Tag:Steve Addington
Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:25 am
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Steve Addington named Tony Stewart's crew chief

Posted by Pete Pistone

Speculation became official Monday when Stewart-Haas Racing announced Steve Addington would move from Penske Racing to crew chief Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart in 2012:

From News Release

KANNAPOLIS, N.C., (Nov. 28, 2011) – Steve Addington, winner of 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as a crew chief, has been named to the same position for three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) effective immediately. 

The Spartanburg, S.C., native is only the third crew chief Stewart has had during his 13-year Sprint Cup career, and it comes just a week after Stewart captured the 2011 Sprint Cup title. 

“I know Steve well and I know how he goes about setting up a racecar,” said Stewart, who worked with Addington from 2005 through 2008 during his time at Joe Gibbs Racing. “My comfort level with him is already strong. He balances the technical part of our sport with the real-world experiences we get at the track, and that will allow for a smooth transition as we prepare to defend our title in 2012.”   

Addington has served as crew chief for Bobby Labonte (2005), J.J. Yeley (2006-2007), Kyle Busch (2008-race No. 33 of 2009) and Kurt Busch (2010-2011) during his ongoing Sprint Cup career. Twelve wins were scored with Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing and four wins were notched with older brother Kurt during his most recent tenure at Penske Racing. 

Prior to rising to the elite Sprint Cup ranks, Addington spent 15 seasons as a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, 11 of which came with driver Jason Keller where the duo won 10 races, 11 poles and scored 69 top-five and 122 top-10 finishes. 

“Tony and I are a lot alike and we’re able to push each other,” Addington said. “I saw how he worked when we were at Gibbs together and I’m not surprised at all at the success he’s created at Stewart-Haas Racing. He expects a lot and he knows a lot. His talent behind the wheel is obvious, but his ability to motivate and get everyone to believe that whatever goal they set is attainable is something every crew chief wants, and I plan to make the most of it.” 

Addington has proven he can win with all kinds of drivers at all kinds of tracks. From the quiet and low-key drivers of Keller and Mike Bliss, whom Addington worked with in the Nationwide Series, to the competitive personalities of Kyle and Kurt Busch, Addington has steered his pilots to victory, and he’s done so at every conceivable type of racetrack – superspeedways, road courses, intermediates and short tracks. 

“Steve has proven himself everywhere he’s been,” Stewart added. “Our expectation when we unload each weekend is to win, and that’s Steve’s expectation, too. Getting there is never easy, but we’ve both been around long enough to know what it takes to be successful.” 

Addington replaces Darian Grubb, who served as Stewart’s crew chief since the inception of SHR in 2009. 

“Darian was a very important part of the success we’ve had at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart said. “I’m very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship. He’s a great person and I know he’ll continue to be successful in this sport.”

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Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 1:13 pm
 

Steve Addington leaves Penske Racing

Posted by Pete Pistone

FOX Sports reported Steve Addington made his official departure from Penske Racing on Monday ending his tenure as crew chief for Kurt Busch.

That story was confirmed when Penske issued a statement on Tuesday morning.

“Steve Addington is no longer with our organization. We appreciate the successes we experienced together and wish him the best in his future endeavors," the team said in the statement.

Speculation is that Addington will join Stewart-Haas racing to call the shots for Tony Stewart next season.

Stewart's current crew chief Darian Grubb said after Sunday's Ford 400 victory and clinching the Sprint Cup Series championship he would not be back with Stewart-Haas Racing next season.



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Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Report: Steve Addington to leave Penske Racing

Posted by Pete Pistone

The Charlotte Observer is reporting crew chief Steve Addington is on his way out as crew chief of Kurt Busch's Shell/Pennzoil Dodge at season's end. Addington and Busch have worked together through somewhat tumultuous times this year but managed to secure a spot in the Chase and went to victory lane two weeks ago at Dover International Speedway.

Speculation is Addington will end his tenure at Penske Racing to possibly take the role of Tony Stewart's crew chief. That move in turn would send Stewart's current crew chief Darian Grubb to a management position inside the team, perhaps as Director of Competition.

Busch comes into Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway sixth in the standings and 16 behind leader Carl Edwards.

Here is the complete Charlotte Observer story:

ADDINGTON TO LEAVE KURT BUSCH 


 
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Posted on: October 2, 2011 8:53 pm
 

Kurt Busch, Steve Addington post Dover comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

KURT BUSCH:  It was a great race today for us for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.  To just miss out on the pole was kind of a bummer, but to take the lead early on and to lead laps and set the tone.          

We have been in that position before where we can lead early on and the car feels great with a fresh racetrack and as the race progresses, we start losing a little bit of the handle, but, today we fought hard.  Found some things, and I've got to thank the guy to my left, Steve Addington, for the right changes, the right time, the right sequence of two tires versus four.  He was in the zone today.  It helped me stay in the zone out on the racetrack and when you can feed off each other, that's when wins can happen and it reminded me a lot of what we did at Sonoma earlier this year.           

Late in the race today, the last hundred laps, our car was right there for us, right where we needed it to be, maybe a little on the tight side.  But restarts, with two restarts to go, I was on the outside of the 48 car.  We had great position from pit road.          

My guys on pit road did a phenomenal job to be consistent, to be smooth, and to put us out there where we needed to be.  And I was able to wrestle the lead away from the 48 car and got to his high side and took the lead.  And then with the final pit stop, Steve was thinking four, I was thinking four, but we switched to two tires, and that was the perfect call.           

We beat Johnson out of the pits, had the inside lane on the final restart and we just took it to him.  I knew we needed to get that jump on the restart and we never looked back.           

So a great day for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.  Wednesday, it's called Wednesdays, everybody gets 22 cents a gallon off on fuel if they have a Shell Saver card.           

KERRY THARP:  Your first win at Dover, too.  Talk about a special win here at the Monster Mile, winning at a track like that.           

KURT BUSCH:  Well, it's such an intense place.  It's hard to get the perfect handle on the race car.  A driver has to compensate quite a bit here, especially with the racetrack rubbering in.  To be able to conquer the Monster Mile, to now have that monstrous trophy now on the trophy shelf, I felt like I was missing something over the years.           

And to make my first start here ten years ago or 11 years ago in 2000, it's been an amazing journey.  I didn't think it would take this long to get to victory lane, especially when I won my first-ever Truck race here.  But this is a tough racetrack.  And when you're racing the best of the best, you have to be perfect, you have to have a good team, and I've just got to thank Penske Racing for continuing to provide us with the top-quality cars it takes.           

KERRY THARP:  Steve Addington, congratulations today on this win, team win, pit crew was exceptional; and as Kurt alluded to, you guys made the right calls at the right time.  Talk about how that all just unfolded here today for you.           

STEVE ADDINGTON:  I feel like from the past races -- watching Kurt over the years here, he's been really fast and I felt pretty good going in here the way that we went through practice and the adjustments we made from practice to qualifying, and to go out and qualify second, so close to the pole, and then to make the adjustments to go in the race that we did.           

I felt like that we learned a lot from practice this week, and that was the big key.  But we knew he could come in here and win at Dover; it was just us giving him the pieces to do it.           

Q.  Were those last two restarts, how much of your drag racing -- because your reaction time was so good, and you just pulled away from him so quickly, and it was the difference.  How much did you kind of rely on your instincts that you've picked up through your drag racing?            

KURT BUSCH:  You know, the drag racing is a lot of fun, and there's a lot of technique in what you have to do to get your tires warm and to feel the traction when you're coming up through the gears.          

And it's important.  I love racing, no matter what it is, and the way that you can get an advantage on guys on restarts is to feel the rear traction, and if it's slip to go not be full throttle and to really baby that throttle pedal perfectly; and I felt like that was the difference maker today.  I was able to wrestle the lead away from Johnson on the outside and then on the final restart when we had the inside lane, pull away off of a great launch right out of the hole.           

So pro stock racing, I have to thank all of those guys for having fun and doing that.  But it's all a matter of how the setups up is for your oval car, but you have to get that throttle pedal just right on restarts, and I've always tried to pride myself on trying to get good restarts and not lose spots.            

Q.  Can you just talk a little about, you mentioned making the changes, especially at this place, how difficult that is to make the changes during the race, to make the correct ones.  Other teams obviously, like Stewart, couldn't do it.          

KURT BUSCH:  For us, we almost had the perfect pole position on Saturday, we just missed it by three-thousandths of a second.  The way we were communicating in our team debriefing sessions we knew we were close.  We knew we needed to fine tune a couple of things, whether it was qualifying trim or race trim; and the car had a good feel all weekend long.  Last week, just working out the new car brews and it bit us.  This week, a solid car.          

STEVE ADDINGTON:  The biggest thing is he was giving great feedback and we were just trying it figure out how to get our car going.  It would take our car a good ten, 15 laps to even settle in to where we thought we needed it to be.           

We started making some adjustments on it and brought it to life earlier in the runs and that was the key to it, getting on top of that and finding a direction.  It was probably halfway through the race where we really got a hold of what direction we needed and we got the breaks of getting stops to make those adjustments.            

Q.  Given the fact that you got around Jimmie on the outside on the next to last restart, what were the criteria that went into your decision to take bottom for the last one?            

KURT BUSCH:  The way that today went, I felt like the bottom lane was the preferred lane, and you really had to hit it perfect on that topside.          

So I was just with the percentages.  I thought the bottom lane had the best chance of winning the race down into turn one and then clearing coming off turn two.  So I'm glad I surprised Johnson by getting the lead on the outside, and then I chose the inside to -- what I thought was the preferred line.         

So it was great that we were able to jump him on both restarts and pull away.  I mean, to beat your arch nemesis, that's just icing on the cake and it's pretty sweet.             

Q.  I was going to ask you about the rubber, a lot of people had trouble with the rubber on the track -- is that something new?  We had a lot of complaints, how it made the car seem squirrely.  Is this something that's never happened before?  Is this a new sensation?  And secondly, after getting your car detained last week, do you feel vindication getting to victory lane today?           

KURT BUSCH:  You know, this tire with this car, the Car of Tomorrow, we have had to go through a lot of changes at Goodyear.  I can make this story long; I can make it short.           

What Goodyear has to do is they have to have a tire that rubbers in the racetrack so that we don't have blowouts with the right front tire.  Concrete tracks have this rubber buildup, like Martinsville, Bristol, here at Dover, where it cakes up and makes it really squirrely.  Could have been a lot worse today if the temperatures were in the 80s and the sunshine was out.  It somewhat covered it today.           

But Goodyear has done a great job but they keep bringing this tire that rubbers in the racetracks so that the tires don't have their issues.  That's really the bottom line, and I felt like we have battled through it the best today.  And it's not anything new, but today it just shows up if your car isn't exactly perfect.           

And I just have got to thank Steve for helping me stay on top of the adjustments.  And for us to win this weekend -- last week is last week, we don't need to worry about it.  We knew we were having problems with the car trying to scale it, trying to measure, it trying to get the bump stops right.  It just would not do anything for us.           

So I would not be surprised if that car is not cut in half already.           

Q.  How critical is this race today as far as the points are concerned, because you were minus 28 coming in, now you're only minus nine?            

KURT BUSCH:  We have a long journey ahead of us.  Today is just awesome.  I mean, this is sweet.  The guys are all pumped up.  They know they know how to do their jobs.  They are all tied together right at the belt loops.  And everyone is so positive with the way they feel about their position and the way that Steve is leading these guys that we are not looking back, yet we are not looking too far ahead, because this is a long Chase.          

STEVE ADDINGTON:  I just think that look, we were 28 points back, right, but if we had took one race to do that, and we knew that it if there was three guys that got out there, 17 to 28 points ahead of us, if they had one race, they missed it a little bit; then we could be right back in this thing.  But the thing about it is it brought a whole group of people back into it, not just us.  It brought that whole bunch that was from fifth on back, it brought us all back into this thing, so it's pretty cool the way that's worked out.           

We knew if we came in here and had a solid week -- Kurt preached it all week.  We just need a smooth race here and that's what our game plan was, and that's to have a smooth race and race our own race.  We did that and it worked out for us.            

Q.  I've got a silly question and a serious one.  The silly one, something in that barbeque you had in Kansas City last week and do you think you'll go back to Jack's Stack when you get through this weekend?            

KURT BUSCH:  Definitely a good MoJo all the way around.  I did a Kansas City winner's circle appearance this week and went to a Jack Stack's Barbeque 101, got my hands dirty, got the hair burned off my right arm grilling, and those guys are a lot of fun to work with; and that's just a good feeling when you're out there trying to promote a track and ticket sales, and hopefully it all comes around.            

Q.  You talked about good tracks coming up for you.  Well, Dover and Kansas really have not been good tracks for you.  Phoenix and Martinsville and Charlotte you have wins; Texas.  How important was it to kind of get a monkey off your back here and now you're looking at another track where you average like 18th or something over the years?            

KURT BUSCH:  You know what's funny, I haven't told Steve this, he'll hear it for the first time right now.  Tracks that we have notoriously struggled on, we've been doing really well.  Tracks that we are expecting to do well on, we struggle.  Kansas, I don't know, I usually struggle there, so that's the way we are going to look at it.              

Q.  Today, because you struggled here, does that add to that MoJo do you think?            

KURT BUSCH:  It's a good feel to conquer a track that I've had trouble sealing the deal be on.  We have been fast, like Steve has said.  We have been in the mix, and it's great to conquer a racetrack and to get a win at a place that I've never won before.             

Q.  Can you talk about the way you and Jimmie raced each other on the restarts and is that an example that you two have put the differences you had after Richmond behind you?            

KURT BUSCH:  You know, it was on my mind but it wasn't.  Because I had tunnel vision for victory lane today, and it didn't matter who we had to driver around, through, and out-strategy.           

Steve was on it on the pit box.  It gave me great confidence grabbing gears and shifting up through on the restarts.  We took him on the outside, we took him on the inside and we drove our Pennzoil Dodge to victory lane.  It's sweet to beat your arch nemesis, but we have such a long way to go on this Chase, that's what we are really focused on.             

Q.  With the new points system, everything is bunched up so much more.  In years past, everybody has talked about how pressure filled the Chase is, but when the points seem so much closer, how do you look at it, how do you gauge it, how do you get a mental release in between races?            

KURT BUSCH:  For me, it is still the same system.  It's based off consistency.  And you can look at nine points, with the old system; that would be right around 36 to 40 with the old system.  So 36 points before felt just the same as what nine does now.  That's the way I'm looking at it.           

And yet, there's still just so many more weeks that you hope that there's not 12 guys that are mathematically eligible when they go to Homestead.  In years past, the most we have ever had was five.  So points are tight.  Just still, though, we have only got three races out of ten.  There's still a long way to go.  That's the way I look at it.             

Q.  That said, you have that approach, but how do you keep your team like that, or is certainly everybody will probably be asking you questions, hey, you're only nine points out.  They will see it as nine; not 36, 40, and look at the guys behind you three or four points and think it's so much closer than maybe it is.  How do you maintain that with your team?  Obviously you're going to face questions because you're that close to it.            

KURT BUSCH:  I've been in this position before, and there's still plenty of weeks left.  I've gone into Atlanta with three races to go with a 90-point lead in the past, and you look at it as it's zero.  You race every race to beat as many chasers as you can, and you can't get caught up if you're behind or ahead, until you go to Homestead.  That's when they hand you your deck of cards at Homestead:  All right, do I have a good hand, or am I working from behind?  And then you react.             

Q.  You guys are obviously happy right now but around lap 190 you were very frustrated, talking on your radio about being a broken record and the car not handling; how do you keep it together, the emotional swing between then and now, and keeping the car focused to go to the front?           

KURT BUSCH:  If anybody knows me by now, talking on the radio is one thing and driving the race car is another.  Staying focused, staying after it is what I ALWAYS do.  You rely on your guys to bust out those great pit stops and make good adjustments.          

Yes, halfway is a struggle for us with the track rubbered in.  Today we came out on top, and maybe we'll find a pattern now.             

Q.  What would it mean not only to give Roger Penske his first championship in the Sprint Cup Series, and maybe Will Power wins the IRL, what would that mean for Penske, two championships in one season; have you thought about that?            

KURT BUSCH:  No, we are not going to think about it.  But it would mean a tremendous amount.           

One of the reasons why I came here to Penske Racing was to deliver the first championship on the NASCAR side in the Sprint Cup Series.  But we are only three races in, we stay focused, each and every week like we have to, and with Will Power on the open-wheel side, we wish him the best; and it's because we have the best equipment. We have a great system and we all have to thank Roger Penske.           

Q.  Does this seem like a more competitive Chase than it has in years past?           

KURT BUSCH:  I tell you, it's hard to really put one word on it but I would say it's a slippery Chase, because you can slip just one little bit and next thing you know, you are fighting from behind.  You just don't want those out-of-the-ordinary things to happen.           

I heard a heartbreak with my teammates, Keselowski, losing his power steering.  Those are those little moments that you hate throughout a Chase run, and this year, everybody is in the mix.  It's still the same real points system.  Consistency is going to win it, and we are only three weeks in.            

Q.  Earlier this season, you guys entered the Chase with one win, much like Jimmie Johnson.  But you I think were the only team that remained in the Top-10 in points I think throughout the entire first 26 races.  Entering the Chase, did you believe, even with one or zero wins, did you believe that you had a team that was capable of being in contention for the championship?            

STEVE ADDINGTON:  Oh, most definitely.  It comes from having a group of guys that are willing to do anything, and anything you ask of them.  And we do have that group.           

Were we in this position at the first of the year, midway through the season?  No.  I think that we have made changes in our organization.  I think we have made changes in our race cars.  I think we have made changes all through to put us in a position; you see the results from the two car is the same.           

The organization has changed a good bit.  And you know, we made some changes, and you've got a group of guys back there in that shop that are willing to bust their tails for you and give you what you're asking for now, and I think that's maybe the biggest difference.           

But the group of guys that work on this 22 car, like Kurt said earlier, they are joined at the hip.  They are a good group and they work good together and they will do anything for you.  All you have to is tell them and they get after it.           

KURT BUSCH:  Just to quickly add to that, all year long we have been a consistent team and we have found ourselves in the Top-10 in points.  The quick analogy would be, we can go 12 rounds with anybody.  We are going to go for that TKO at the end or the decision, so to speak.  But today we threw down the knockdown.  It's great to bring home a victory.  This year, our model and our strengths have been good qualifying, and just running consistent.            

Q.  I guess you were not surprised, despite some of the talk, that Jimmie was out of it; did you find that kind of comical, and you weren't surprised to see your arch nemesis up there with you, and what did it mean to be able to get him on those final two restarts?  Just because he's a defending champion?         

KURT BUSCH:  All the stories -- keep it going on the 48 being out of it, because it only motivates those guys.  They are strong, and they always will be.  A five-time champion just doesn't happen by accident.  Chad Knaus is a great leader and Hendrick is a great program and Johnson is a very strong and true competitor.  And to beat him today and to come out on top, this is a great victory here at Dover.
 

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Posted on: June 26, 2011 9:43 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 9:43 pm
 

Kurt Busch, Steve Addington post Sonoma comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

THE MODERATOR:  Now joining us in the press conference room is Kurt Busch.  This is Kurt's 23rd victory in 380 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts.  This is his first victory and ninth top-10 finish in 2011.  Last win came in May of 2010 at Charlotte.  This breaks a 38-race winless streak.           

Kurt, talk about your domination out there today.           

KURT BUSCH:  Thank you.  It was one of those unbelievable days where having a game plan going in, we weren't questioning it, it was just old school on how we were going to make it on two stops.  With the pace dropping off like we saw it in practice, it was going to take one of those perfect efforts to make sure we maintained our lap time throughout the run to be able to make it on the stops and not worry about tires as well as the fuel strategy side of it.           

It was great calculations by the guys.  Saving fuel is one thing, but having Shell on the hood is another.  When you have those good omens, it's great we were able to put the solid effort together in the pits, in the strategy department and out on the racetrack as well.           

The car, it drove itself.  I have all my guys to thank.  Anybody that watched the race today, hopefully they're inspired by what they saw out of a Dodge Charger to go to the showroom floor and check out their SRT8 models.           

THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions.            

Q.  You didn't pit for a long time at the start.  31 laps before you did.  Did you have a number and goal on that or did it just play out during the early part of the race?           

KURT BUSCH:  No, we had a goal.  Our fuel strategy from practice gave us the calculations we needed.  It showed that we could make it on two stops.  A lot of guys said that they couldn't make it on two stops.  So we knew that there was going to be teams pitting around lap 10, lap 15 to get those fresher tires.           

So my thought was inside the car, Well, I need to continue to push this car hard and run a lap time that won't allow those guys with fresh tires to chop off and be able to catch us.           

It was just one of those feelings where the crew was helping me, I was helping them, and the race played out perfectly for us.            

Q.  When we were here on Friday I asked you what was going to be the reasons that you won if you won.  Were those reasons the same two days later?           

KURT BUSCH:  Are you going to give me a hint on what I said?  I'll try to answer it.           

It's a combination of having the right strategy, of course, and having that forward drive coming off the corner.  I think usually, though, my thought process is to protect the racecar, not get into those big fender rubs or into the side of other people's doors and have that damage.           

Ultimately you have to protect the racecar and have that speed, then of course the right strategy.  My crew gave me that today.            

Q.  After last year's finish here and Jeff Gordon not apologizing, is winning the best revenge?           

KURT BUSCH:  Yeah, and to see him finish second was a definite boost at the end of the day, to see him come in second, and come out on top.  To beat him, he's one of the best, he always will be.  To get a good road course win, it's a big check mark on my list, 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.  We bumped up to fourth in points.  Again, it's a great day for our sponsors, for Shell, Pennzoil, Dodge, it was a great day.  If you have a Shell saver card you now save 22 cents a gallon on Wednesday.  So everybody needs to go fill up on Wednesday.            

Q.  You mentioned your crew, the fuel strategy.  What was the best thing about the car that got you around the track to win by so much?           

KURT BUSCH:  I think the best thing about the car was that it would allow me to do everything at an A level.  There's times when you can be A plus on forward drive off or on your gear ratios for saving mileage, then you would have to save on overall speed for your speed ratios.  Then you have the turn left, turn right.  My car gave me the ability to do all areas very well.           

THE MODERATOR:  We also welcome Steve Addington, crew chief.  Talk a little bit about your strategy today coming into this road course.           

STEVE ADDINGTON:  We stuck to it.  We had a game plan.  Kurt said he was going to try to get a couple of positions there at the start, gain a couple positions.  I was thinking, Okay, if we start 11th, we'll get to 7th or 8th.  Drove by, took the lead.  That made it easier on me and my guys to make a decision.  We felt like we had the speed in our car to go to our lap.  Didn't matter what everybody else was doing.  We were paying attention to what was going on, but we didn't vary from what we had planned.  That worked out the best for me in road course races, is to hit those laps we had planned.           

THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for Steve or Kurt.            

Q.  Friday I asked you to give your team a grade.  You said it was B plus to low A in most areas.  Does today's domination change your assessment to where you are at?           

KURT BUSCH:  We've been on a great run these last few weeks.  To bring it on home and get a W, yeah, there's that insurance with the win.  We bumped up in points.  It's a matter of just continuing each week to get better.  This is a stretch of our season where we hit a road course, a superspeedway, a mile-and-a-half.  We're all over the map.  Then we go to a flat one-mile track up in Loudon, New Hampshire, which is part of the Chase.  These next few weeks, you have to show your versatility if you want to be a frontrunner towards the Chase.            

Q.  Kurt, did you see any of the chaos going on around you?  What did you think of Tony Stewart's incident with Vickers, how he ended up?           

KURT BUSCH:  That's funny, I only get to see out my rear windshield.  That's the only view I get on a racer.  You get to see some replays on the Sprint Vision.  I didn't get to see what's been going on.  I've been part of that chaos in the back over the years.  I've been hit by guys going fourth or fifth.  Gives you a flat tire, you come home 32nd.           

To have a car like we did today, I had to protect it, bring it home for a good points day and wanted to get that revenge of a win over those guys.  To beat a guy like Jeff Gordon today, it's that much sweeter.            

Q.  Your teammate said you took him around the track on Friday, helped him out.  He came home with a top 10 today as well.  Talk about the level of teamwork that you have now at Penske.  You were close at Watkins Glen last year.  When did it start to feel solid on road courses for you?           

KURT BUSCH:  It's a good feeling to know that the two teams are working as closely together as they ever have.  Knowing that Brad is definitely maturing, seeing him bust off a top 10 at a road course is great.           

He went around the racetrack.  I pointed out some of the apex points, exit points, shifting points.  He absorbed it like a sponge.  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.           

Steve can jump in and say how the crew chiefs are working together.  The guys back at the shop are slapping me, giving me high-fives.  Since we turned things around, it's been great.           

STEVE ADDINGTON:  Paul has great ideas.  We sit down in each other's offices for long periods of time and talk about the direction we need to go in.  We go to lunch every single day except maybe one of the week and we talk about what direction we need to work in, what we need to work on, to make it better.  You have to push for stuff.  You go in there with a list that's this long, you have to pick out the major hitters to what we need to go fast right now.           

That's what we've done.  It's great to have a guy over there that is a racer, just wants to make our racecars better along with me.  That's been the big key, is we push for things that we need to go fast right now.            

Q.  Kurt, talk a little bit more about that retribution, how NASCAR has said to the drivers to settle it on the course.  Have you had a scrum with somebody so far this season and how did you settle it?           

KURT BUSCH:  Yeah, I mean, it's great that you don't have to look over your shoulder and have NASCAR come down on you with a big fine or a penalty when you want to rough it up on the track.           

This sport was based off of guys roughing each other up.  That's that good old short-track racing that we see, the good old door slamming, bumper to bumper.  It's the heritage of our sport.  Times had gotten interesting in the '90s and 2000s on driver etiquette, what you had to do to race.  I'm an old school kind of guy.  I laugh and joke with my friends saying, I should have grew up in the '80s, I would have been a much better guy, because I'm not politically correct.            

Q.  You ran here a lot early in your career, southwest races.  Did that history make today even more meaningful for you and was there a time back in those days when you could have pictured yourself winning a Sprint Cup race on this track?           

KURT BUSCH:  Thank you for asking me that question.  I love the grass-roots racing, and the way that Infineon has supported that.  Back in the days when I ran the Southwest Tour race, that is the Saturday support race.  Teams and crew chiefs and driver/owners are watching to see what's going on out on the track, who is passing where.  I raced here '98, placed third, won it in '99.           

I always knew I could win on a road course.  It took me a few years to get it together on the Cup side.  Even in 2002 I might have had a top-five finish when I was with Roush Racing early on.  I've always loved road racing.  I've just struggled to put it together at the end of the race, whether it's run-ins with other drivers or running out of fuel.  But I've even had the chance to stand on the podium at Daytona during the Grand American Rolex Series 24-Hour race.  I love road racing.  It's fun.  I've done drag racing.  I definitely want to stick with the NASCAR side of it as long as I can.           

Q.  You've said it was especially sweet to beat Jeff Gordon today.  Getting back to that race last year, he apologized to several people for his actions during the race last year but not to you.  He said today that he didn't feel he owed you an apology because you had run him off the track on a restart.  Is that your recollection of that, too?           

KURT BUSCH:  Not at all.            

Q.  What was your recollection of that?           

KURT BUSCH:  My recollection was a flat right rear tire.  I have an in-car camera from somebody else that proves he drove straight through us.  That's last year.  We got him back at Martinsville in October.  It wasn't my normal style to pay somebody back like that.  I just usually race somebody a lot harder when they step over the line.  Him and I have always had a great relationship where we're genuine racers with each other.  I respect him.  He's third on our all-time list.  He's a four-time champion.  I'm not going to get sideways with a guy like that but I'm going to let him know he can't walk all over me.            

Q.  Can you describe what it's like to go across the finish line.  We can only imagine what you're feeling.           

KURT BUSCH:  It's a great sense of satisfaction.  All the hard work from the guys back at the race shop where it starts.  The times that we've tested.  The execution here at the racetrack this weekend.  You see it all come together.  You know when you have a shot at victory you have to block those moments out and get that car to the victory line.  To get the checkered flag, do some doughnuts, to drive in reverse around this road course, I got choked up.  It was a great feeling to know that I've won on a road course.            

Q.  Were you surprised that Jeff came to Victory Lane to congratulate you?  When you have a car as good as your car was today, isn't that like the ultimate way to play offense because people can't really catch you to screw around with you like they can when you're having to come up through the field.           

KURT BUSCH:  Yeah, it was nice for Jeff to come up to Victory Lane.  It's nice and convenient from pit road to walk by and say hi.  It was just one of those moments where it's like, Hey, we do respect each other.  To have a dominant car, he knew it would be tough for him to catch us today.  And to have that good of a car, that's where you feed off the crew.  Hey, I'm going to go out there early, I told Steve, and try to gain some positions.  We were still unsure if we were going to make it on a two-stop strategy.  But with the lap times that we could run, we could maintain pace above those guys doing the short pit.  We've seen that a lot this year.  Steve can jump in and say some things about it.  Guys are short pitting and gaining a lot of track position.           

STEVE ADDINGTON:  That was the key.  When he got the lead from the 11 car, we set the pace that we were setting, I was watching the car on TV, we weren't jumping curves and stuff like that.  We're not absolutely pushing the car to the limit is what I was thinking to myself.  I just felt, we'll do our thing.  These guys are pitting.            

It makes you nervous.  You're stomach gets all knotted up.  You feel like you're getting behind.  Felt like the car was good enough if we did get caught behind, what he did at the beginning of the race, as smooth as he drove that car all day long, we could get back if we gave up anything.
 

 
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