Busch Back for More All-Star Success
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on May 19, 2011 | 9:22 A.M. EST
Kurt Busch would like nothing better than a second straight May sweep in Charlotte. (Photo: Getty Images)
The month of May was very special for Kurt Busch a year ago when he swept both the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Penske Racing driver considers the accomplishments one of his career highlights especially his All-Star Race victory and the $1 million payday that came with that win.
“It was a special race that led to two of the most memorable weekends of my career,” Busch said. “The way that we won the All-Star Race last year will always stick out in my mind as quite incredible. Smacking the wall there as hard as we did, you’d have sworn that we didn’t have a chance to win it, but we did. Then to come back the next weekend to dominate and win the Coke 600 like we did was such an achievement.”
Prior to his win last season, Busch hadn’t performed particularly well in the annual all-star event. His disappointments included a 2007 incident involving his brother Kyle that saw the duo sidelined when they made contact racing for position.
But Busch chalked it up to the prestige on the line to win the race not to mention the big check waiting in Victory Lane.
“Ultimately I got wrecked, so it wasn’t a smart move on my part,” Busch said of his battle with Kyle. “I was over it the next week. It’s tough when it’s for a million bucks. When it’s not for points, you get that feeling of ‘Hey, let’s just let it ride.’ It’s almost like the roulette wheel when you throw money down on a number and see if you get lucky.”
Despite his downs and last season’s big up, Busch likes the schedule when all-star weekend rolls around.
“It’s always a time of the season that I really enjoy,” he said. “It’s a nice break in the schedule when you can spend a weekend at the race track not worried about the big picture at all. It’s relaxing, yet with all the big money on the line, the adrenalin flows, the tempers flare and it’s as exciting as it gets for our sport.”
The unique format the race is broken into spices up the competition to the point that Busch doesn’t believe there is any comparison to the rest of the 36 regular season points races.
“You jump into the All-Star Race and it’s just a whole different atmosphere and attitude,” Busch said. “This race is just an entirely different animal. It’s a 10-lap shoot-out at the finish, with a cool million dollars on the line. You can bet that things will surely get heated up and there will be fireworks for sure.”
Busch says there is strategy employed in the opening segments but ultimately everything goes out the window when the final segment rolls around with the dash to the checkered flag.
“You have to be really smart in the first portions of the race,” he said. “But, you have to have a car that will go at the drop of a dime when you have fresh tires and a restart. It’s basically like those last 10 laps are like 10 straight qualifying laps with other cars around.”