Monday, June 27, 2011

Kurt Busch: I know that we can be better - Thoughts from Infineon


“I KNOW THAT WE CAN BE BETTER”

In a pre-race press conference, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, stated that rating his team strength-wise, “I would give us a B-plus. We’ve run really well, consistent. We just haven’t had those breakthrough performances with a win.”

In describing himself to that of the ability of his brother Kyle, Kurt said, “Kyle does a great job everywhere he goes. Whether it's Truck, Nationwide, Cup series, he’s found that success, in the Truck Series as a driver and owner. It's great to watch him put it all together. He’s competitive every week. I like to joke around and say that I taught him too much, he’s absorbed it all and done very well with it.”

This is the same way he feels about his teammate, Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger. In the media center on Friday, this is what Kurt had to say about Brad and his willingness to take in what Kurt was trying to teach him. “Knowing that Brad has definitely matured, seeing him bust off a top 10 at a road course was 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 and to have his information help us. That’s exactly what’s helped both teams get stronger.”

I asked Kurt on Friday how important it was to qualify up front at Infineon, and he told me, “I think it's very important. When you start up front and you’re right in that lead group, you're out of the trouble, out of those double-file restarts where it seems like cheap shots happen. You’re out there just trying to hang on. If you’re up front and can separate yourself from the rest of the group, then life is easier.”

So what does it take to win at Infineon Raceway, one might ask? This is Kurt’s view on that question. “It’s a tough battle. You can’t expect to win. You have to go there and give it your best all through practice. Stick with the race strategy and knowing when to pit. When you’re out there racing, there are certain guys you know to race early in the run. Then there are guys late in the run that you know to race. To win here, it’s a culmination of putting together so many elements because we only do road racing twice a year. You have to be able to adapt. Most importantly the car has to run its lap times lap after lap after lap. Not missing a gear and staying on track and executing the basics are what it takes to win here.”

In regards to how it felt crossing over finish line ahead of the hometown boy, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch relived that moment saying, “It was a definite boost at the end of the day to see him (Jeff Gordon) 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. He always will be. To get a road course win is a big check mark on my list. It's something I’ve been working very hard at over the years. Just like the restrictor plates. I’ve struggled to win and close out one of those. So it's just really neat to bring home that W, and most of all have that insurance package now. We have that win heading towards the Chase!”

Kurt Busch, won Sunday’s race bumping his wins up to 23 victories in 380 Sprint Cup starts tying with Ricky Rudd on the all time victory list. This was Kurt’s first victory and ninth top-11 in 2011. Kurt’s last win came in May of  2010 at Charlotte, which breaks a 38 race winless streak. Sunday's victory was his first at Infineon where he’s competed 11 times.

It sounds to me that Kurt Busch is one of the few that seems to have figured out the secret to winning at Infineon and I have no doubt we’ll see him in Victory Lane at the Sonoma track again in future!

Congrats to Kurt Busch and the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Team. - To celebrate the win Shell will be giving Shell Card holders 22 cents off each gallon of gas on Wednesday June 29th.

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