Kurt Busch - Martinsville Preview

March 26, 2008

Kurt Busch – Martinsville Notes and Quotes

No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger
Goody’s Cool Orange 500 - Martinsville Speedway
Notes and Quotes
For Immediate Release - March 25, 2008

--Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Penske Racing Team will be racing their brand new PSC-560 Dodge Charger in the Goody's Cool Orange 500 action at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. "It's another one of the new ‘second-generation' editions of our COT model," Pat explained. "We ran our first of these cars at Atlanta a few weeks ago and were fairly pleased with the outcome. We're confident we can get to Martinsville and be even more competitive, especially now that everything is back on an even keel. We're back up to being considered a top-10 team. Even if it were to rain out qualifying yet another time this weekend, we'd get to start in 10th and not way back in 36th. We're looking forward to a great weekend ahead at Martinsville."

--The pre-season agreement by Kurt, Pat and the Miller Lite Team to swap 2007 owner points with the No. 77 team saw the No. 2 team hauler parked in the most inconspicuous locations during the first five races of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. "We shouldn't have problems locating our team's transporter this weekend and that'll be a pleasant change," Kurt said with a chuckle. "My hat's off to Pat and all the guys on our team for showing what great total team players we have on our ‘blue deuce' crew during the first five races of the season. It felt a little bit like being a world explorer every week, asking around and even calling Pat on the cell phone to find out where we were parked. When we did our media interview session at Daytona in the media center, I told them that it was probably the best for everyone involved for me to come to them because half of them probably couldn't have found our transporter in the garage if we had been doing the interview there. It was a pretty tough grind for Pat and the guys, but we all buckled up and weathered the storm. When I look back at the first five races, I'll never forget the Atlanta race weekend. Our transporter was parked way back in the far corner of the garage. It was actually a shorter walk from my coach to the transporter than it was from the transporter to the NASCAR office transporter. Maybe that wasn't all too bad. Seriously though, it was pretty difficult to see our guys have to work outside the garage area under a tent until qualifying was over. With the rain and all, some of the guys resorted to wearing rain boots and all because of all the grass and mud out there. Through it all, Pat and the entire team showed so much class. I never heard a single complaint from any of the guys."

Currently 10th in the 2008 point standings, Kurt, Pat and crew will definitely have better working conditions at the track beginning this weekend at Martinsville, the sixth event of the season.

--"We've had to come from deep in the field in so many races, we have to be leading in the most-cars-passed category," Kurt said of his first five races during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. A quick look at NASCAR's current "Loop Data" statistical update shows that Busch has indeed been impressive in passing cars during the first five races of the 2008 season. He ranks second in total "green-flag passes" with 486. When told of that statistic, Kurt was quick to comprehend and comment. "Well, if we're second, I certainly want to shake the hand of the guy who leads it," Kurt said emphatically. "Anybody who has passed more cars than we have so far this season definitely deserves some kind of award." Don't be surprised if you see Kurt going out of his way to shake Robby Gordon's hand at Martinsville this weekend. Gordon currently leads the category with 534.

--"We've certainly passed a lot of cars (this season)," Kurt said. "I know that NASCAR refers to ‘quality passes' in their stats as passes while running in the top 15. I know we can't be ranked very high in that category because in the first five races, we've spent the majority of the laps just trying to get up into the top 15. Hopefully, starting at Martinsville this weekend, we can really start putting up some numbers in that column." For the record, Kurt currently ranks 16th with 180 "quality passes." The top-five currently: Greg Biffle (312), Kyle Busch (283), Ryan Newman (276), Kasey Kahne (266) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (256). Last season after five races, Kurt ranked 17th in "Quality Passes" with 206.

--Quick-Stats Entering Goodies Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville (courtesy of NASCAR PR):

10 - Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge):

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.2

2008 Rundown

  • One top five
  • Average finish of 15.2
  • Led one race for nine laps

Martinsville Speedway Outlook:

  • One win, two top fives, four top 10s; one pole
  • Average finish of 20.3
  • Finished 31st in October
  • Led six of 15 races for 358 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight

  • 486 Green Flag Passes, second-most

--A quick comparison to the 2007 season adds even more credibility to what Kurt, Pat and crew have accomplished in the first five races this year. At this time last season, Kurt was 20th in points, trailing then-leader Jeff Gordon by a whopping 294 points. He was 78 points out of 12th. He was still looking for his first top-five finish of the year and had one top 10. Entering Martinsville last year (sixth race of 2007 schedule), Kurt had an 18.2 average start and a 22.8 average finish.

--"After the first of only three weekends off this season, Sprint Cup teams get back to business this Sunday at the venerable Martinsville Speedway. Unique in its configuration, Martinsville delivers bumper to bumper racing and door to door banging all the way to the checkered flag, which is just what "The Battle of the Beers" is all about. The #2 Miller Lite Dodge heads into this race sitting 10th in points, a mere 69 points behind the #9 Budweiser mobile, and will be looking to chop that defecit down at a track that has seen the Blue Deuce visit Victory Lane on many occasions. At The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, sports book representative Fred Crespi had this to say about this week's matchup: "You really have to commend the effort given by the entire #2 team so far this year. Starting as far back as they have in basically every race and sitting where they are at in points is amazing really. Kudos to the #9 as well, though. They have rebounded very nicely after a very trying 2007 season. The two cars seem to be evenly matched based on their average finishes at Martinsville, but I have to favor the #9 car slightly this weekend strictly on consistency so far this year. Let's go with the #9 Budweiser Dodge as 1.5 a position favorite over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. I can't wait for Sunday!"

--Kurt's visit to his souvenir trailer at Martinsville Speedway this Sunday will mark the 251st time in the last 254 races that he has been out on race day mornings to meet the fans and sign autographs. His continuing tradition began during his first full year on the Cup circuit back in 2001. Kurt is tentatively scheduled to be at his souvenir trailer from 10:00 a.m. till 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Please verify that time by visiting the trailer in advance and picking up the free tickets for the autograph line.

--Kurt is scheduled for his "top-12 points" media interview opportunity/Q & A session on Friday at 11:25 a.m. in the Martinsville Speedway infield media center. Kurt continues his effort in reaching out to the media rather than making them come to him at the team transporter.