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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: QUICKEN LOANS 400


June 14, 2015


Kurt Busch

Tony Gibson

Gene Haas


BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN

THE MODERATOR:テつ Joining us now fresh off of victory lane is our winning crew chief, and that's Tony Gibson.テつ He's the crew chief of the No.41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and car owner Gene Haas.テつ Kurt Busch wins today's 47th‑annual Quicken Loans 400.テつ It's his second win of 2015 and his 27th win overall during his career.
First time Kurt Busch has had multiple wins since 2011, so that No.41 team is on its game.テつ I'm going to ask you, Tony Gibson, certainly kind of an atypical weather that we saw out there today.テつ You had to fight it, you had to battle it, you had to think about it, you had to plan it.テつ Just talk about all of that and then yet, with I think five laps to go, you guys raced to the lead and got the win today.テつ Just talk about how everything unfolded.
TONY GIBSON:テつ Well, it started on Friday.テつ It was kind of crazy.テつ We wrecked our primary fairly early there in practice, so the guys did a great job getting the backup car out.テつ We had tested that car in Vegas so we felt comfortable it would run pretty good.テつ So we didn't qualify all that great.テつ I know the first round was good for us, but second round we just got too tight.テつ But Saturday went fairly well, made some adjustments that helped the car.テつ It was probably a fifth‑ to eighth‑place car and then overnight we kind of worked on it a little bit more.
We were just guessing on the weather.テつ Looking at the weather, we knew it was going to be rain off and on, but when the sun pops out, it just makes this place really slick, so we kind of gambled on the track getting slick and loose, so we may have overachieved a little bit to start with, but I think our car was tight enough at the start to where we could pass cars and other guys were a little bit too free.テつ It worked out that we drove our way up to 12th I think it was, and then from there my plan was to do right sides.テつ Last night my plan was to do right sides at the competition yellow no matter what anybody did because I was planning on having to get a lot of track position, but once we got to 12th I'm like what do I do now because I'm passing cars pretty good.
I stuck with it.テつ I knew if I could get to lap 77 I would be fine, so I ran it light of fuel, we didn't run all the fuel when we stopped that time.テつ We just put enough in it to get us to lap 77, and that got us up to sixth or seventh, I think, at that point, so that little bit of gamble worked out for us.
And then from there the car was really strong.テつ He drove himself up into the top 5, and we knew from there it was just going to be pit the least amount of times that we needed to pit because of the weather.テつ We could see the storms were starting to build and back build and come.テつ It's stressful when it rains like that, when it's off and on and off and on.テつ You're looking at a radar screen but you don't know exactly when it's going to hit.テつ It was pretty stressful for everybody but everybody stayed calm and cool.テつ Rick Carelli did a great job in the spotting stand keeping Kurt informed.テつ I would keep him informed on the weather and he would tell Kurt.テつ Everyone just worked good as a team today, and it kind of paid off.
We just made the right adjustments overnight to pick the track where it was going to be, and that's why we were able to drive up through there.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gene, congratulations on this win here this afternoon at Michigan.テつ Certainly a big win not only for your race team but obviously Chevrolet's backyard here and wins the Michigan Heritage Trophy and kind of tops off a huge 24 hours for the manufacturer, all the things that they've won here.テつ Congratulations.テつ Just talk about the significance of today's win.
GENE HAAS:テつ Well, you know, actually it started yesterday when the Chevy truck won with Cole Custer.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Last night at Gateway, another win.
GENE HAAS:テつ So that was a great start to the weekend.テつ The weekend didn't start off so great when Kurt slid up into the wall.テつ I had talked to him about that a little bit, you know, you're a great race car driver, you shouldn't be doing things like that.テつ So he just kind of explained it like, well, I'm just trying to find the limits, and the tire pressures were a little bit low, and I guess he drives that car within a millimeter of the wall all the time, so it's like, boy, what a whack job this is going to be.
The primary car is always a lot better than your backup, so I thought this was not going to be a very fruitful weekend.テつ But then when I saw Harvick qualified second, I go, well, there's something here.
Watching the race today, you know, obviously Harvick was strong all day and Kurt Busch was needling his way up through the field, and he's really good at that.テつ He's really great at that.テつ If we can give him the right cars and the right gear ratios, there's nobody that can out‑jump him on a restart.
I knew that that was going to be critical, and a few times he just drove it right through the middle and made it stick, so you have to sit there and congratulate him for that.
I don't know how Tony got the rain to come out, but he did that, and you know, that's all it takes to win a race is you just need about 4,000 or 5,000 things to line up, and you're there.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined now by our winning driver, Kurt Busch.テつ Kurt has won three times here at Michigan.テつ Kurt, just talk about this victory here today.テつ We've heard from Tony and from Gene and certainly it was a team effort here today for the 41 team.
KURT BUSCH:テつ It was a fantastic group effort.テつ To be able to pull the backup car out and to have it as prepared as it was and then to have the extra work that went into it, all the crew members that Tony Gibson leads rolled up their sleeves, jumped right on in it, and we made it a race‑winning backup car.テつ That shows you the depth of Stewart‑Haas Racing.テつ It gives every crew member that much more confidence to know that we're doing things right, and today the way the race unfolded for us, to come up from 24th and work our way through and have those restarts, everything unfolded perfectly for us with changes to the car, the restarts, to not break momentum, to end up on the outside lane most of the time, and then to have a shot up front, our car just kept getting better and better the closer we put it to the front, and that's what you set up for.テつ You set up for the wins, and you don't set up for the dirty air, you set up for running out front, and that's what Tony Gibson did.テつ I believed in it, and I just took my time but also had to keep working on each of those restarts to get the car towards the front.
Excellent pit stops, excellent team chemistry.テつ This is what it's all about.テつ Winning in Chevrolet's backyard is all that much more special.テつ Especially Michigan, they get to keep the Manufacturer's Cup in their front office, so I hope all the top execs love that trophy because I do, too.

Q.テつ Kurt and Tony, what's more important with getting this victory, the three bonus points or start working on momentum as you get closer and closer to the Chase?
KURT BUSCH:テつ Any time you win, it comes with a basket full of goodies, and the way that more of what is the unknown is what comes from this, and that is the pep in the step of the crew members, the genuine chemistry and the feel on the shop floor.テつ There's so many tangibles that come up from a win, and bonus points for the Chase, we're not really thinking of that, but any time you win a second race, it really gives you that stamp on you're in the Chase, now let's work through these summer months to continue to make the team better.
The best part about winning on a day like today, there's an off week next week, so everybody will take this win and enjoy it for an extra week, recharge, and that will give us the gas we're going to need because we're going to try to go all the way to Homestead.

Q.テつ I'm assuming I'll see you at the United Center tomorrow night for Game 6?
KURT BUSCH:テつ I might try to make it there.

Q.テつ Can you talk to the mental aspect of having to stop, start, stop, start and then get ready, and Tony, can you tell us how much the race car changed over the course of the day today?
KURT BUSCH:テつ It's tough starting and stopping.テつ I tried to just nibble on some sandwiches.テつ These guys were making fun of me because I didn't get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the first red flag, and they're like, I like mine this way.テつ It was hilarious.テつ They were making fun of me in the car because I didn't get a snack.
But with the next rain delay, there's a group of kids that came by our pit box and they wanted autographs, and I'm like in my zone, but yet at the same time it's kids, they wanted pictures and selfies, and you've got to just roll with it.テつ You've got to have fun.テつ You don't know when the rain is going to stop.テつ You don't know when the track is going to be dry, and then if rain is going to come again.テつ You've just got to be ready.テつ Any time they tell you to go to your car, that's when it's game time, and you race hard, you race to win.テつ It's tough starting and stopping, but that's part of our sport, and how you never can challenge Mother Nature.テつ She's in charge.

Q.テつ Tony, how did the car change with all the different weather changes?
TONY GIBSON:テつ Well, obviously he'll know more about what it did for change, but we kind of sat down yesterday as a group, me and Kurt and Klausmeier and Cook, our engineers, and talked about ‑‑ because we weren't a great race car after Saturday.テつ We were probably a fifth‑ to 10th‑place car at best so we had some work to do for sure.
But we're working on how to get better going from Saturday to Sunday predicting races and pace and all that kind of stuff.テつ We're nowhere near where we need to be, but we talked to Kurt, and then when he left the truck yesterday, we had a pretty close game plan to what we were going to stick to going into today as far as changes and we stuck to that.テつ I was a little nervous that we would be a little bit on the too‑free side, but we're learning.テつ We're learning as a team, and you know, sitting down and communicating with one another and our engineers on going forward to try to keep the balance of the car a little bit closer.テつ We haven't been so good at that here lately.
I thought we hit it pretty close today.テつ I know we had a decent car.テつ I think there was a couple cars that may have been a little bit better than us, but I think the adjustments we did today were based off of stuff we did at Pocono, which helped us, but I thought our balance stayed pretty good and our speed was really good all day.
It comes down to this Chase deal, it's like we want to win every week.テつ People ask you, are you going to go lax, are you going to take it easy, and you can't.テつ It's like everything we do is‑‑ whether it's an adjustment or whether it's the right way or the wrong way or predicting weather, what the car is going to do, all that's going to help us in the Chase when it comes time.テつ We're still working hard on it, and like I said, we're nowhere near where we need to be, but we're working hard, but we're working together as a team.

Q.テつ Kurt, why were you giving‑‑ obviously I know your relationship with Carelli, but why was he such an integral part of this because you kept mentioning him in the post‑race.テつ What was it about the strategy between the two of you during the race that you really felt the need to bring him up in the course of your comment?
KURT BUSCH:テつ I can go with an analogy or I can just define it on when I'm driving down the straightaway at 200, and he said, hey, Harvick went to the low groove and has made some time, I just commit to the low groove and then the car stuck and the car drove faster, and then he's like, well, Junior just passed this guy on the outside, and I'm going down the straightaway at 200 and I go apply that and the car stuck and I drove around the outside of a guy.テつ It's like a coach telling you, swing, because the pitcher is going to throw it to your inside, swing because the pitcher is going to throw to the outside.テつ You make contact, you make a hit and you score a run.
We went around guys, passed guys, and it was a whole different car when Carelli, a great mind as a racer as another set of eyes to help Gibson, I know he radios other information to him that I don't even hear, and the way that the team works together, it's like calling signs and going for it.テつ And that's when you don't ask questions, you just do it, you execute, and that's the trust we all have in one another.

Q.テつ Gene, when you put this team together, you said what you wanted to do was win races and have fun and that winning was more important than points or anything else to you.テつ Has this gone the way you envisioned it?テつ Are you having fun?テつ Is this what you wanted it to be when you put it together?
GENE HAAS:テつ Well, you know, racing is a hard sport.テつ As anybody will tell you, these guys really work hard.テつ I think the run for the championship, that's what it's all about.テつ I'm absolutely clear that I think Kurt Busch has the ability to win another Cup for us and for Stewart‑Haas Racing, and that really was my vision, and that's my goal.
I tell you, when you see Kurt out there driving the way‑‑ when it comes down to it, when he needs to pull ahead of another driver, there's some skills out there that they just don't teach you anywhere.テつ That's what it's all about, and I think Stewart‑Haas Racing has a very, very good chance of winning another championship in NASCAR.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, congratulations on this win, your second win of 2015, and continued best wishes, and hope everybody enjoys the open week, and we'll see you at Sonoma.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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