Kurt Busch Enters Richmond On A Roll With Miller Lite Dodge

April 28, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. (April 28, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is carrying the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead and an impressive streak of race finishes into this weekend's Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The 2004 series champ is hoping for more of the same for his No. 2 Penske Racing Team in Saturday night's battle under the lights.

"We're coming into Richmond on a pretty big roll after finishing eighth at Texas, third at Phoenix and sixth at Talladega," Busch said of his 5.7 average finish over the last three races, which has been a significant factor in moving the 2004 champion back to the top of the point standings. "Getting those solid finishes on an intermediate track, a one-mile flat layout and then a big superspeedway - on three such diverse tracks - certainly has our spirits high.

"Being in the points lead is great and is something to be proud of, but we know we have to keep all that pride and emotion in check," Busch said of his first time with the points lead in the last 150 races. "We're only nine races into the season - Richmond will be the 10th race this year - and there is just so much more racing to be done. We can't let any of the early success we've enjoyed so far go to our heads.

"Our plan when we entered this season was to attack each and every race like it was the most important race on the schedule, with our first major goal being to make the Chase," said Busch, who enters Saturday night's Richmond battle sporting an impressive 9.4 average finish for the year so far. "Our strategy has been to attack every race with the attitude of getting everything we can out of it. If we have a top-10 car, then we strive to make sure we come out of the race with a top-10 finish.

"Before the season started, Pat and I had many discussions about strategies and goals for the 2009 season and the subject would always come back to our objective of being as consistent as we could in every race," said Busch, whose Pat Tryson-led team is riding an incredible lap-completion percentage that shows only one unfinished lap so far this year (2,853/2,854 = 99.97%). "We've been executing the strategy we adopted entering 2009 extremely well and it's paying dividends.

"Our plan is to keep focused and try to stay the course as the season rolls on," said Busch, who stood fourth in the point standings (trailing leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 125 points) after nine races during his successful run to the 2004 NASCAR points title. "We're looking at it as if we have nine races behind us and 17 to go in getting everything we can out of each and every one of them."

Crew chief Tryson enters this weekend's Richmond race on the exact same page as his driver, opting to not place much emphasis on being the current points leader.

"What you've got to show for yourselves after nine races doesn't mean anything compared to where you stand after 26," offered Tryson, who'll be celebrating his 350th race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief (and 67th leading Busch's team) in Saturday night's race at Richmond. "Kurt's been driving the wheels off the cars and we've been able to put some really strong equipment out there this season. The new Dodge engines have been strong and durable and our pit crew has been awesome overall.

"We have a ton of momentum heading into this weekend and our goal for the weekend is to keep that going," said Tryson. "We're bringing the car we raced at Phoenix with us. Kurt really likes the car and we all are confident that we can get the job done with it and reach our goal at Richmond on Saturday night."

The car of choice for this weekend out of the "blue deuce" stable is the "PRS-576" Miller Lite Dodge Charger. Its impressive track record includes a sixth at New Hampshire last September, a second at Phoenix last November and a third at Phoenix on April 18. In the three races that Busch, Tryson and crew have competed with this car, they have posted a 3.7 average finish and they led laps in two of those races.

Busch's Richmond career track record entering this weekend boasts one win (September 2005), two top-five finishes and five top-10s in 16 career starts in Cup competition. In last year's Crown Royal 400, Busch started 21st and was running 12th before getting crashed out after 229 laps, relegating him to a 42nd-place finish. He started 20th and finished 10th in the most recent race at Richmond last September. Busch competed in one NASCAR truck series race, starting from the pole and finishing third in September 2000. In two IROC starts at Richmond, he started eighth and finished third in 2004 and started fourth and finished second in 2005.

This weekend's Richmond action gets under way on Friday with practice scheduled from 12:00 noon till 1:30 p.m. Friday's 5:40 p.m. single round of qualifying will establish Saturday's 43-car starting field, with all cars impounded immediately after the session. Saturday's Crown Royal 400 (400 laps, 300 miles) has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.