|Kurt Busch looking very racey with his Ricky Bobby Talladega Nights paint scheme|
TALK ABOUT HAVING WONDER BREAD ON THE CAR THIS WEEKEND. WE WERE WONDERING WHAT YOU PUT ON YOUR WONDER BREAD?
“It’s a wonderful situation. The fun about this is it’s a re-launch for Wonder Bread. They were in bankruptcy earlier this year and the name was traded with the different companies and so with Wonder back on the shelves it’s a great advertisement for them to team up with us to do some marketing together with the power of NASCAR. NASCAR is a brand that can move and teach people about how loyal to be to a brand. So with Wonder Bread and NASCAR here at Talladega it’s fun, it’s exciting. It branches off of the ME car that I ran here last year. That was with the Armed Forces Foundation and creating awareness for PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and I think that sparked some of the Wonder Bread executives on ‘hey Talladega, Wonder Bread, with Talladega Nights let’s do it and Kurt’s our guy’. It’s very tasteful re-launch of a brand.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CHANNEL ‘RICKY BOBBY’ AGAIN?
“It will be fun. This is more serious this time around. Here we are in the Chase the No. 78 car has had a successful season. Barney Visser (team owner) we have to thank him for allowing all this to happen. I wish we could’ve won earlier in the year. Which would have mean the Furniture Row Chevy could go to Victory Lane, Barney could have enjoyed that and then he would have been more open to releasing his car for marketing opportunities such as this. I think we had to turn down a few different opportunities just because Barney (Visser) the main sponsor and the owner didn’t want to have another brand in Victory Lane. He wanted to have his brand. So Talladega it’s one where there is less of a percentage or is there more of a percentage of a chance to go to Victory Lane, but just the fun in all this to have Exit 10 marketing help us put all this together with the guys at Wonder Bread and the Zimmerman Agency it’s just a fun opportunity to make a strong impact with advertising.”
WILL YOU STILL USE SOME LINES FROM THE MOVIE DURING THE RACE OR ARE YOU GOING TO BE MORE CHASE FOCUSED?
“We are Chase focused and that is what we are here to do is to run well, run successful. There might be some slips of the tongue. ‘I want to go fast and slingshot engaged’ yes, but we are not going to have the full lines rehearsed like we have. It’s just going to be off memory on watching the movie.”
IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU AT A PLACE LIKE TALLADEGA WHERE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN TO REALLY MAKE UP GROUND IN THE POINTS?
“Yeah we were hoping at this point in the Chase that we would be within 30 points of the lead. That is not the case. So this is a go for broke weekend for two reasons. One is we have Wonder Bread on the car. They want to be up front, they want to be seen, they want to experience the return on investment on sponsoring the car. Secondly we need to go for the win. We need to have nothing but trying to try to win happen and get ourselves back in this Chase if we are going to have a shot at it.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE TALLADEGA NIGHTS?
“Well the movie over the years the more you watch it the more you laugh at it. It’s a self-deprecating humorous approach about our sport of NASCAR. But at the end of the day the way we have always viewed NASCAR how powerful it is as a machine to team up with and to advertise it’s because of the loyalty of the fan base. To have Wonder Bread back on the shelves and easily accessible at your local grocer that is what we are here to do it to have people see the logo, see the bread and go pick it up and try it out. I grew up with it out on the West Coast.”
ARE THERE ANYMORE MOVIES ON YOUR BUCKET LIST THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SOMEDAY?
“I think we need to get with Bojangles and do the chicken suit if we are going to do Stroker Ace, but this is probably the extent of it. This is a nice tasteful promotion. It’s a nice pat on the back to what the AFF (Armed Forces Foundation) helped me do with the ME car and with the Days of Thunder car when we ran City Chevrolet a couple of months back. A company, an organization such as Flower’s saw the activation and the fun we were having with it and said those guys can do us right and we need to team up with them.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SCENE FROM TALLADEGA NIGHTS?
“It’s got to be either the beginning when he jumps in the laughing clown malt liquor car or the table scene when it’s the prayer that has got to be the best. Or it’s when Cal Naughton, Jr. is asking how to figure out how to run the TV and the radio at the same time because he likes to party.”
HAS TODD BERRIER (CREW CHIEF) BOUGHT INTO THIS?
“I don’t think (Todd) Berrier has bought into this as much as Nick Harrison has done in the past, but you might see him slip up and have fun with it. He’s got the crew uniform on, but again here we are we are in the Chase and we have some work to do.”
DO YOU HANG ONTO THE UNIFORM?
“Oh absolutely we will hang onto the one put it right there next to the other fun advertising that we have done over the years. I thought we were only going to have one, but we are going to have three suits. So I know we are going to be auctioning one off for charity and all the proceeds will be going to the Armed Forces Foundation.”
DO YOU WEAR THEM AT DIFFERENT TIMES DURING THE WEEKEND?
“Yeah, I will have a suit for each day. There is a Friday suit, a Saturday suit and a Sunday suit.”
HOW DID YOU CONVINCE BARNEY (VISSER) THAT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?
“I think that it took time to see the other organizations try to knock on the door and for lack of a better term penetrate him into ‘hey this is a good idea we want to advertise with you, we want to be part of your team because you guys are running well’. I think with the bills adding up this year with the Generation-6 car he came in over budget, plus he never said no to any test session. He never said no to any expenditure that Todd Berrier (crew chief) was asking him for and maybe he saw this as an opportunity to gain some of the money back. But in my mind this is an advertising campaign that is worth a certain value. If you want to advertise with a Cup team the money is at least a half a million dollars when you do that this day and age. So that is a significant amount of money, but it’s also going to be a significant amount of exposure for Wonder Bread this weekend here at Talladega Superspeedway.”
WHEN YOU SAY TASTEFUL A LOT OF PEOPLE, I MEAN A GREAT MOVIE AND FUNNY, BUT MAYBE IT’S NOT THE MOST FLATTERING PORTRAIT OF THE STOCK CAR INDUSTRY…
“That is why Wonder Bread with their launch this weekend is what we are trying to do as a bone fide sponsor agreement. It’s not really themed from the movie. This is a re-launch of a brand.”
IF THE STANDINGS DON’T GET TOO JUMBLED THIS WEEKEND IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOO FAR AWAY STILL?
“Anything can happen any weekend. This being Talladega, yes, this one has the most percentage chance of shaking up the standings. Martinsville, it’s just as easy to clobber somebody as it is at Talladega. Then you have motor failures. That kept our defending champion out of making the Chase this year even though his run toward the Chase wasn’t as strong as it needed to be. Anything can happen any weekend with points when there is 43 for a win and one for last place.”
“We are all doing this for a good reason and that is the re-launch of a brand. Wonder Bread is back and it’s fun to have a black race car all year long painted white. It’s a big difference, it’s a big look, it’s exciting and I think the fans know that at Talladega the Talladega Nights movie is part of the way of life here at the track.”
THE TEST AT CHARLOTTE EARLIER THIS WEEK AND NASCAR KIND OF LOOKING AT WAYS THEY WANT TO CHANGE AERODYNAMICALLY THE CAR. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HOW WOULD YOU LIKE THE CAR TO HANDLE AS WE LOOK TOWARD 2014?
“We need to see more of how the IROC (International Race of Champions) cars handled in traffic and you saw passing. There were only 12 cars in that series, but it provided great excitement. It gave us a platform to race each other hard, side-by-side and produce a show that was only for those quick 50, 60 lap races, but those cars seemed to drive well in traffic. That is what we have to find.”
HOW DOES NASCAR NEED TO MODIFY THE CURRENT CAR TO GET TO THAT?
“There are people smarter than me to try to help out with that. If I knew I would implement those changes.”
TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GOT THIS WONDER BREAD THING STARTED. FANS ARE REALLY HAVING FUN WITH IT:
“We were given a call by Flower the parent company that Wonder Bread was re-launching. They wanted to team up with what I had done in the past with the ME car and Talladega Nights and we created that stage for a big organization to jump on and advertise with. It came from the past experiences.”
HOW DID THE FIRST ONE COME ABOUT?
“That was all the Armed Forces Foundation that was their brain child to draw more attention to the foundation and what PTSD really means and the movie exemplifies that when he thinks he’s on fire he has to go through rehab and then he comes back to be successful. It’s very similar to what I’ve gone through the last 18 months.”
DOES IT SEEM LIKE THE CHASE IF HALF OVER? ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FACT THAT THE END IS THAT CLOSE?
“The end sets in with your mind when you are officially eliminated from the championship, but at the same time I saw our mediocre finish last week as a true definition of our season. We are seventh overall in the points. We haven’t won a race. Sixth is obtainable in the point standings very easily we are only one point out. Are we a top-five team with the Furniture Row Chevrolet? Maybe we are not, but the season has been a success. We have defied the odds. We have worked harder than anybody in this garage to get to this point. We don’t quite deserve a top-five finish. I’m not giving up on it. I would love to get into the top-five and to be part of that group that goes up on stage in Las Vegas. But honestly if we can bring home sixth in the overall standings without a race win it’s almost as good as a championship run from where this team was a year ago at this time.”
HAVE YOU STARTED TO LOOK TOWARD STEWART-HAAS AT ALL AS WE GET DOWN TO THE END OF THE SEASON? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO GEAR UP WITH THAT TEAM?
“As far as Stewart-Haas Racing goes, I’m learning the people in their system more of the marketing side, more of the management side. I try not to spend too much time on it because of how strong the No. 78 team is running and my dedication towards this. My official start date isn’t until December, but you have got to get crew members lined up on a brand new team and that is the work that we are working on right now.”
IF YOU DON’T START UNTIL DECEMBER YOU WOULD BE BEHIND WOULDN’T YOU?
“A little bit, but Stewart-Haas racing is a program that can already build chassis and build bodies on cars right now before even the people on the floor show up to turn the wrenches on that car.”
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