|Kurt Busch is 25/1 to win at Talladega. He was 40/1 at Daytona.|
Talk a little bit about racing at Talladega.
“It’s so difficult to predict Talladega. You can ride around in the back, or charge up front all day and, either way, your day can end with your car on the hook. You just hope to have Lady Luck guide you to a good finish. Restrictor-plate races have turned into this pattern that it is hard to have any type of advantage over any other team. It just comes down to being in the right place at the right time.”
Restrictor-plate racing has been described as a 200 mph chess match. How would you describe it? “That’s pretty much it. You’ve got to be able to know the draft, understand the draft, use the draft, block other guys, find holes, make holes. It’s definitely a chess game because you’re always thinking three or four steps ahead. It’s tough to get caught up when you make a mistake. You’ve got to quickly get rid of that and put together a new plan. At the end of the race, everybody is saving their best for the end. Cars are just going everywhere. The plan you thought you had, you’ve got to make a new one. You’ve got to go on the fly.”
In order to be successful in a restrictor-plate race, you need some assistance from other drivers. How do you get that assistance when every driver out there is trying to beat one another?
“Cash? I don’t know. There are certain guys you know to draft with. There are certain guys you know they’re going to be tough. There are certain guys you might see work their way up, like the Fords always come in strong with Front Row Motorsports. The Roush cars are always there. The Penske cars have been tough the last five, six years at the restrictor-plate races. So, you just get a gauge as the race goes on who’s been up front all day. But you’ve got to keep track of the guys who have been hanging out in the back and they’re going to show up at the end.”
Chassis No. 965: Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 965 in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Built new for 2016, Chassis No. 965 debuted in The Clash last February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, when Busch finished seventh in the attrition-filled, nonpoints race. It raced again at Daytona in July, when Busch was in position to challenge for the win but was spun on the final turn of the final lap and relegated to a 23rd-place finish. It then raced at Talladega in October, when Busch finished fourth. The car received chassis updates and the body was updated for 2017. It most recently was utilized in The Clash at Daytona in February, when Busch was involved in an early accident and finished 17th. It has been outfitted with a new body in preparation for this weekend’s 500-mile race.