Friday, February 25, 2011

Phoenix Practice Quotes from Kurt Busch, Edwards, Stewart and Johnson

Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch 
KURT BUSCH ON WHY HE WAS ALMOST A HALF-SECOND FASTER THAN EVERYONE IN THE FIRST PRACTICE: “What’s interesting right now is that we have the ability to do what we want in qualifying practice. You’re seeing guys in race trim and guys in qualifying trim. We went out in qualifying trim and I think that I got a draft or at least the air was broken up when I chased Bowyer down right in front of me and that might have added to our car running a little bit faster. The only other car that we saw in qualifying trim was my teammate Brad Keselowski and Jeff Burton and those guys didn’t get the perfect lap in. Our car was just perfect right off the bat. It qualified third here last fall and it’s the setup that we started with today. The second run that I made was much slower. The track seems to be real fast in the beginning and then it slows up. Our goal was to go out right away, post a fast lap in case qualifying is rained out.”

CARL EDWARDS ON PHOENIX AFTER THE FIRST PRACTICE: “It’s good. The tire seems to work really well. The cars are fast and I’m just glad to be here. I love racing here. This is fun. It’s Subway weekend. We’ve got the Subway Ford Fusion and a Ford Mustang that’s pretty fast on the Nationwide side. I’m excited to race here.”

EDWARDS ON WHETHER THIS IS THE REAL START TO THE SEASON: “I think that’s one way to look at it. Auto racing is about driving down into the corner and managing the throttle and the brakes and the grip of the tires. I feel like that’s what racing is about. Now, you can’t argue that cars running two-by-two at 202 miles an hour at Daytona, that’s racing too. It is a different style of racing. That style of racing we only have four times a year. The other 32 times they are races like this, so this really is the style of track that you need to be good at and this is the start of the season that you can control more. That race on Sunday, that’s a tough one. That’s a tough one to be in control of your own destiny and your own fate.”

EDWARDS ON WHETHER HE FEELS LIKE THE FAVORITE THIS WEEK BECAUSE OF WINNING LAST YEAR: “I didn’t know there were only 40 cars here. That’s too bad. I’m pretty excited to be here. I feel like we ran so well in the Nationwide car and so well in the Cup car at the last event. I don’t know if I’m a favorite. I’m planning on winning the race. I don’t know if it’s gonna work out like that, but the biggest thing is we’d love to get the win in the Subway car. That would be huge. I don’t feel like there’s a track in the first half of the season at least that we have a better shot at winning. I have a lot of confidence here is the way to put it. As far as 40 cars, I don’t know the reasons exactly for what’s behind that, but I hope that we can have a full field at Las Vegas.”

Edwards Jumping Off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas

TONY STEWART ON HOW PRACTICE GONE AND ANY BIG DIFFERENCE WITH THE NEW NOSE: “I don’t think we’ve noticed anything with the new nose so far. I think the tire is a little different — it has more grip so it’s really hard to compare apples to apples anymore at this point.”

STEWART ON WHEN HE THINKS HE'LL HAVE A GOOD GAME PLAN ON HOW THE NEW PIT STOPS ARE GOING TO WORK: “We don’t talk about it. It’s still just when it’s full you go. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s not really my department. You have to ask the pit stop coaches and you would have to talk to the fuel guys and the crew chiefs — they’re the ones that are going to know how long they think it’s going to be until they get it all sorted out.”

Johnson will have a layover in Vegas 
JIMMIE JOHNSON TRYING TO EXPLAIN HIS SUCCESS AT PHOENIX: “It’s weird because in the Nationwide Series this was one of my worst tracks. We came back in the Cup Series and things have been a lot better for me. In the past this wasn’t a good track for Hendrick; so I think over the last six or seven years our company and the drivers at Hendrick have learned how to get this track down and what we need, along with the crew chiefs. It’s a fun track. You have two different ends and drive them differently with different banking in (Turns) 1 and 2 than in (Turns) 3 and 4. I run well on quirky tracks. This is one of those tracks. It’s low-grip, it’s odd-shaped, you can’t get the car perfect on either end of the track and you’ve got to make up for it and slide around yourself.”

JOHNSON LOOKING FORWARD TO VEGAS: “Vegas, the last few times, has had so much grip between the re-surfacing they did a few years back and the progressive banking and the new tires that we take to the track. So when I think of Vegas, I think of pulling (his belts) tight and taking a deep breath, especially in qualifying. You go out there and lay it all on the line (during qualifying). And in the race, you’re not tiptoeing around there either. In the race you’re laying it on pretty hard.”

JOHNSON ON THE HENDRICK TEAMS ALL TRING DIFFERENT TINGS THE FIRST FEW WEEKS: “We haven’t really thought about points that much. We certainly didn’t finish (Daytona 500) where we wanted to but there is so much racing left that we’re not concerned with that yet. We’re just more interested in what we worked on during the off-season and if it’s going to produce speed.

“All four teams are trying a few different things. We feel we can cover more territory that way. And then the fact that we have great drivers and crew chiefs, we can find our way back after a practice session and we’ll take what’s working from each car and apply it and hopefully get to the end result faster and have our cars as fast as possible.

By the end of these practice sessions to day or Vegas or soon to come. We’re working hard. There is a lot that has changed with the concept of our car and the way our cars are set-up and the set-ups underneath them. We worked really hard over the off-season to come back and have the speed that we should have.”

JOHNSON ON WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE OF STAYING OUT WEST LIKE HE IS THIS WEEK NOT NOT GOING HOME: “I don’t think so. For us, we realize that the season is long; and for myself and my family to take breaks in the action between races is important. Granted we just got started, so we don’t really feel like we need one, but we’ll take this chance to spend a couple of days and have some fun with some friends. But then actually Wednesday, I have to be in Las Vegas. Lowe’s has a big thing they do out there each year and there’s two days of work at Lowe’s before we go to the race track. So it is somewhat of a work week for me.”

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