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Guy Noir's Post-race teardown: Kyle Busch, even in winning, minces no words about these ill-handling cars


Kyle Busch: Can he 'steal' this Daytona 500? (Photo: Autostock)



   By Mike Mulhern

   Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart may be okay with the company line that this new car-of-tomorrow thing is the greatest thing since sliced bread, just made-for-Daytona, in Gordon's own words, but Kyle Busch, who may be Chevrolet's top threat in Sunday's Daytona 500 isn't very keen about the car.
   "This car is fast…and last year it was fast," Busch says. "But it rides rough, and it looks terrible on TV.
   "Everybody else thinks it's pretty smooth and drives okay. But it likes to be bouncy -- and it does what it does that way.
   "We've been trying to get the thing better over the bumps (in turns one and two).
   "It bounces all over the place. But it's fast that way. For some reason it just likes that feel.
    "It's just so hard to drive these things. They're bouncing all over the place. They're erratic. 
   "It makes for a good show. The fans love it; the people on TV love it. As long as those people are happy, NASCAR's happy. 
    "NASCAR doesn't care what the drivers say. If it's not a safety issue, they're fine with it.
   "But to me these cars aren't necessarily built for this track. 
    "Yeah, they're fine at Talladega -- That track is smooth.
    "But here, where you're ride on bump-stops -- springs like there's no real suspension -- when you go over bumps, they're just terrible.
     "This car just want to be real loose: skatey and edgy."
   And Busch has done a pretty darned good job at adjusting.
   "We ran good here last year: gave one away in the Dual, gave one away in the 500.  Maybe we can steal them back this year," Busch says.
   And he did win here in July. 
   Given last year's late season woes, Busch and crew chief Steve Addington might be coming in here with chips on their shoulders.
   But Busch says Daytona is just Daytona…the real test of what lies ahead this season will come "when we get to California, Vegas, and Atlanta.
   "That's where we'll see if we'll be a force to be reckoned with. 
    "Daytona, we knew we'd run strong. We felt confident about that. Our restrictor plate (engine) package is good. Mark (Cronquist) in the engine shop has done a flawless job.    
   "But the reason I won this race was with my great teammate --  Denny Hamlin. That was the best restrictor plate race we've probably ever worked together. 
    "I hope it carries into Sunday…and that I'll be able to return the favor."
   Ironically, then, it was Hamlin who gave the bump-draft shot to Mark Martin the last lap that gave Busch a fourth-turn scare.
   "Behind me, I figured everyone was going to get crazy," Busch said of the final miles. "I saw Mark coming. He had a fast race car too -- and probably had the car to beat.
   "But we made the right moves.
    "Mark went to the high-side in three and four, and I blocked him a little bit, and then drove down and blocked Brian Vickers.
    "It's just the Duals. If it was the Daytona 500, we probably would have been nosed up in the fence."

Kyle Busch in Victory Lane (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)


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