FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards Talk Sonoma

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIJune 27, 2011

Kurt Busch taleks to media at Darlington Raceway
Kurt Busch taleks to media at Darlington Raceway

Kurt Busch seemed more like a rocket going left and right at Infineon Raceway, as drivers like fast-chasing Jeff Gordon and steadily rising Carl Edwards could not catch him. Race favorite Marcos Ambrose, with skilled open-wheel experience, crossed the finish line further back in fifth place. 

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) shifted gears from predominantly oval racetracks to road-course racing for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on the 1.99-mile road course at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, on Sunday.

Exciting right and left turns did not disappoint.

Gordon was a culprit on the twisting track last season after creating a crash he apologized for, but this year he worked his car to second without incident.

Edwards canceled his ride in the Nationwide Series road-course at Road America Saturday to concentrate on Sonoma and maintaining his Sprint Cup lead. Edwards’ decision paid off with a solid, point-building, third-place finish.

A pay out got paid back after Brian Vickers in the No. 83 got dumped by Tony Stewart on lap 37 for what Stewart thought was blocking. Vickers was trying to avoid a crash when Kyle Busch went off track and came back in front of him. On lap 87, Vickers let Stewart pass him in a turn so he could knock him off track. That bump put Stewart’s wrecked car on top of tire barriers. 

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Vickers and Stewart are friends and comments later seemed to indicate that they will remain friends. It appears NASCAR will let them “have at it.”   

Busch, Gordon and Edwards talked before and after the road-course event.  

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of motorsports topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com. 

Kurt Busch (No. 22 Dodge) Finished first. (Started 11th.)

Before the green flag:

“I really do feel like we’re closing in on getting that first Cup road course win. They don’t give you anything out there; you have to scratch and claw and earn everything you get. I’ve seen our team continue to make progress and if we continue to get ourselves in the position to win, we’re bound to capitalize on it sooner or later. Hopefully, we can continue that progress at Sonoma (Infineon) on Sunday and finally win us one of these things.”

After the checkered flag:

“It was one of those unbelievable days where having a game plan going in, we weren't questioning it, it was just old school on how we were going to make it on two stops,” Busch said. “It was great calculations by the guys. Saving fuel is one thing, but having Shell on the hood is another. When you have those good omens, it's great we were able to put the solid effort together in the pits, in the strategy department and out on the racetrack as well...The car, it drove itself...It's just really neat to bring home that W, and most of all have that insurance package now. We have that win heading towards the Chase. We bumped up to fourth in points.”

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet) Finished second. (Started 13th)

Before the green flag:

"There's no doubt this is probably my favorite weekend of racing, regardless of what happens on the track. It's just a magical time for me with my daughter's birthday party, seeing my biological father and other family members, and seeing friends I went to elementary school with and raced with out here...It's just a special weekend and it puts me in an incredibly positive frame of mind going into the race on Sunday."

After the checkered flag:

"We made a lot of adjustments. Gosh, rubbers in the rear, track bar, wedge, everything else. You know, I didn't really think any of those things were making a big difference. But we also were never in clean air...There at the end, that was the furthest forward we had been all day. I really think the adjustments we made really did work on just helping the car turn into the corner a little bit better and getting us pointed up off the corner so we could drive off a little straighter...There at the end, I don't know if the track came to us, what happened. It seems like that setup, the adjustments we made, being in cleaner air, started working for me. I had enough grip to really use the curbs. By using those curbs, I could get up off the corners better.”

Carl Edwards (No.99 Ford) Finished third. (Started 23rd.)

Before the green flag:

“The most demanding weekend of the year is this one. We compete on two tough road courses that are thousands of miles apart. Billy Johnson will practice and set up the Fastenal Mustang in Wisconsin Friday while I practice and qualify the Ortho Fusion in California, then we will travel to Road America to race Saturday, then back to Infineon for Sunday’s race. I feel that Saturday’s race will help me prepare for Sunday and will make up for the lost practice in the Sprint Cup car. There’s a lot of pride in winning on a road course, and a win at either event would be huge.”

After the checkered flag:

“We started out terrible. We changed plans right at the end of practice on Friday. We all got together and talked about it. We decided for me to stay here and practice on Saturday. That was the call of the weekend. Ended up giving us two hours of practice. We got to really work on the car, and that's what made this a good day for us."

About Stewart and Vickers incident:

"I think NASCAR has this 'have at it' mentality, the statement they made. I think in the end will be better and safer for all of us. You know when you're out there, if NASCAR is going to let things be settled on the racetrack, I think people will respect each other a little bit more on the racetrack, and that's good.”

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR.

Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com