Friday, June 14, 2013

Michigan qualifying

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
QUICKEN LOANS 400
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST QUALIFYING DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 14, 2013

KURT BUSCH PUTS CHEVY ON FRONT ROW

BROOKLYN, MI – June 14, 2013 – With qualifying speeds topping the 200 mph mark at Michigan International Speedway, Kurt Busch powered his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Seta Chevrolet SS to a front row starting spot for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. With a speed of 201.879 mph in 35.665 seconds, Busch was the second fastest qualifier in the 43-car field and earned the outside front row starting spot for the 200-lap, 400-mile race in the Irish Hills of Michigan.

Two other Team Chevy drivers followed close behind, giving Chevrolet three of the top five positions in the line-up.  Kasey Kahne qualified third in his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS and Paul Menard was fourth fastest in his No. 27 Menards/CertainTeed Chevy SS. 

Other Team Chevy members starting in the top-20 are Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS – 10th, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard “Man of Steel” Chevy SS – 12th, Tony Stewart, in a back-up No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil Chevrolet SS – 14th, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS – 17th, Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy SS – 18th, and Bobby Labonte, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet SS – 20th.

Carl Edwards (Ford) was the pole winner and Aric Almirola (Ford) was fifth to round out the Top 5

The Quicken Loans 400 takes the green flag on Sunday, June 16th at 1:00 p.m. ET, and will be aired live on TNT.


KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/SERTA CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SECOND:

YOU’VE HAD FAST CARS ALL YEAR. TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR SUNDAY’S RACE AT MICHIGAN
“Our qualifying lap was close. Carl Edwards went out early and posted a number that was right in the range that we thought we could run, and we came up just a bit shy with a little tightness in (Turns) 1 and 2 and maybe I was a little loose getting into (Turn) 3. When you’re splitting hairs like that, and you come home second and it’s like, ‘no worries’. We could have made a lap like that and come home 15th or so. So, it’s great that we are transitioning into this phase of the season. This team has done a tremendous job back at the shop with the shaker rig, the pull-down rig; tying that into the wind-tunnel notes. There are a couple of guys working on this car that are just doing a phenomenal job; better than I’ve seen at a lot of places with the combination of speed. And it’s cool because in our team de-briefs afterwards, we can honestly all look at each other and not have to sweep any information under the rug. We can all understand what led to what and why we didn’t deliver a better performance. And it’s just great to be on the same page with all these guys. It’s just a good feeling. To be on the front row four times this year; it’s all happened since Texas. It was like that race there just turned the switch on for us, and it’s been a great ride. So we’re just going to keep rolling. To be second, that’s qualifying, now we’ve just got to step into the race and that’s where we’ve got to close the deal. We haven’t been as strong as we’ve needed to be in the last section of the race, like after the last pit stop or with two pit stops to go, that’s where we have to find a little bit more improvement. But otherwise, these Furniture Row guys are phenomenal, and we’re knocking on the door.”

YOU WERE CLOSE IN QUALIFYING. HOW CLOSE DO YOU THINK YOUR SET-UP WILL BE FOR THE RACE?  IS IT AS EQUALLY CLOSE?
“We’ll have tomorrow morning to shakedown this general set-up tomorrow. And at 9:30 in the morning, it’s going to be so fast it will be hard to get a perfect read. Because on Sunday, the checkered flag is going to drop at 3:30 or 4 o’clock on Sunday and that’s when we need to find a little bit more speed. And so we’ll have another set-up change to give the car tomorrow morning, and then we’ll decide from there what we’re going to run the second practice with, and really hone in on it. So we have a nice procedure and it’s a good game plan.”

HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM’S ASSOCIATION WITH RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING HAS HELPED THIS IMPRESSIVE RUN THAT YOU’VE BEEN ON OF LATE?
“Well, it’s vital to be teamed-up with a big program to know that they’re working behind the scenes on all the speed that they’re trying to find. And then it bleeds over with the things that we have found and have distributed to Richard Childress Racing. So you always hope there’s that nice two-way street. And everybody at RCR has been rooting us on and we’re there trying to push them and there are new things that we’re bringing to the race track and each of the teams are working on little things. They consider us a fourth car. And so it’s great to have those teammate notes, so to speak, with (Kevin) Harvick and (Paul) Menard and (Jeff) Burton. That way I can look at notes and understand things quickly. When it comes down to more of the engineering-side, and those guys being able to communicate, and it’s the alliance that we have. It’s what we pay for. And it’s great to see it work.”

LOOKING AT SUNDAY’S RACE, WOULD QUALIFYING ON THE POLE BE ANY DIFFERENT FROM STARTING SECOND?
“Well, there is always the feather in the cap and the morale boost that it gives you. And when the road guys are done with their job and they turn it over to the pit crew guys, those are the guys that we need a little bit more from right now. And if we could have been in that first pit box, that would have helped with our overall pit road speed time. That way you don’t have to accelerate out of your pit box to go and trigger that line to lock yourself in that position. So, we’ll still find a great pit box with our pit selection, but that’s really the biggest difference. Outside-pole, inside-pole, Carl (Edwards) will choose outside or inside. We won’t know until the warm-up laps on what lane we’re going to be in. So, the front row is the best spot to be. And the first pit box is even better. So we just came up a little shy on that. But overall, to be up front and to have clean air on our car early in the race will be a definite benefit.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED THIRD

TALK YOUR QUALIFYING LAP AND ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR SUNDAY:
“It was good.  The track is really good right now.  It’s lost some of that black color that it has to it.  It’s turned grey, but it still has a lot of grip and it’s smooth.  I actually look forward to more rubber getting on the track tomorrow morning in practices and then through the race tomorrow.  Looking to Sunday should be a good show.  It’s a cool track.  I always enjoy racing here.  It’s fast right now.”

YOU HAVE BEEN COMING ON STRONG.  A GOOD RUN HERE AND A WIN AT MICHIGAN WILL DO WONDERS FOR YOUR CHASE AND CHAMPIONSHIP ASPIRATIONS:
“Yeah I mean it’s all about trying to get into that Chase and being consistent, trying to win races when we can.  It all helps to make the Chase.  We are pushing hard for that.  We had a tough break last week right at the start of the race we had to fix that problem.  Ran the rest of the race and the team did an awesome job; the guys have been doing a great job. I screwed up at Dover and lost some points there.  Charlotte was good; Darlington was good, we are right there so yeah we want to run well on Sunday.  Won here, it’s been a while now, but we won here a long time ago.  It felt good.  Hopefully, we can do that again.”

WITH THE SPEEDS HERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO SORT OF PAMPER THE ENGINE AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT WITH ENDURANCE AND ALL THAT IN MIND?
“I think that the Hendrick Engine company they do a great job of preparing and being ready for these races. So we know where we are at, how many laps we can run prior to the race and we have a ton that we can still go.  I feel really good about it.  I feel good about the reliability and all that.  We just go for it.  I think you race as hard as you can the whole race and try to keep track position.  Passing is going to be difficult at times and then other times I think on longer runs you are going to be able to move around and get by cars fairly easy I think if you have really good speed.”

LAST JUNE MARCO (AMBROSE) RAN THE RECORD QUALIFYING LAP HERE.  THERE WAS SOME TALK THIS WEEK THAT RECORD MIGHT FALL AGAIN.  THE GUYS AT THE TOP OF THE CHART CAME CLOSE BUT DIDN’T GET IT. COULD YOU JUST TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TODAY AND 12 MONTHS AGO:
“Well, I would say between the tire and the track surface maybe losing a little bit of grip. I would say the tire probably plays a pretty big part in that.  To come as close as Carl (Edwards) came today, Kurt (Busch) was right there and then we were behind him.  To come as close as those guys did to the qualifying record that shows how fast the car is here.  The race the speeds will be up for sure.  I remember qualifying that first time here you didn’t have to lift you could just back out of the throttle halfway then go back down.  It was a lot easier than today to do that.  There was just more overall grip in the race track and the tire that first time we came here.  Those things have changed a little bit, but the track feels really good, really smooth, it’s opening up.  It will definitely open up more throughout tomorrow.”

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING TODAY ABOUT JASON LEFFLER’S DEATH EARLIER IN THE WEEK.  CURIOUS WHAT YOUR TAKE IS ON SORT OF THE STATE OF SAFETY AT THE DIRT TRACKS AND SOME OF THE SMALLER TRACKS?
“I think Jason was a really good friend of mine.  It’s really just unbelievable to see that going on.  Just watching social media throughout the night, kind of seeing where it was going and then to know that he had passed was heartbreaking.  It was really tough.  For myself I just to this point I’ve thought more about…I’ve known him since ’99.  We did a lot together.  At Indianapolis and then as he moved to Charlotte I followed him down to Charlotte not long after.  He was a guy…he was a big part of me getting to drive for Steve Lewis.  Jason and I became friends so that was a big part of my career was driving for Steve and we went on that way.  He was always calling and trying to help me drive those midgets and do whatever he could because he was so good in them.  I just think about that.  I think about over the last couple of years the time I’ve spent with him, whether it’s in the winter time and we are enjoying ourselves or at the track.  Last weekend we traveled together.  He was in a great place.  He was super excited this week he was running four out of five nights in his sprint car for a guy in Pennsylvania who gave him great equipment and a great opportunity.  He was loving it.  He was at our shop Monday morning working out; he had Charlie (his son) with him and was working on something’s for his sprint car and stuff.  See him and talk to him it’s just unreal that he is not with us anymore. Freak things happen.  It was just a tough wreck the way it all happened.  I don’t know as far as our teams go I talked to all of them yesterday.  We do as much as we can with sprint cars with the safety with trying to have the best seats just to contain you left, right, shoulders so all of our cars have that.  All of our drivers do and just keep as fresh of parts in the cars as you can.  Things still happen its racing.  It’s basically anything we do, anyone of us does each day it can happen.  I just feel for his family and his son.”

YOU ARE AROUND DALE EARNHARDT JR.’S TEAM A LOT DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT TEAM IS READY TO WIN A RACE NOW?
“Yeah I feel like he’s always like every week he is right there. He is one of the guys that he has got speed.  When he won here last year that was his last win, he could win here again.  He was really good here last year; nobody was even close to him.  Yeah, they are always right there they are consistent they are in that top-10 and if they just hit on it perfect he could win here on Sunday.”
 

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