Kurt Busch's Top-5 Finish Leads Penske Racing Trio at Daytona

July 7, 2008


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2008) - Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr., finished fourth, 29th and 36th respectively in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

On Thursday, Kurt Busch's primary No. 2 Miller Lite machine crashed in practice, which forced the team to roll out the backup car and qualify on Friday without any practice. Busch qualified 36th for the Saturday event, but as it was an "impound" event, the only laps on the backup No. 2 were the two qualifying laps. When the race began, Busch and the Miller Lite team dealt with typical new-car challenges and dialed-in the No. 2 throughout the 400-mile event. Busch and crew chief Pat Tryson worked together and produced a hard-fought fourth-place finish.

"It's a great finish for our Miller Lite Dodge," said a smiling yet relieved Busch, after he crawled out of his car and stood on pit road with the other top-five finishers. "We came into the pits and changed a right-front shock, which you don't normally do. We changed the left side track bar and that takes wrenches out of your tool box. You normally don't do that. We just fought all race long with making changes trying to make our car better.

"It was about the same setup that we had here in February and (the setup) showed up right there at the end tonight," Busch explained. "Our Miller Lite Dodge really was running at the end when everybody was bumping and grinding. Our car pushed well and got pushed well. It was a good day for us."

Miller Lite crew chief Tryson was proud of his driver's efforts in a wild Saturday night event. "Kurt gave me a lot of credit for our win last weekend at Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway), but tonight's credit belongs to Kurt," said Tryson. "With a brand new car and facing all the problems we did, some how he was able to dig deep when it counted most and get a top-five out of it. I've always thought that he was definitely among the top-five plate racers in the sport and he certainly reinforced that here tonight. It was a case where the driver was a ton better than the car and he was able to work his magic at the end."

Busch maintains his 18th position in 2008 NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings. He is now 191 points out of 12th, with eight races remaining to determine the 12 players in this years "Chase for the Championship."

Hornish Jr. drove the No. 77 Penske Truck Rental Dodge to a 29th place finish Saturday night. After starting 42nd, Hornish worked his way through the field and was poised for his second top-15 finish in as many starts at the 2.5-mile tri-oval before he was collected in a late-race incident. The No. 77 team and owner Roger Penske now sit 35th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series owner points standings.

"Everybody knows that it is going to get crazy out there near the end of the race," said Hornish. "I hate how tonight turned out for the Penske Truck Rental team because we had a really good car and we were going to have a top-15 finish. At least we brought the No. 77 Dodge to the checkered flag, even if it was a little beat up. Tonight was another experience at Daytona, another one for the mental logbook, and hopefully we'll have some more things that I'll know to be able to do better next time."

Although the No. 12 Alltel Dodge started the Coke Zero 400 in 32nd place, driver Ryan Newman knew he had a strong Dodge race car and was ready for action Saturday night. Newman was able to drive from the back of the field into the top-10 on two separate occasions, but the No. 12 machine's "Daytona luck" did not hold out as Newman was involved in three separate incidents throughout the night, relegating him to a 36th place finish. He is 17th in the driver points standings, 185 points out of the 12th place cutoff.

"The Alltel Dodge was really strong tonight, but we couldn't catch a break," said Newman, who had won the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 in February 2008. "We just kept getting caught up in other people's problems all night. It was like we were a magnet out on the race track. We've had a really good superspeedway package at all three races this year, and we had another good car tonight. I'm disappointed because I really think that we had the chance to get a solid finish and pick up some valuable points, but we just didn't have luck on our side tonight."

The Penske Racing trio returns to NASCAR Cup Series action next Saturday night, July 12 for the LifeLock 400.com at Chicagoland Speedway. The race can be seen live on the TNT television network at 6:30 p.m. EDT and heard on MRN radio at 7:15 p.m. EDT.