NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 23, 2013
KURT BUSCH LEADS TEAM CHEVY WITH A SECOND-PLACE QUALIFYING RUN AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
CONCORD, N.C. (MAY 23, 2013) – Behind the wheel of his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Sealy Chevrolet SS, Kurt Busch posted a quick lap time of 27.661 to qualify second for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This will mark his fourth top-10 start of the 2013 season, and his sixth in 26 races on the 1.5- mile D-shaped oval.
Three-time 600 winner Kasey Kahne qualified his No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS, sixth quickest. Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 1 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet SS qualified ninth followed by Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS in 10th; giving Team Chevy four of the top-10 starting spots.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will roll off the line from the 11th position in his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevy SS was 12th, followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS starting 14th. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet SS will start 15th. Danica Patrick, No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS was the top qualifying rookie. She will start Sunday’s race from the 24th position.
A total of 17 Chevrolet SS drivers will take the green flag for the 12th race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was the pole winner, Matt Kenseth (Toyota) – third, Mark Martin (Toyota) – fourth and Clint Bowyer (Toyota) – fifth to round out the top-five qualifiers.
Live coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 will be provided by FOX TV, PRN Radio and Sirius XM Channel 90 and coverage will begin at 5:30 pm ET.
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 2ND:
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET HEADING INTO THE COCA-COLA 600 ON SUNDAY
“It was an extremely fast car. Those guys keep delivering pole-winning-type cars each and every week when we’ve been unloading. I just didn’t quite hit my mark exactly right in (Turns) 3 & 4, and I knew that we might get beat by somebody. I was just hoping we might get a gift. But Denny Hamlin laid it down. It was incredible to watch as his car hugged the line in (Turns) 3 & 4 exactly liked you would watch cars back in the day like when Jeff Gordon in the ‘90’s would hunt that white line, it was awesome. You knew that would be a fast lap.
“So, I didn’t do my job, but my team is doing an incredible job with fast cars week in and week out. I told them we had a pole-winning car today. We didn’t have a pole-winning draw as far as going out in the mid-range, but it’s part of the game. You have to have a pole-winning car and then if you get a pole-winning draw, like Denny did to go out late, you want to deliver. And so he did. Congratulations to Hamlin and the Joe Gibbs team. They are definitely hitting on all eight cylinders. For us, this is nothing to be disappointed about. The front row start at the Coca-Cola 600 and I’m pumped up. I think the race for us will come to us. And we just have to work hard on Saturday to get the car dialed-in to run 50 lap stints instead of the 20-lap stints that you see in the All-Star race. Furniture Row keeps delivering cars each week that are fast, and I want to deliver for them.”
DID YOU SAY FURNITURE ROW DELIVERS?
“Yes, yes they do. Do you need a mattress? Do you need furniture?”
YOU SAID YOU MISSED YOUR MARKS ON YOUR LAP. HOW SMALL IS THAT MARGIN WHEN YOU MISS IT? IS THIS A FOOT, TWO INCHES….HOW BIG?
“When you miss your mark it’s like a frozen moment in time when you know you needed to be over there and I’m sitting here. It’s about a half a car width. Denny was right on that white line and my car was about a half a width off of it. And I had a little extra steering in it. And I knew. That turns into what in your mind is a tenth of a second and it translates it to be 600ths. Denny ran a 27.60 and we ran a 27.66. So it was that little moment. You can feel it. It’s cool though that we are in position to be going for poles. That’s the most excitement that you want to feel on qualifying day, is just having a shot at the pole. Our team, we’re doing a good job.”
DO YOU REALIZE IT RIGHT AWAY WHEN YOU MISS YOUR MARK?
“When it happened, yes. And you just hope to sweep it under the rug and that nobody beats you. But this is an honest sport and somebody is going to go out there and lay down a perfect lap. And Denny did that.”
WHAT WAS YOUR MINDSET AFTER SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALL-STAR RACE COMING INTO QUALIFYING THIS EVENING?
“I can answer that 100 different ways and some of them might not be the right answer. I was looking for Bruton’s (Smith) phone number on how we could change the format on the All-Star race. We raced hard and had the best overall average to come down pit road first. We’ve seen in years’ past, guys that win a segment, they get locked-into that front and then they sandbag the rest of the way. The way that the race ended for us, everybody knew that we were there. And it was great to run-up front in an All-Star type race and it’s Monday morning and you’ve just got to put it to bed and you go to work on the next week. That’s the best thing about motorsports. One week you can be a hero. The next week you can be a zero. But every week is a reset button and you have a shot to do something big. So we came up tonight and sat on the front row. Now we’ve got to dial our car in on Saturday. The All-Star race was great for us. We’re not disappointed, but we know we can do better.”
TALK ABOUT THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW AFTER A GOOD RUN LIKE THIS. HAS THAT LEVEL RISEN IN THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS?
“For me, I’m just leaning on the team. And they keep building better and better cars. To have that confidence in them, just like we unloaded today and ran a ridiculous lap time, we ran a 28.20 and the other guys are running 28.50’s. When you have that confidence to lay the right pedal down and it sticks, it’s a great feeling.”
YOU’VE HAD A GOOD SEASON SO FAR. WHEN YOU DID THIS DEAL, WERE YOU EXPECTING IT TO HAVE THIS MANY HIGH POINTS ALREADY?
“It’s been a great year. It’s been a year of opportunities. And when you have the phone ringing like it is, and you’re on a one-year deal, you’re exploring all types of options. And last year, the advice that I was given was to just stay in the sport and stick around and make sure you come to every race and if I could hit a reset button and wish that this could be 2012, but when you go through a lot of turmoil and some hardship, it teaches you how to look at things in a wider perspective. And it’s gotten so wide that I’m looking at the Open Wheel cars and the Australian V-8 Supercar guys called up. And so it’s been a great ride. And my focus though, is the Cup car. That’s where I think I lost my attention and my focus as well as my internal drive when I was at Penske, because I was wandering around doing Pro Stock cars and some other things. But the good news/bad news is that right now we’re sitting 18th in points. And we’ve had some horrible finishes. So, if we could eliminate those, we’ll be all right.”
ASKED TO CLARIFY HIS REFERENCE TO PRO STOCK AND INTERNAL DRIVE
“To finish that off, I was just frustrated at Penske Racing and venturing off to do the Pro Stock thing and looking around, it’s not the same clarity as it is right now on making sure that I’m happy and I’m focused with my Cup car and being able to do other things. That’s like recess. Where I was trying to divert my attention to draw away some of the tough times when we were struggling running outside the Top 12 at points at Penske, you’re not supposed to do that. You’re supposed to be right in the mix every week and that was what was tough was when I was finishing 11th in points, that’s the first guy that doesn’t get to go to Vegas and go on stage.
“That was me making phone calls and going off to find stuff. Now the phone is ringing and people are giving me opportunities. Michael Andretti just doesn’t call every day to give you an IndyCar to drive in the month of May.”
WAS THERE A MOMENT DURING DENNY HAMLIN’S QUALIFYING LAP WHEN YOU SAID, ‘HE’S GOT ME’? OR DID YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE TIME ACTUALLY CAME UP?
“I hoped that he wouldn’t beat us. But at the tunnel, we were tied. We’ll get the qualifying reports later and know exactly where he made up the time. But I just missed it a little bit in (Turns) 3 & 4. The exit of Turn 4 is where I think he gained the time.”
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