Kurt Busch has had a wild weekend so far.Ã‚Â After a spin out on Friday in practice things were not looking good to begin his weekend at Kansas Speedway.Ã‚Â Things improved marginally in practice but his car seemed to come alive when it came time to qualify.Ã‚Â Never starting better than 7th in 9 career starts here Busch was overjoyed at his starting slot and ready to take on the field.
“I have to thank my guys for standing behind me, not just through [Friday] but through some of the tough times we’ve been through as of late,” Busch said. “It’s an amazing world, the
world of motorsports. One day you’re down, the next day you’re up.”
As the temperature heated things up the sealer between the lanes of pavement on the track was giving everyone problems.Ã‚Â While everyone had their own way of dealing with it, Busch’s seemed simple enough.
“You choose a lane,” Busch said. “If you want the bottom lane you choose that first lane. If you’re going in to the corner in the high groove, you choose that third lane and you really stay in it — you don’t cross over the seams because they can upset the car. But it’s not as bad now, with those being worn in over the last couple years.”
“In the summer months, I think you really have to focus on corner exit,” Busch said. “That’s where it’s really hard to put all the horsepower down that we have — to get that forward bite and traction. But when you’re a racer, you don’t care what the conditions are.”
Racing at his Hometown track this weekend, Kansas native Clint Bowyer agreed that things are going to be different than in time past.
“It’s just a lot hotter and the track’s a lot slicker — the conditions are just way more extreme.Ã‚Â But I knew it was gonna be, going into this because it’s always hot this time of year. And that’s what we love about Kansas — you just never know.”
“As it ages this track just gets better and better, the groove really widens out and it creates great racing,” Bowyer said. “It’s slick, man. Every time I come back here, the track gets slicker and slicker. But I’m telling you, for an old dirt racer that plays right in my hand. I enjoy that. That’s usually when I perform my best.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second said the strips a not as bad as on other tracks like Atlanta and Auto Club Speedway, but it certainly made things more “interesting” in his mind.
“The seams is one of those things where, if your car is half-decent and you can use them to your advantage, you’re really fast,” Montoya said. “If the car is a handful, it makes it even worse.”
Jeff Gordon won the first two races in Kansas and has had plenty of success here since, seemed to have a faster car in practice than he did in qualifying.
“To me this track has just gotten better and better every single year,” Gordon said. “I loved this track from the beginning obviously, but, like all tracks do over time as they settle in, you get some different characteristics that come into play — different bumps, you see the pavement start to wear a little bit.
“Here in Kansas, I think those things have really only made the track better because the way it wears the tires, the grip level just makes for multiple grooves. We already saw [Friday] in practice cars up against the wall, cars on the bottom, cars in the middle. That is going to make for a great race here [Sunday].”
Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano round out the rest of the top 5.
Tony Stewart(13th) and Greg Biffle (14th) bothÃ‚Â have a pair of wins at Kansas — but neither of them will start in the top 10.
Dale Jr qualified 28th followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and garage partner Jimmie Johnson in 31st.
For Jamie McMurray this has been an emotional weekend.Ã‚Â Being so close to his hometown of Joplin Missouri he felt that he needed to go home to see what mother nature had done last week when a massive tornado ripped through the heart of the town.Ã‚Â McMurray showed that NASCAR is always more than just race cars, but about using your celebrity to help lift the spirits of those who look up to you, when ever the opportunity presents itself.Ã‚Â He took the time to share his emotions with the fans, visited his boyhood home, the local hospital, and stare in disbelief at the things that were simply no longer there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry,Ã¢â‚¬Â he kept saying. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m so sorry.” He then share his emotions with the media after taking a moment to collect himself.Ã‚Â “I went into one of those portable bathrooms and broke down,” he said.
Looking out at the carnage stretching as far as you can see Jamie summed it up quite well.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Crazy, huh?Ã¢â‚¬Â