Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – Kurt Busch Open Interview – Chicagoland Speedway

Friday, Sept. 16, 2011

Chicagoland Speedway

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KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) HOW WAS YOUR FIRST PRACTICE SESSION TODAY? “Things were really good for our car. The track was fresh and the speeds were really high. Nobody expected the speeds to be that fast. (Ryan) Newman came over to me and said, ‘My rpm never changed when I came out of the corner because it stayed right about 9000 all the way down the straightaway.’ Speeds are quick. Normally we race here in July, September is just a bit cooler out. We’ll see, it’s suppose to warm up a little bit towards Sunday.”

IS THERE A POINT TODAY WHEN YOU GOT INTO THE CAR AND SAID, ‘I’M IN CHICAGO WHERE THE CHASE BEGINS’? “This is where the action is. This is the garage area. This is where we have to go to get our car handling good. This is the fun part.”

AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON, WHAT PART OF THE SPORT DO YOU FIND FASCINATING? “When you get all the different styles of tracks and all the character, each place is different. Every race track has places where you go and you can pass and where you can’t pass. You get really into detail on where guys are racing each other hard and where the trouble spot is out on the track. Whether it’s a slick spot or whether it’s a bump. There’s so many racing things that we’re worried about, that’s what we have to do as drivers, make sure that we can get the best lap time that we can.”

WHAT DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE CHASE? “For us, we have to not make mistakes. We have a fast car. We’ve done a great job the last couple of weeks in having solid pit stops and making the car better during the race and we posted two top fives. If we do that in the next 10 weeks we’ll be at the top table in Vegas.”

HAVE YOU PUT THE JIMMIE JOHNSON INCIDENT BEHIND YOU? “Yeah. What we do as champion drivers is put those things behind us and go race. That’s what we’re suppose to do. As a team carrying the Dodge banner and for our sponsors Shell and Pennzoil, we know we have to race hard and race smart.”

DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE OF THE CHASE? “We all do. All 12 of us have the pressure for performing and bringing this championship home for their respective team. (Jimmie) Johnson has pressure just like Dale Jr. does or whoever the last-place guy was, (Denny) Hamlin. (He’s) got pressure on him just like the lead guy.Kyle. We all do.”

IF A TEAM FEELS BEHIND AFTER LEAVING CHICAGO, IS THERE TIME TO RIGHT THE SHIP WITH THE SHORTER TRACKS COMING UP BEFORE GOING BACK TO A 1.5-MILE TRACK? “Yeah, that’s a great way to look at it. We have New Hampshire and Dover before we head back to a mile-and-a-half. This weekend will be a good indicator on the mile-and-a-halves because there’s five in the Chase. Yeah, there’s time to get things re-booted before we go back.”

IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEELING STARTING THE CHASE OFF AT CHICAGO VERSUS NEW HAMPSHIRE? “I think drivers like newness, they like freshness. This is a back big market. This is an exciting market, especially for me being a Cubs fan and a Bears fan. Brian McCaskey, he owns the Bears, he’s a friend of mine, he’ll be out here Sunday rooting us on. It’s neat to be in a different spot and a class, mile-and-a-half race track.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EVENT MONDAY NIGHT AT WRIGLEY? “Yeah, Monday night is going to be a blast. We rented out a rooftop and everybody’s invited. Every media member, sponsors, NASCAR officials, anybody that can stick around for Monday will find us out there at Wrigley. Shell set it up for me to throw out the first pitch and to sing (during) the seventh-inning stretch again. I sung it before but didn’t make any highlights reels because I must have done OK.”

ARE YOUR COMPETITORS INVITED TOO? “Yeah, anybody that wants to stick around. I’ve got a bunch of buddies coming in from North Carolina. I know that everybody has busy schedules. I told Kyle about it but he has something going on as well.”

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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