NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
FORD ECOBOOST 400
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
NOVEMBER 15, 2013
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER KURT BUSCH TO START ON THE FRONT ROW AT HOMESTEAD
Chevrolet SS Championship Contenders Harvick and Johnson Qualify in Top Ten for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Finale
HOMESTEAD, Florida (November 15, 2013) Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS, scored his 9th top five starting position of the year in qualifying second for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, the final round of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. This is Busch’s eighth second place start and his ninth front row starting position of the season.
Championship contenders Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and current point leader Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth and seventh respectively. Johnson holds a 28 point lead over second place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, while Harvick sits third, 34 markers behind Johnson with just one race to go.
Matt Kenseth (Ford) won the pole, Joey Logano (Ford) was third, Brad Keselowski (Ford) was fourth, and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was fifth to complete the top-five.
The race is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN and MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 2ND:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND HOPES FOR SUNDAY THE SEASON FINALE RACE FOR THE NO. 78 CAR?
“It was a great lap that the car stuck really well and gave me the confidence to get aggressive with the throttle pedal and do be able to sweep through turn two on the high side. This track, we only race here once a year, you don’t know if you want to run low, middle or high for qualifying because in practice the track is much warmer and it’s 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. Then when we qualify here at night it’s a different game. There is a lot of guessing going into it and I think the pole sitter ran the bottom on both ends and outside pole ran the high groove. So it shows you the options are available you just have to be in synch with your team. The driver has to commit to that line and you have to make the right adjustments as well as what is a new game this year in qualifying is guess the pace that your car is going to run and then make your adjustments around that pace. I always joke around with a lap time that I think we are going to run and I was lipping off and I said we are going to run a 30:40. Which was three tenths quicker than what we did in practice and ultimately we are here outside pole with a lap of a 30.43. The pole was a 30.39. It’s an amazing game on how the engineering group and the simulations have changed our sport and you have to be on top of that to have success. Our Furniture Row guys have done that.
“I do have a quick story. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we were doing something wrong all through the Chase and we came back here to re-baseline where we were the first of September and now we are outside pole again. It’s funny we went the wrong way in the Chase with some of our numbers and we hurt ourself a little bit. We are all looking at each other like what could have been. We will see. We will have to back up our performance today with the run on Sunday and if we come home with a good run it shows exactly what we did wrong all through the Chase and so it’s bittersweet but ultimately this has been a very successful season and something to be very proud of.”
IS YOUR SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP MORE DIFFICULT THAN THE FIRST?
“The Chase every year it gets more difficult it seems like because you have to perform with an average finish that is in the single digits. The single digits get lower and lower every year. Jimmie Johnson has a 4.7 right now. That is just unheard of, but that is what it takes to be competitive to win the title right now. Yes, the second one it seems like for me it’s definitely been tougher. That first one I may have taken for granted and I thought at Penske Racing we would be able to piece the things together to do it. We came up short time and time again. But this year right now it’s been a very satisfying year. We made the Chase as a single car team and that is a big accomplishment. It’s not a championship, but at the end of the day when I’m sitting on the rocking chair I will say this 2013 campaign was a huge success.”
CAN YOU REFLECT ON YOUR EMOTIONS COMING OFF A GREAT SEASON AND KNOWING YOU ARE GOING TO BE GOING INTO ANOTHER GOOD SITUATION NEXT YEAR?
“The way that the numbers added up this year I guess the first point that I want to make it that we had so many top five’s this year. It was more than any other year I ever accumulated at Penske Racing. If I get one more top five on Sunday night it ties my career best for top fives. I don’t know what that means. If I had a dollar I would still get a Big Glup at 7-Eleven. If I didn’t get that dollar I wouldn’t get a Big Gulp, but the way the team has been so competitive week in and week out. All the different size tracks it has been an amazing feeling to do it out of a little shop in Colorado and to go up against these big dogs. The team was ready, I was ready for it. The season didn’t start the way we wanted to. I think we were as far back at 29th in points but then our turnaround was at Darlington when we sat on the pole. From there, what is the date on Darlington? Middle of April, it has been a good run. Very satisfied with it and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
YOU TALKED ABOUT YOUR NUMBERS BEING OFF IN THE CHASE. WILL YOU GUYS LOOK AT EACH OTHER FLUMMOXED WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CARS? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU GUYS TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE YOU KNEW YOU HAD TO MAKE A CHANGE?
“We had it staring us straight in the face at Kansas. I will keep the story short. I wrecked my primary car in practice. We were waffling around about 21st in practice on the chart. We brought our back-up out. Immediately we were 18th which was a fuzz better than that car, but then the car raced its way to the front and we finished second. We weren’t going to finish second with that primary car. Well the back-up car didn’t have certain things updated on it. It stared up straight in the face and then we still trudged through a Charlotte and Texas. We realized we made a mistake at Dover, even Atlanta. It shows the mile and a half’s we did the wrong thing on. How many mile and a half’s are in the Chase? So it’s good it makes it to where I feel like the team is in a better place and that (Martin) Truex will benefit from that and then I have to learn from that mistake so that I can keep the Stewart-Haas group from steering down that road.”