NASCAR CUP SERIES
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY JIFFY LUBE
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 21, 2020
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE Media Breakout Session Highlights:
CAN YOU MATCH UP AGAINST YOUR BROTHER (KYLE BUSCH) HERE AT THIS RACE TRACK, YOUR HOME TRACK?
“This race track has had both of our numbers. Neither one of us have had comparable success here to other 1.5-mile tracks. I don’t know if it’s the hometown pressure or the feel that we have in the car not matching up with the end of the race. That’s what I need to do better; make sure our setup peaks at the end and not in the beginning where we usually qualify good here.”
WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM BEING BACK HERE AT YOUR HOME TRACK AND WHAT IT WOULD MEAN IF YOU WERE ABLE TO GET THIS WIN?
“It’s special. This is a fun town to represent as one’s hometown. With all of the different racers that have followed Kyle (Busch) and I, it’s amazing. But the greats that we looked up to when we were starting out racing before the west coast was really known for producing talent: Dick Cobb was a multiple-time track champion; Phil Hayes was the one that taught me some of the tricks of the trade; a guy named Mike Ray was the national champion in late models out of Vegas at one point. There are plenty of cool names, even with the off-road greats, Brendan Gaughan, the whole group here in Vegas, has a big passion for motorsports. And Richie Clyne when he built Las Vegas Motor Speedway, helped put us all on the map.”
WOULD IT BE HUGE IF YOU WON HERE?
“It would be one of those big-time moments, for sure. To have a Daytona win is special, to have won the Bristol night race, the All-Star and Coke 600, this one ranks right up there for me and Kyle (Busch). It’s one of those top-five type wins that I want to try and get. He has one win here, I think in 2008 or 2009.”
WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW CHEVY?
“The car felt good in practice. I think we were fifth on the speed chart. We got a nice draft behind the 88 (Alex Bowman), who is a Chevy as well. When Chevy’s can produce good lap times together, that’s a good sign. The big thing, though, will be how the car reacts in all of the dirt air on Sunday. I think from where I was a couple years ago in a Ford, the Camaro last year seemed to struggle in dirty air. It seemed to struggle in traffic, more than what I would have expected it too. So, I’m hopeful this Camaro is more efficient in the dirty air situations.”
“We were able to go wide open for quite a few laps. When the handling comes into play, that’s what we have to work on. Our cars drivability with different throttle inputs and steering inputs, that’s what we have to make more comfortable when we’re out there in the pack.”
IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE A NEW CAR AND A NEW PACKAGE ONCE WE GET TO PHOENIX. WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT WILL BE LIKE?
“That will be a steeper learning curve for us on the No. 1 car because we don’t have notes together in 2018. They have notes from Jamie McMurray’s patterns, but of course with (Kyle) Larson and the way that we can see the overlays from the sim data, that will be our best gauge to start with. I’m looking forward to the short tracks with all that horsepower and all the downforce taken away as much as it possibly can be, it will be a dramatic difference. So, Phoenix will be where the drivers will definitely earn their dollar again.”
FANS WERE WISHING YOU WERE RACING YOUR BROTHER AT THE BULL RING. DID YOU EVEN CONTEMPLATE THAT?
“His budget for a super late model team is off the charts; it shouldn’t be allowed (laughs). It’s like stacking the field for the Kentucky Derby when my little brother rolls in with his 18-wheeler rig, a backup car and looking all professional. Which he is and he’s doing, and he’s doing an incredible job to promote Grassroots Racing. That’s his main objective with that, and it’s also a tool to utilize for up-and-coming talent to drive his cars.”
“For me, I’m more about having fun, taking my crew guys out to the Golden Knights game and enjoying the comradery with my guys and building towards that team aspect of having everything set forth and being better at the race track on the Cup car.”
“This is an amazing town, it’s a fun place. To grow up racing here, it was so special. We have a lot of people to thank over the years. I do need to mention today that Star Nursery bought all the race tires for the No. 1 car this weekend. That’s a pretty hefty bill to buy the tires for a full Cup weekend and I have to thank Star Nursery for doing that.”
CAN YOU SPEAK TO THE DEPTHS IN WHICH NASCAR HAS GONE TO IMPROVE SAFETY OVER THE YEARS?
“It’s been an incredible two decades of improvements from all directions: the teams working together with NASCAR, the technology that’s coming from third-party sources, the cars, the safer barriers, the seats. I remember vividly when a guy was a salesman that came through the garage in Daytona with a device called the HANS device. He goes, ‘here try this on’. I tried it on as a rookie and I thought to myself, ‘it’s a bit bulky, a bit awkward, but I plan on being around for a long time and I think I can bring this into my safety equipment regimen’ and I never looked back. I’m proud of NASCAR and everybody working together. There are still little things that we’re always going to find. I had a car that I donated to Barrett Jackson; it was a 2007 Miller Lite car. The individual donated it back to me. I got that car in my garage and when you’re looking at it, you think this thing is a dinosaur with the safety that’s sitting in that car in 2007. Imagine where we’re going to be in 2030.”
HAS NASCAR COME TO VETERAN DRIVERS, LIKE YOURSELF, WHEN IT COMES TO THE DESIGN OF THE NEXT-GEN CAR AND WHEN WE’RE ON THE SAFETY TOPIC?
“Yeah, I think each driver as a veteran or even a rookie, has had input. It’s important for everybody to communicate and collaborate on the build of the car. Nobody has really just stood up, I think it’s more of just a group effort.”
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