Ford Performance NASCAR: Kurt Busch Talladega Press Conference

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Geico 500 Advance – Talladega Superspeedway

Friday, May 5, 2017

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion, held a Q&A session with the media prior to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Talladega Superspeedway.  Here’s a complete transcript:

KURT BUSCH – No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion – HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR SHR FORD GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND?  “I have a good bit of confidence with the whole group, from Tony Gibson all the way down to guys that work on these cars.  Stewart-Haas builds great restrictor-plate cars and to have a winning car from the Daytona 500 stuck in a museum that’s the best feeling in the world still – to have that issue – and this car is the car we ran at the Shootout down at Daytona, so it’s got track time this year on it and the guys took the car back after Daytona and polished up on her and here we are.  It shook down really well in the practice session this morning.  All the Fords wanted to get together and run some laps and record data, and it didn’t matter which car led or which car followed, we just wanted to have all the Fords together, so it’s great to have that teamwork and that camaraderie from Stewart-Haas and Penske and there were Roush cars mixed in with RPM cars, so it was really nice to see the top nine on the speed charts all have a Ford emblem.  It’s neat to see that teamwork.”

DOES WINNING THE 500 GIVE YOU MORE CONFIDENCE ON A PLATE TRACK THAN YOU HAD BEFORE?  “Confidence might not be the word.  There are so many different things that come up at restrictor plate races that can help you win or take the chance away of winning.  I came here with a thought process of, ‘we won the most recent restrictor-plate race,’ so that means we know what we’re doing at Stewart-Haas Racing to find that competitive advantage, and we should have a great shot at winning this weekend.  So this step blends into the confidence side of it on having good cars and I’ve done my homework the best that I can to review tape and watch different trends from Talladega versus Daytona, and you just hope you’re in the right place at the right time.  That’s how Daytona unfolded for us and it’s easier said than done, of course.  You just have to work through all the different inconsistencies that pop up and a lot of it is just being in the right place at the right time and not getting caught up in another wreck from somebody else.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ENCUMBERED WIN RULE?  “It was a big surprise this week.  I had to definitely look up the word encumbered to find out what that meant.  It reminded me of a word that we had a couple years ago with Joey Logano involved in it and it was quintessential, so we’re all learning through this.  Yes, this is a big moment in our sport, but, for us and the way that everything works, you always want the guy that won the race to be the guy with the trophy and in this case the car didn’t pass tech afterwards, so we’re in unchartered water and I’ll let smarter people handle how we navigate through all this.”

HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE SEASON?  “For us on the 41 car, we’ve almost gotten a top 10 at half the races so far.  This will be our 10th race, so if we get a top 10 this weekend that means we’ve been in the top 10 half the time.  We had a couple alternator bugs and issues that we had to work through on the west coast trip.  We missed the setup at Fontana.  Martinsville was better this time around, we just didn’t seal the deal.  We got caught up in a wreck there.  Overall, when you win the Daytona 500 it can carry you for a lifetime.  It can carry you for a season and so for the first 10 races, we’ve had a great deal of success and we’re very happy about that with our Ford, with Haas, with Monster and for everybody on the team.  Ring-sizing was this week at Stewart-Haas Racing for everybody to get their ring sizes measured up to get a Daytona 500 championship ring, so it’s been pretty special so far to start the year.”

KANSAS IS NEXT WEEK.  HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT SINCE IT’S PART OF THE PLAYOFFS IN THE FALL?  “Anytime that we have a track that’s in the spring portion of our schedule and it matches up with a Playoff race in the fall it’s very important.  We’ll definitely have a full run log of what we want to accomplish and understand and Kansas is in a unique spot too because it’s the week before we head to Charlotte for the All-Star and for the 600, so you’re trying to gather as much data through those few weeks because Charlotte is a very important race in the Playoffs as well.”

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