Kurt Busch Finishes 10th At Richmond

September 7, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 7, 2008) - Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Miller Lite Dodge Team scored another top-10 finish in today's weather-delayed Chevy Rock & Roll 400 here at Richmond International Raceway. Busch was the highest-finishing Dodge driver in the final "regular season race," setting up the field for this year's "Chase for the NASCAR Championship" which will include no beer-sponsored teams or no Dodge teams.

"We had a good run today in the Miller Lite Dodge," Busch said after the 400-lap, 300-mile battle had concluded. "Everything was satisfactory. I think we can give ourselves a B+ all the way through. We just need to get an A for handling one day and make sure we follow up with that with the right adjustments during the race. We were loose early on, but got it to a point where that was about all we were going to get. We went from seventh to 15th and then back into the top 10 in the pit stop shuffle. We'll take it."

After weather conditions forced NASCAR officials to postpone yesterday's race here on this .750-mile oval located at the Virginia State Fairgrounds, beautiful conditions were in store for today's jam-packed crowd.

Busch started 20th and consistently moved toward the front. Chassis changes during the first half of the race included numerous track bar and wedge adjustments and removing all the rubbers from the right-rear spring. Things settled down during the final 200 laps, with Busch hovering around the top 10 and adjustments during caution period stops amounting only to minor air pressure changes.

Busch was ninth on the final restart after the 13th caution period on Lap 374. Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon were able to get around Busch for spots during the closing laps, but Busch rallied to pass Martin Truex Jr. and hold off Casey Mears to take the 10th finishing position.

Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart swapped positions in the closing laps. Holding the high-line, Johnson pulled ahead of Stewart with eight laps remaining in the race to score his fourth victory of the season and second in as many weeks, this win by 0.366 seconds over Stewart.

Denny Hamlin finished third, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth, Mark Martin fifth, Jeff Burton sixth, Harvick seventh, Gordon eighth, David Reutimann ninth and Busch 10th.

"I thought it was a pretty consistent run for us here today," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "The way the last couple of races have gone, Kurt and our team really needed a day like today. When was the last time that the car was good enough that we didn't make any changes during the final two pit stops?

"We had a really good performance from our guys on pit road here today, too," said Tryson. "Everybody stayed calm the entire race and we executed really well all the way around.

"We might could have been running even further up toward the front, I think," Tryson said. "With about a third of the race remaining, we had a caution where NASCAR called it one of their ‘quicky yellows' where all the cars pit at the same time, whether you're on the lead lap or not. We went with two tires, but got boxed in behind the 17 car, who was running a lap down. Instead of being there about seventh or so on the restart, we were way back there just inside the top 20.

"You won't hear anything but positive comments out of me today," Tryson added. "We were really consistent and finished in the top 10. Kurt drove a really good race, we communicated well and the guys were on the top of their game on pit road. If we'd had a bunch more days like today, we would have been fortunate enough to have made the Chase again this year."

Busch's Penske Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. finished today's race in the 33rd and 38th positions, respectively.

The 12 drivers making up the "Chase-eligible" contingent entering today's final event of "regular season" maintained their spots and will contend for the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship during the final 10 races of the season. Those drivers, in order of the post-race point standings after today's race include: (driver/total points/points behind leader)

1--#18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 3878
2--#99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 3671- 207
3--#48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 3576- 302
4--#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP 3488- 390
5--#31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 3384 494
6--#20 Tony Stewart Toyota The Home Depot 3285 593
7--#29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell/Pennzoil 3283 595
8--#16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 3280 598
9--#11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express 3235 643
10--#24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Nicorette/DuPont 3221 657
11--#17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 3132 746
12--#07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 3116 762

Kasey Kahne finished 13th in the "regular season" points, missing the Chase by 69 points, while David Ragan was 14th and 77 points behind Bowyer.

Kurt Busch is currently 19th in the standings with 2,622 points. Newman is 16th with 2,853 and Hornish is 33rd with 1,947.

The Sprint Cup tour now returns to the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway for next Sunday's running of the Sylvania 300. The 300-lap, 317,4-mile battle has a 2:00 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by the ABC-TV group and MRN Radio.