWORK THAT YOU HAVE WITH THE 2 TEAM?  “It’s a good feeling to know that the two teams are working together as well as they ever have, knowing that Brad is definitely maturing.  Seeing him bust off a top 10 at a road course is great.  He went around the race track and I pointed out some of the apex points, exit points, shifting points and he absorbed it like a sponge.  And that’s what it takes as a veteran of the team, to help the kid that’s coming up through.  To have his information help us is exactly what has helped both teams get stronger.”

ADDINGTON:  “Paul (Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) has got great ideas.  We sit down in each other’s offices for long periods of time and talk about the direction we need to go in.  We go to lunch every single day of the week except maybe one and we talk about what direction we need to work in, what we need to work on, to make it better.  You have to push for stuff.  You go in there with a list that’s this long; you have to pick out the major hitters to what we need to go fast right now.  That’s what we’ve done.  It’s great to have a guy over there that is a racer and wants to make our race cars better along with me.  That’s been the big key, we push for things that we need to go fast right now.”

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT RETRIBUTION AND HOW NASCAR HAS TOLD DRIVER TO HANDLE IT?  “Yeah, I mean, it’s great that you don’t have to look over your shoulder and have NASCAR come down on you with a big fine or a penalty when you want to rough it up on the track.  This sport was based off of guys roughing each other up.  That’s that good old short‑track racing that we see, the good old door-slamming, bumper-to-bumper racing.  It’s the heritage of our sport.  Times had gotten interesting in the ’90s and 2000s on driver etiquette, what you had to do to race.  I’m an old-school kind of guy.  I laugh and joke with my friends saying, I should have grew up in the ’80s; I would have been a much better guy, because I’m not politically correct.”

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING HERE IN THE SOUTHWEST SERIES AND WHAT THIS RACE WIN MEANS TO YOU? “Thank you for asking me that question.  I love the grass‑roots racing, and the way that Infineon has supported that.  Back in the days when I ran the Southwest Tour race, that is the Saturday support race, teams and crew chiefs and driver/owners are watching to see what’s going on out on the track, who is passing where.  I raced here ’98, placed third, and won it in ’99.  I always knew I could win on a road course.  It took me a few years to get it together on the Cup side.  Even in 2002, I might have had a top‑five finish when I was with Roush Racing.  I’ve always loved road racing.  I’ve just struggled to put it together at the end of the race, whether it’s run‑ins with other drivers or running out of fuel.  But I’ve even had the chance to stand on the podium at Daytona during the Grand American Rolex Series 24‑Hour race.  I love road racing.  It’s fun.  I’ve done drag racing.  I definitely want to stick with the NASCAR side of it as long as I can.”

BUSCH: WHAT IS YOUR RECOLLECTION OF LAST YEARS INCIDENT WITH THE 24 CAR?  “My recollection was a flat right rear tire.  I have an in‑car camera from somebody else that proves he drove straight through us.  That’s last year.  We got him back at Martinsville in October.  It wasn’t my normal style to pay somebody back like that.  I just usually race somebody a lot harder when they step over the line.  He and I have always had a great relationship where we’re genuine racers with each other.  I respect him.  He’s third on our all‑time (win) list.  He’s a four‑time champion.  I’m not going to get sideways with a guy like that, but I’m going to let him know he can’t walk all over me.”

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE AS THE WINNNER OF A NASCAR RACE?  “It’s a great sense of satisfaction.  All the hard work from the guys back at the race shop is where it starts.  The times that we’ve tested; the execution here at the race track this weekend.  You see it all come together.  You know when you have a shot at victory, you have to block those moments out and get that car to the victory line.  To get the checkered flag, do some doughnuts, to drive in reverse around this road course; I got choked up.  It was a great feeling to know that I’ve won on a road course.”

BUSCH: WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT JEFF GORDON CAME TO CONGRATULATE YOU IN VICTOY LANE?  “Yeah, it was nice for Jeff to come up to Victory Lane.  It’s nice and convenient from pit road to walk by and say hi.  It was just one of those moments where it’s like, hey, we do respect each other.  To have a dominant car, he knew it would be tough for him to catch us today.  And to have that good of a car, that’s where you feed off the crew.  Hey, I’m going to go out there early, I told Steve, and try to gain some positions.  We were still unsure if we were going to make it on a two‑stop strategy.  But with the lap times that we could run, we could maintain pace above those guys doing the short pit.  We’ve seen that a lot this year.  Steve can jump in and say some things about it.  Guys are short pitting and gaining a lot of track position.” 

ADDINGTON:  “That was the key.  When he got the lead from the 11 car, we set the pace and I was watching the car on TV, we weren’t jumping curbs and stuff like that.  We’re not absolutely pushing the car to the limit, that’s what I was thinking to myself.  I just felt, we’ll do our thing.  These guys are pitting.  It makes you nervous.  You’re stomach gets all knotted up.  You feel like you’re getting behind.  I felt like the car was good enough if we did get caught behind after what he did at the beginning of the race, as smooth as he drove that car all day long, we could get it back if we gave up anything.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 10th “We brought home a 10th.  We had a really good Miller Lite Dodge this whole week.  I’m really proud of my guys.  To finish 10th on a road course is nothing to be disappointed about.  I thought for a minute there we were going to get a top five; we just fell off a little bit at the end.  I got caught up with all the traffic but still came out of here with a top 10.  It’s something I’m very proud of.”

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE 42?  “I don’t take any pride in all that stuff, but at some point you have to run your own deal.  It was pretty obvious that it was eat or be eaten and I wasn’t going to be eaten.”

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 18th “I just got wrecked by (Joey) Logano.  It is what it is.  We were on track for exactly what we wanted to do.  There was a big difference in tires and that was disappointing.  They brought two date codes and we got the wrong one for qualifying.  We had a strong run. We lost track position, fought back, and then lost when the 20 punted us.”

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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