FORT WORTH—NASCAR driver Kurt Busch knows how to win races.
With the buzz surrounding the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Kurt’s “Busch League All Stars” and the Team Texas Racing School gave some Dallas Cowboys and North Texas media a white knuckle view behind the wheel of a real deal NASCAR.
The Team Texas instructor tells all the rookie drivers when to take their foot off the gas, when to shift and what lane to stay in. The cars will hit speeds of 150 miles an hour.
Then the lessons continued on the track. The instructor tried to give these rookies a good feel for the track before they got behind the wheel.
Busch, a driver who has won on this fast Texas track, says the key is, “just stayin smooth and steady with your wheel imputs and then with your break and gas inputs.”
And the biggest rookie mistake out there? “Ahhh, trying to go to fast too soon,” says Busch.
Busch says after about three days of practice and qualifying at the track, race day usually starts early Sunday with a lot of hand shaking.
“Autograph sessions, hospitality tent visits, suit visits, different meet and greats in the garage area,” Busch says.
It’s all go, go, go until the driver’s meeting. Then it’s time for the driver introductions and the national anthem.
Busch says it’s time to get into race mode as soon as the music starts.
“You know when the national anthem plays and you have your hand over your heart that’s a quick time to decompress and really focus because after that it’s your time right before the engine fires up,” Busch says.
Believe it or not this NASCAR veteran says he still gets butterflies.
“A little bit right before the start of the green flag,” Busch says.
Wide-eyed and with a full Kung Fu grip on the wheel Bradie James, Nate Newton and Vernon Wells did eight hot laps around the track. Newton was passed a few times and got a new nickname. He was known for the rest of the day as turtle.
“The turtle made it back baby,” Busch said to Newton. “You gained speed each and every time lap. Here you got to have water you’re dehydrated now.”
Newton’s out of breath response was right to the point.
“Scared to death man,” Newton said.
That was only eight laps; Busch says when you do more than 300 laps at about 200 mph it really takes a toll on the body.
“I’d say you’d lose five to six pounds of water weight with the heat inside the car, the fatigue, the stress, but mainly it’s dehydration,” Busch says.
Then, fast or slow, everyone got a moment in the winner’s circle with the signature Texas Motor Speedway black cowboy hat and six guns.