Tag:Daytona 500
Posted on: February 18, 2011 5:44 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 5:45 pm

Kurt Busch team catches brake problem in practice

Listen to audio (8 minutes, 6 seconds) or read the transcript below

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)

“We’re just trying to stick with our game plan.  We still want to push forward; this Daytona 500 is what we came here for.  The tokens that we have with the Shootout and the Gatorade are nice, but we’re here after the big ultimate prize.  We’re just sticking with our game plan of going out there today and shake down the car to get the (Daytona) 500 motor up to temperature…transmission, gears, rear axle…just to make sure things were singing smoothly.  And then we found that the brakes were rubbing a bit, so we had to take the brakes apart and just re-evaluate that tomorrow when we get back out on track and just take advantage of the time that we have.  Today, if we hadn’t gone out, we would have found that problem tomorrow.  We would have been in a big panic and Sunday morning would have been real iffy if we would have gotten the problem fixed.  I’m glad things happen today and we got the bugs worked out.  The week just seemed to be going too smooth.  You know that something was going to jump up and bit us.  So we got that scienced out.  Teammates like (Brad) Keselowski out there… a guy like Ryan Newman and I have a great rapport.  Right now there’s just communication going on between all the spotters, crew chiefs and all the drivers with how you can hook-up and stay hooked-up.”


“I’m not worried about it.  It’s just nice to get back out and practice today, get back into the swing of things and try to keep it as normal as possible.  The normal part will be exciting when we fire up the engines and see Dale Jr. drop to the back and we’ll be leading the field to start the 53rd running of the ‘Great American Race’.  I’ve got to put all those emotions aside and get into the groove of the 500-mile race.  We’ll do that during Lap 1.  I hope that Regan Smith and are tied-up together like we need to be and we lead Lap 1.  We’ll just settle in after that.”


“Absolutely not.  I think that everybody knows that if you’re the guy that’s pushing, you’re in the catbird seat.  If you’re separated from the guys behind you, that’s the position to  be in. You really want to be pushing.  I really expect a green-white-checkered to happen and we’ll see how it all plays out.  You’ve got your buddy that you’ve been with all day long.  When you get to the end of the race, you never know who’s going to tie up, but everybody wants their best shot at victory and there’s no guarantee of anybody staying behind you.  If Newman’s pushing me and I’m leading and he’s second coming off of Turn 4, I’ve got to expect that’s he’s going to pass me and win his second-career Daytona 500.  It’s just the product of how this two-car draft is.”


“Everybody is set for 500 miles.  It’s not sprint racing any more.  On the other token, it’s just that you haven’t seen the two-car drafts in quantity.  Nobody is really teamed-up, had the lead group ahead and chased them down; that’s when you see the big numbers.  Just the lack of quantity of cars is going to keep the speed down.”


“They have to be commended for the job that they’ve done finding a tire that allows the cars to have the grip as well as maintain that free wheel-type movement.  We tried a set of tires during a tire test that actually just locked down the inside lane.  It was like it didn’t let the cars free-wheel enough, so you saw everybody in the high lane drafting like we see at Talladega.  All of us in the garage area were like, ‘No, no, no. We can’t have that.’  So Rick Campbell, the guys at Goodyear, Stu (Grant) and the gang, yes, they deserve all the accolades for bringing such a great tire.  It’s just unique that we really don’t have to change it all that often.  It’s so good; we don’t have to change it.  It’s a weird feeling to have.  Once we settle into next week’s race in Phoenix, that track is really old, it chews up tires.  You change tires quite often.  Then you’ll settle into the regular season…Vegas, Bristol, Martinsville and so on.”


“You always see one Duel more exciting than another.  It’s tough to duplicate even though you’re calling it a “duel”.  You’re splitting up all the top teams in points from the order they finish in the previous year.  I watched the race and definitely was very tuned into who was drafting with who; how they were doing it; who was switching more often than actually trying to breath the radiator.  There’s all types of scenarios.  I just can’t wait for the race to start, to get settled in and make it the best run of our life on Sunday with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.”

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 18, 2011 3:29 pm

Harvick: Second isn't bad place to be toward end

Listen to the audio (17 minutes, 53 seconds) or read transcript below


KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media a Daytona International Speedway and discussed his week in Daytona so far, where you want to be at the end of the race, the increased speeds and much more. Full transcript:


TALK ABOUT WHAT KIND OF WEEK YOU’VE HAD SO FAR IN DAYTONA . “Well it hasn’t been a bad week. Obviously we would have liked to have won a race of some sort by now but I think as we’ve gone through the week we’ve been leading laps and racing in the front of the two races we’ve run so far and feel like we’re comfortable with where we are at with our car and just with the type of racing and the conditions that we are racing in. You just got to put yourself, keep yourself in position to be able to win, so that’s what we’ve been trying to do and hopefully it plays out for us on Sunday.”


AFTER THE SHOOTOUT ALL THE TALK SEEMED TO BE YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THE LEADER WITH ONE OR TWO TO GO, THEN THE TWO RACES YESTERDAY THE LEADER WON BOTH RACES SO WHERE IS THE PLACE TO BE AS THE LAPS WIND DOWN? “I think as you come down to the end you’ve got to kind of see where you’re at with your situation. If there’s multiple packs coming to the start/finish line and they get side-by-side, obviously you want to be one of the front cars. At the situations yesterday in the qualifying races I don’t think either guy in second place did a very good job of doing what they needed to do to try to win the race. I think Clint (Bowyer) pulled out too late and I think the No. 78 was content to just sit there and finish second. I still think if you’re coming to the start/finish line and you have a break-away scenario like you did yesterday with the No. 22 and the No. 78 or the No. 33 and the No. 31, both of those cars should have won the race that were running second. I just don’t think they did it exactly how they should have done it to win the race. It’s all going to depend on the circumstances coming toward the finish line and where you are positioned with a few laps to go.


“I would have loved to been in the position those guys were in yesterday coming to the checkered flag because there’s no reason the second-place car should have lost racing either one of those races. They should have at least wrecked. (laughter).”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY YOU ARE ONLY RUNNING THE CUP RACE THIS WEEK? ALSO CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO PK’S TRUCK IN POST-QUALIFYING TECH YESTERDAY? “I think I’ll address the PK thing first. You know as a team you don’t ever want to do anything wrong. Yesterday the left front shock got hung up and obviously a piece of debris got stuck in the piston or something really of no fault of anybody, its happened randomly as we’ve gone through the years. It’s real easy to just get a piece of trash, it’s an eight thousandths of an inch hole so anything can get stuck in there. Once they took the shock off the heights were all right. So I feel bad for Nelson, obviously coming in everybody had high expectations and they went out and did what they needed to do to qualify well and have run well since they’ve been here and just kind of one of those freak things that happens so luckily the points are on that truck and they’ll do a good job and hopefully salvage a good night out of it. As far as my schedule, just a lot going on this particular week with new sponsors, adding teams on both sides of it just didn’t really feel like it was going to benefit everybody to be in the race car this week and Clint wanted to run those superspeedways so we put Clint in the car this week and made him happy and everybody’s happy on the sponsorship side of it and able to pay attention to everything outside of my primary job as a Cup driver. I think that was the main focus coming into the week was to try to win the Daytona 500 and that’s what we’re here to do.”


WITH THE TWO-CAR PACKS AND NASCAR MAKING ALL THESE RULE CHANGES TO TRY TO BREAK THAT UP AND ALSO SLOW THE CARS DOWN, WHAT WAS YOUR OPINION AFTER TESTING IN JANUARY AND WHAT COULD NASCAR HAVE DONE TO BREAK THOSE PACKS UP HAD THEY ACTED SOONER? “I think when you look and you sit in NASCAR’s shoes and you look at the testing it’s never the same as it is when you come back down here for the races. The first Duel yesterday was a little bit boring and the second race was awesome. I mean I watched the second race and it was a fun race to watch at the end. I still don’t think that we really know exactly what’s going to happen. Obviously the two-car stuff is going to work but we haven’t been out there with a whole pack on the race track yet so there’s still some unknowns. The two-car thing, I think everybody is just smarter as far as knowing what to do. When you take the race track out of the equation with the handling and the things like that, it allows us to do whatever we want with the race car and it’s all about speed and you can push and shove and you can do everything that you need to do there. Six or seven years ago if we had all known this was going to work we would have all probably worked a lot harder on it with the old cars too and it probably would have done the same thing. I remember back at Talladega when everybody was screaming and yelling because Dale Jr. was bumping through the corners with the old car but he was making time and winning a race it didn’t click in everybody’s mind that that would work all the way around the race track all the time. So it’s a new scenario that everybody has figured out and still not mastered but it still works and I think it would have worked seven or eight years ago. It just pops up and all of a sudden you don’t really know exactly what direction to go because I think it’s just there and it’s always been there.”


TAKING THAT ONE STEP FURTHER, SOME DRIVERS SAID THEY WERE COMFORTABLE AT SPEEDS OVER 200 THE KEY ISSUE WAS LIFT-OFF, IS IT POSSIBLE AT SOME POINT THAT MORE SPEED COULD STILL BE SAFE TO RACE AT? “I think it’s all safe until you hit something. I always tell people you never really realize how fast you are going until you hit something then it hurts. I don’t think anybody knows the answer to those questions. I don’t think 210 is probably safe for the people sitting in the first 20 rows, I don’t think so. So it’s just one of those things that you have pop up and you really don’t know the answer to. I wish I had some insight on what I can tell you that would work or wouldn’t work because Speedweeks it always seems to have a scenario that pops up and you have to adjust to and it just seems like this year this is the Speedweek scenario that you had to adjust to. The ironic thing about this is, I was standing in the garage a couple of days ago and Donny Allison came up and he’s like all these people think this is new. I’m like what do you mean. He’s like me and Richard Petty lapped the field doing this. So maybe you should talk to those guys because obviously this isn’t something that’s brand new.  He like you know if you move out from the wall it does the same thing, if you do this in the corner if you push the car here it helps the guy in front of you through the corners, so this is not something that just cropped up at Daytona because of new asphalt and new cars, this is something that’s always been here it’s just much more obvious now and obviously Donnie and Richard and those guys have been in these scenarios before where this stuff has happened with the old tanks they used to race. This is just part of Daytona I guess. There was no aero anything and they could still manage to get to cars together and it’s always been that way.”


WONDERING WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THE BRIAN KESELOWSKI STORY THERE. “Well I think as a driver/owner or kid or person that struggled to get the shot that you always wanted I think you look at that scenario and you look at the Keselowski family and everything that they’ve put into this sport, they’ll make more money off of this one race than they probably have made in years. To see that and hopefully that leads to them being able to get better cars and being able to be more competitive. It’s just really neat to see a family that’s that close and to have his brother be the one kind of pushing him up there because nobody else probably would have got behind him and said alright I’m going to stick with you and we’re going to the front, but I think Brad had the confidence in his brother to know that he can drive the race car and get behind him and push him. Usually one thing leads to another so hopefully this leads to good things. Really the Keselowski family, you couldn’t ask for better people. They’ve been around this sport for a long time and are just good people. It couldn’t have happened to better people.”


TALKING ABOUT WANTING TO BE SECOND TOWARD THE END, YESTERDAY IN THE QUALIFYING RACES AT LEAST A COUPLE OF TIMES SAW FORD TEAMS REALLY PUSHING, IS THERE SOMETHING WITH THE FORD CARS OR IS THAT JUST A COINCIDENCE? “They’ve obviously got the cooling system a little bit better than everybody else I would say. The thing you’ve got to remember there is a lot going on with those rear tires. There’s a lot of air that moves around on the right rear of these cars and that’s why you see the cars pop out to the right. Not only are they getting fresh air from the side of the car but that right rear tire, there’s a lot going on right there so you can get a lot of air into the grill of the car right there. The Roush cars definitely have a cooling system that’s better than everybody else’s. They’ve got something figured out there that they’ve done a good job with. I could manage my car. The engine guys don’t like how I manage my car so I don’t know if that will work for the amount of time that we need it to work for, for the Daytona 500. So there’s some scenarios there that we have to make some decisions as a team as to how we want to play things come Sunday. Managing your car is going to be very important because we’ve already seen a lot of engine problems. Our engine guys are no different than anybody else. The gun is loaded and sitting on the counter and you just don’t want them to pick it up because they’re terrified of everything that’s going on.”


DO YOU WANT A ROUSH CAR BEHIND YOU TOWARD THE END? “Well I think it’s just a matter of circumstances. I know obviously Matt (Kenseth) and I seem to race together a lot. I helped him to his Daytona 500 win and he helped me to mine and we seem to be around each other a lot yesterday, pretty much the whole race. It’s just a matter of circumstances as to who you work with and how you work with them and I think as it all plays out during the day there are just so many things to think about.  You’ve got to make pit stops, you’ve got caution flags and there’s so many things that change throughout the race, you just really have to have a good plan in your mind as to what your plan is as a team, how you want to conserve your car and how hot is it going to be, there’s just a million things that

we have to sit down and go through as to the thought process we need to approach the first half of the race with. The ¾ point of the race and the last quarter of it what the approach is going to be for our particular team. After talking to the engine guys, talking to Gil (Martin) and what we feel comfortable with there’s just a lot of things that we haven’t had play out because of the mileage of the shorter races. It’s going to be warm and I think there is going to be more of a management issue than there has been in the past couple of races.”


CAN YOU EDUCATEUS ON WHY THE SPOTTER SITUATION IS SO MUCH MORE CRITICAL OR DIFFICULT IN THIS TWO-CAR DRAFT AS OPPOSED TO 43 CARS WHEN YOU THINK IT WOULD BE THE OPPOSITE? “What happens is when you get other cars coming and going you can’t really feel where the back guy is and all of a sudden when those cars start to become detached it instantly starts slowing you down but the front guy doesn’t feel it nearly as much as the back guy so the spotter is very important to know when those runs are coming and I think everybody has pretty much got it worked out as to what you need to tell the guy next to you. It probably looks like a bunch of ants up there running around as things switch on the restarts as to who is going to try to work with who. There’s more strategy and more talking than any race I’ve ever been a part of.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EXCHANGE AND SWAP THAT YOU AND MATT (KENSETH) WERE DOING IN YESTERDAY’S RACE? “When traffic comes and goes it’s hard for the front car to feel and we just got detached. We weren’t planning on making a change, we just got broken apart there.”


YESTERDAY WE ASKED JEFF WHAT HE EXPECTED ON SUNDAY AND HE SAID BASICALLY A FAIRLY NORMAL FIRST 400 MILES AND WE’VE SEEN OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS, BUT THOSE LAST 100 MILES JUST REALLY CRAZY, HOW DO YOU SEE THAT? “That’s the battle that I have in my mind. We have the track position that we need and I know we have to manage our car, but the thing about the Daytona 500 is you never know what is going to happen. It can go run 300 miles and not have a caution and if you don’t pay attention you will wind up a lap down. I know we can talk about the Lucky Dog and the wave arounds buts it’s just totally going to screw up the strategy. That’s just one of those scenarios that as our particular team, No. 29 team, we’ve got to decide exactly how we want to race and when we want to race as to is it track position, is it mange the car, how worried are the motor guys, how worried are they about 500 miles at what we’ve been doings, so that’s a decision we have to make. In my opinion, you need to keep the track position that you have and we might need a back-up spotter because I don’t know if his eyes will work all day for 500 miles doing the things they have to do because they are the guys that are going to be worn out the most. Just we’ve got to make some decisions, that’s pretty much what it boils down to as to what we think we need to do.”

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 11:18 am

Drivers sit out practice

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have two practice sessions on today's schedule here at Daytona International Speedway but not everyone is taking advantage of the track time.

Rather than risk damaging their primary cars for Sunday's Daytona 500, several teams have elected to sit out today's practice,

Only nine cars were practicing early in Friday's first session including Jeff Burton, Paul Menard, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards.

Other high profile teams including Kyle Busch and the Joe Gibbs Racing M&M's Toyota will watch from the sidelines and save things for Saturday's final Daytona 500 practice tune-up.

Dale Earnhardt plans to take to the track at some point in one of the two sessions as shake down efforts for the back-up No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet continue.

"We have a lot of work to do," crew chief Steve Letarte told Sirius NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" program. "We're still learning and we want to take the opportunity to be on track every time we have a chance from now until Sunday."

Nationwide cars will practice and qualify today in advance of Saturday's season opener while the Camping World Truck Series kicks off its 2011 season tonight under the lights at Daytona with the NextEra Energy 250.
Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 18, 2011 9:43 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 9:43 am

Daytona schedule -- Friday, Feb. 18

Here's today's schedule of activity at Daytona.

11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET -- Sprint Cup practice

12:30 p.m.-1:55 p.m. ET -- More Sprint Cup practice

4:10 p.m. ET -- Nationwide qualifying

7:30 p.m. ET -- Truck race

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:52 pm

Two car draft here to stay

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Get used to the two car drafting phenomenon that's bee on display at Daytona. It's not going anywhere.

NASCAR changed the engine cooling rules and handed out a smaller restrictor plate after last weekend's opening activities including the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 qualifying but the end result has been exactly the same.

Thursday's Gatorade Duel twin qualifying races were nearly a carbon copy of the Shootout with the field broken into packs of two cars and the tandem drafting plan the only way to compete.

While the second 150-mile race was better than the first in my mind, both are nowhere near what we've been used to seeing at restrictor plate tracks like Daytona and Talladega.

Thursday's nightcap had the double dippers just like the day's first race but they ran in a bigger pack with three and four of the duos racing together in a mad dash at the front of the field. That had more of the feel the old plate packs did with a little less stress of seeing a 30 car pile-up at any minute.

The drivers seem to like it and after the race words like "fun" and "exciting" were flowing freely from the mouths of the competitors.

Whether or not the paying customers feel the same remains to be seen.

The feel that I'm finding is that the majority of fans are enamored with the next evolution in restrictor plate racing and that the insane three and sometimes four wide packs of cars running nose to tail and side by side are what the fans want.

That's not going to happen from now until Sunday's Daytona 500 no matter what NASCAR may do rule-wise and we probably won't see it here again until maybe the brand new asphalt surface gets a bit worn - say in about three or four years.

There's been a lot made about this year's Daytona 500 having the potential to be "the best ever." FOX has been breathlessly promoting the race with video of three and four wide action and nearly promising fans a 500 for the ages. Maybe we'll get that on Sunday but it won't be anything close to plate races of the past.

I've sat through three of these races now and I'm not sold on the new Noah's Ark style. Maybe it will grow on me but it's going to take time.

I wonder how many fans will afford NASCAR that luxury if Sunday's Daytona 500 turns out to be a dud in their minds?
Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:36 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 6:37 pm

Jeff Burton post race comments

Posted By Pete Pistone

Gatorade Duel Race Winner Jeff Burton's Post Race Comments

YOU AND CLINT BOWYER HAD A PLAN, YOU WORKED TOGETHER, YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN STRONG SINCE YOU'VE UNLOADED.: "It's a shame two cars can't fit in here you know. With the way this thing is going its really important to have somebody to work with you. Clint and I decided we were just going to find each other early and it worked otu well for both of us. I didn't know who won but it was a good race."

YOUR KIDS ARE STICKY NOW. "That's good, now I know where they are. For us, this was a great start. What went on with the Cat team last year was really frustrating. To run as well as we did the other night and run as well as we did tonight and get in Victory Lane is a great deal. Cat deserves this, Chevrolet, SKF, Menards, everybody involved in this deal. The Sprint Cup Series is going to be strong this year and we're looking forward to it."

DID YOU KNOW HOW CLOSE IT WAS WHEN CLINT STEPPED OUT AT THE START/FINISH LINE?  “He did exactly what he was supposed to do.  He is a shame two cars can’t fit in here honestly. There ought to be two cars in this victory lane today. He knew I was going to stay on the bottom and I knew he was going to shoot on the outside. It is amazing how much it dragged my car down. But, we worked really well together. He pushed me really well, I pushed him really well. We just got really committed. Where ever he went, I went, where ever I went, he went. That is the same thing we had the other night. All of us are really committed to working well together and being the best teammates we can possibly be.  It is a shame there is not room enough in here for two. This is a good start for us after last year as frustrating as it for the Cat team to get in victory lane early. I know it’s not a point-paying race, but none-the-less we are here and feel real good about it.”

ON SATURDAY NIGHT IN THE BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT, YOU RAN BETTER WITH KEVIN HARVICK THAN CLINT, WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE TODAY? “I think we all learned a lot on Saturday night. There were some things I didn’t do very well on Saturday. I think there were some things that all of us have been finding our skills a little bit as this week as gone on. I learned how to be pushed a little better and I learned how to push a little better and I think all of us did. We all talked a lot about what we did well and what we didn’t do well. There were times today that I made a few mistakes and got us in trouble. It is just a matter of going back and really paying attention. The small mistakes make a big different here. I made a few mistakes here today and got by with them.”

WHEN WE PUT 43 CARS OUT THERE WITH ALL THE TOP CARS TOGETHER, WILL IT GET PUNCHED UP A LITTLE BIT MORE? “I think it is going to be a real wild race. This is not going to be a stereotypical Talladega four-wide the entire race. What you are going to see when the field gets full of quality teams, you have to remember at the end of the Shootout last week, there was only 12 cars really in the race at the end. There were a lot of cars that fell out. We are going to have a lot more cars going for the 500 win and it is going to be wild. You get such a big run and there is nowhere to go. Sometimes it is just plain and simple nowhere to go. It is hard to find a hole. This one time I almost led into a wreck. It is really really hard. It doesn’t look very hard on TV, but it is really hard to do.

Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 6:31 pm

Kurt Busch post race comments

Posted By Pete Pistone

Gatorade Duel Race Winner Kurt Busch and Crew Chief Steve Addington Post-Race Comments
BUSCH:  “It's the double deuce power right now.  Great ride through these Speedweeks, being in the right place at the right time.  To be in those positions, you have to have a good drafting partner.  I had that with Regan Smith today, had it with (Jamie) McMurray on Saturday night.  You can't be in those positions if you don't build a great race car.  My guys have put together an awesome Dodge for me.  The cars we brought down here, all of them have great strength to them.  The engine department knows they're going to bring us even more for Sunday's race.  So I'm really excited.  Again, I can't get too far ahead of myself because this is Daytona and this place can jump up and bite you pretty quick.  But we are going to ride this wave.  We've made the right decisions so far with all of our adjustments on our car, adapting to the rule changes with restrictor plate sizes, grill opening sizes.  This is a new era at Daytona in my mind.  Right now, I feel like I don't know anything about the draft.  I'm trying to latch myself onto somebody to learn with.  I've had a great teammate with Brad Keselowski in testing to do that with.  We're going to keep going.  It's bright, it's yellow, it's fast.”

  STEVE ADDINGTON:  “It's been awesome.  I think that goes back to what went on over the winter, this group of guys that come to the racetrack every week.  They're a great support group.  They work really hard.  They do anything that I ask out of them without any bickering or anything else.  They just get in there, keep their heads down and dig.  That's the kind of group of guys that you need to go to the racetrack with every week. Really proud of them.  They've been doing an awesome job with making changes, like Kurt said, in grill openings and stuff like that.  They've took it to the next step and did some extra things that I asked out of them.  No complaining, so I'm really proud of that group of guys.”

  Steve, can you talk about at the end or overall in the race how you worked with the spotter and how important that was?  Kurt, there was a time where you thought you were going with Kenseth, then back.  How did all that play out?  How much of a role did the spotter play in all that?

  STEVE ADDINGTON:  “I stay in contact with the spotter the whole time.  I've got guys scanning and listening.  They give me feedback to give to the spotter from what other guys are seeing trying to help me make decisions.  Chris Osborne is doing one hell of a job every week.  He did it every week last year.  He just stepped up to the plate here with all that's going on down here this week.  Hats off to him.”

  BUSCH:  “Chris Osborne, our spotter, deserves quite a bit of credit to how he's adapted to this as well, with his communication with other spotters. The way you think you have alliances, you've watched guys work together throughout the race; it's not necessarily a chess game, because chess takes too long.  You have to <script src="http://images.cbssports.com/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js" type="text/javascript"></script> react in thousandths of a second, split second decisions.  We had a general idea of what was going to happen on that final restart.  It's almost like you see everybody get their deck of cards, like you're playing Texas Hold 'em.  You're looking around to see who is betting with who, who is going to hang around and wait to see the flop.  Has a lot to do with split second decisions, if you're in or out with a certain group.”

  Kurt, in 2008 you manned up, did the teammate thing, got on Newman's bumper and pushed him to victory.  You've been somebody who is always fiery, competitive.  You never complained when you took second for the team.  Do you feel the fact that two guys who have pushed you and sacrificed themselves for your benefit was kind of this whole thing coming full circle this time?

  KURT BUSCH:  “Yeah, absolutely.  I mean, when you do good onto others, you hope good comes back to you. Just with the way the draft is, one race can't define how you're going to work with somebody.  It happens over time.  I would get frustrated, like 2002, 2003, it was only my second or third year out on the circuit.  I thought I knew enough to kind of hang out and ride.  Shoot, I finished second in the Daytona 500 back in 2003.  Nobody ever wanted to latch on and to be that drafting partner. So over the years, friendships develop, rapport develops with other drivers.  To be a pusher as many times as I've been, hopefully this time around we can be a pushee.  Things do cycle back around.  You can't expect it, though.  You hope it does with the goodness and kindness in your heart.”

  Kurt, all these years you've been coming down here, you weren't able to win a restrictor plate.  You changed sponsors.  Now you're two for two.  Is it almost like that new driver's suit is a Superman uniform for you?

  KURT BUSCH:  “It was here at Daytona.  It was Harvick's past success.  The way Shell Pennzoil people are excited about Daytona, it's neat to be able to deliver for them right away.  To have this double deuce in Victory Lane again, new car number, new sponsor, there's a new look around our program, and we're going to ride this wave while it's in our sails.  It's neat to have the group of guys we have.  It's the same program.  Just could never figure out why the Miller Lite Dodge couldn't pull into Victory Lane here, but they were a great sponsor, as well.”

  Q.  It sounds like you're saying the new drafting system is learn as you go and you do everything on the fly?  And, do you like it?

  KURT BUSCH:  “Yeah, there's so many things I've learned each and every drafting session, whether it's the practice or the race Saturday night and today's Thursday race.  I'll get back with Addington, my guys, they'll analyze what they saw as well, what other teams are doing, specific types of moves.  You just try to bank as much information as you can in your mind to know what to do when.You're kind of flying by the seat of your pants 'cause you haven't put those ideas into an actual experience just yet.  Today, we went through quite a few more.  But there's still more to learn.  I hope Sunday can be our day.  It's a matter of leaning on your teammate that I have in Brad Keselowski, leaning on my crew guys, and Roger Penske.  I'm having dinner with him tonight.  He'll come off the spotter's tower and have a whole bunch of insight from there.”

  Q.  Every Speedweeks we have someone who asserts themselves.  Is that you now?  Are you the favorite for the Daytona 500 now?

  KURT BUSCH:  “Yeah, I would say we're hard pressed not to be the favorite.  We've got the pectin target here.  The Shell/Pennzoil is out front right now.  The guys are going to be gunning for you.  We have the pole, the starting position, we won our Duel today.  I don't like to be a favorite, I like to be an underdog.  When you're tabbed or dubbed the favorite, you try to block the outside emotions what the day is going to be on Sunday and focus on what's important.  I'm going to lean on Steve and my guys to keep me in check and get me through these 500 miles.  I didn't mean to confuse everyone, the Shell logo is called a pectin, p e c t i n [pecten] (Laughter).”

Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 6:24 pm
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