Newsmaker: Kurt Busch

Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The 2003 season was a mixed bag for Kurt Busch. He won four races, but struggled to gain acceptance on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series after his well-publicized run-in with Jimmy Spencer. Busch won three of the final five races in 2002 to finish third in the points standings, then he won two of the first 10 races in 2003 to become one of the favorites for the championship. Although he won two more races later in the season, he also had 10 finishes out of the top 30 to fall to 11th in the final rankings. He talked about making the best of a bad situation and what he hopes to accomplish in 2004.

Question: A lot happened to you in 2003. Were there any valuable lessons that you can use to your benefit in the future?

Busch: ''The one thing I learned after 2001 was to look forward to the next year so you could apply the lessons learned from the previous year to the next year. Whether it's sitting in Victory Lane or achieving a finish from a bad day, there are so many things that go into each week, like the race car and the mental side of it. There's a learning experience in everything you do, at the racetrack and in life. I guess the biggest lesson is to remember everything and apply to the future.''

Question: NASCAR gave Fords a new front and rear bumper and took away about 125 pounds of downforce by reducing the size of the rear spoiler. General Motors and Dodge teams have been working to get around the reductions. By the time the season starts with the Daytona 500, will the rule changes be a wash?

Busch: ''We don't want to find all that downforce at Daytona because we want to reduce drag. We want it for Las Vegas and Rockingham and the other tracks we go to. It won't be a wash. We are going to lose downforce and that's what NASCAR wants us to do with our race cars. Goodyear's going to bring a softer tire and that's going to change the complexion of the race and our gears and how we set up our race cars. "

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