We are now joined by our third place finisher, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Serta Chevrolet. Good run for you out there, Kurt. Great finish. Talk about that race. “Yeah, it was awesome with Todd Berrier’s pit strategy to get us back up to the front. The way the race played out for us at the end, I was looking at the bumper of the 16 car going down the back straightaway with a run, and he was right on the 99 and I was able to pass both Biffle and Edwards on the top side as well as dodge the wrecking 22 and 11. And right now they’ve got us scored as third. We’ll see where they post things here at the end.
But just real ecstatic. I mean, I was just telling everybody, this is what it’s all about. Persevering, digging hard, and bringing it right back up to the front when it counts, and so you can race 400 miles and be leading every lap like Kyle was, and I had a chance to pass him for the lead on that final restart, and I took it.
Normally I’d have followed him and pushed him and drafted with him and tried to break away from the field. But I went to his outside, and it was a move that held him up, and it took his momentum away, gave me a shot for clean air, and up on the high side, and just a little too tight. The car just was a little tight on that top side, couldn’t quite get the power down and couldn’t get in front of him and Logano to seal the deal. But they were fast, and that was my one shot to win and I took it, and I’m glad the 18 got back to victory lane.
It’s an amazing race, how the low groove comes in, even the apron of 3 and 4, the middle, the high side. We were calling it lane 5 all the way up by the wall. That’s the Harvick lane.
It was great watching everybody race and putting on a good show, and I think the cars performed well here. For our Furniture Row Chevy SS, another top 5, this is what it’s all about, just keep plugging away and surprising people.”
Kurt, obviously you’re driving for a different team and different car than your brother Kyle. Nevertheless are you exchanging technical information with each other? “No, no information is ever exchanged as far as team setup notes or any privacy type material. But what we do talk about is tracks and trends with the groove and the racing line, like the braking point at Watkins Glen or any short track where there’s a bump, just general terms. We’ve always been tight that way in communication, but we made a rule, or at least I did since I got into Cup Series a few years before him, that our information is ours and yours is yours.”
Can you just talk about how much your team has worked to try to get to this point, being away in Denver, it’s like even though you guys call yourself the 4 Childress team, there’s still been a lot of changes made over the last few months to make this a contender. “Yeah, Joe Garone, the general manager, he’s the most hands on GM I’ve ever met, more so than Penske Racing, Roush Racing, and the way that he operates, he’s in charge of all departments. And he stays with his thumb on top of it. So Joe Garone deserves a lot of credit. Barney Visser has supplied us with the funds to do so. We’re teamed up with Childress, that gives us motors, it gives us chassis, but then it’s up to the crew guys to find little things every week when we’re bolting cars together, and one of our main guys that won’t ever get credit, Cole Pearn, he’s our lead engineer. He’s probably the smartest guy that’s applying numbers to the car. Him and Todd Berrier work side by side. Todd likes the mechanical side, Cole likes the engineering side.”
What kind of instructions was Rick Carelli giving you in that last part of the fracas at the very end there? “Yeah, I saw all the safety vehicles. We slowed down to about a 5 mile per hour pace and he said come down pit road. I guess I was supposed to go down to Turn 1 and turn into pit road.”
How about during the last five, ten laps when things were kind of winding down? “Carelli is awesome. He’s a racer himself; he’s been Southwest Tour Champion, Winston West winner, Truck Series. He was a legend on the West Coast, and to have him as my spotter, it’s an amazing feeling to have somebody you respect, somebody that you looked up to as a legend helping you, telling you, hey, you’re a legend. I’m like, no, I’m just Kurt driving around in circles. And just the chemistry between us is awesome. I’ve never had a racer as much as he is be the spotter.”
So basically what was he saying when all that was going on up front there at the last? “We were so busy with our 16 and 99 and then he’s just like, watch out for the cars. I mean, he knows that it’s hard to predict when people are wrecking which way they’re going to go. But we were worried about our initial bubble around our car.”
For those of us that were sitting here either watching on TV or trying to watch on the track, can you describe what it looked like from your window when that threesome between your brother and Hamlin and Logano was going on? It just looked like mayhem. ”Yeah, I’m trying to draw up the cutest analogy to describe all this. You know, when the Kentucky Derby is coming down the stretch, you’ve got guys that were front runners all day and then you’ve got strong closers, which front runners would have been Kyle and Logano. The closers today would have been guys with tires such as Hamlin, Edwards. And when you have the clash of your pace such as Logano is going to be fast overall, where Hamlin is going to be fast in the corners with fresh tires, it’s just chaos, and you hope that when you clear somebody that your momentum will allow you to draft with them and that you’re not stuck side by side drafting and slowing yourselves down and waiting for the guy behind you to bonsai in there. It’s a free for all. It’s like here’s a quick run again; it’s like you see a shoot around NBA game and you’ve got everybody shooting basketballs at the same hoop, and all the balls are heading towards the hoop and some make it in and some bounce even though they were going to make it. It’s just crazy. There are just cars everywhere and you go for it. You can race 400 miles here and it comes down to the final restart every time.”