Busch and Miller Lite Dodge To Start 17th at Richmond

May 2, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. (May 1, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start 17th in Saturday night's Crown Royal 400 here at Richmond International Raceway after turning in an official qualifying lap of 125.716 mph (21.477 seconds) in this afternoon's time trial session.

"I felt like we made a couple of adjustments (for qualifying) and just ended up on the tight side," Busch explained after climbing from his No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge on pit road. "All-in-all, it's okay right now. If it would have rained today, we would have been starting on the pole (due to being the current points leader), but right now the weather is holding out which is great for the fans here for the Nationwide race.

"I'll go back with Pat (Tryson, crew chief) and look over our notes and tighten it up a bit for tomorrow," added Busch, who was 35th of 45 drivers to take to the track. "I expected a little bit cooler track temperatures and just didn't get it for the changes that we tried to make for the speed we wanted."

Brian Vickers, who was third-fastest in practice behind Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, was 10th out to make his qualifying effort. His lap of 127.131 mph (21.238 seconds) held up through the remainder of the qualifying session and took the Coors Light Pole Award here today.

Gordon (126.844 mph/21.286 seconds) took the outside-front-row starting spot, with Denny Hamlin (126.665/21.316) third, Martin Truex Jr. (126.642/21.320) fourth and Jeff Burton (126.322/21.374) fifth. Mike Bliss (in the #09 car, the team that won at Talladega last Sunday), Mark Martin, Scott Speed, David Reutimann and Ryan Newman rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.

David Stremme (125.927 mph/21.441 seconds) led the Penske Racing contingent here today and picked up the 11th starting spot. Sam Hornish Jr. had the dubious distinction of having to go out first and his lap of 124.763 mph (21.641 seconds) earned him the 28th starting spot.

Busch will certainly have plenty of good company starting around him on Saturday night, as brother Kyle starts 14th, Johnson 15th and Tony Stewart 16th. Kasey Kahne goes 18th and Greg Biffle starts 20th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 25th, while Matt Kenseth starts back in 35th and Carl Edwards even further back, in the 37th spot.

"We didn't concentrate much at all on qualifying trim and got in a 30-lap run during practice," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "We kept on getting looser during the long run and we'll hopefully hit on something that'll really be fast here tomorrow night. When we practice here in the heat of the day and race on into the cool of the night, there's a lot of thinking that goes into what race setup you have in these cars. We've got an eye on the weather situation here, too.

"We're just hoping to get another solid finish here tomorrow night and keep the momentum going that we've been enjoying the last several weeks," Tryson said. "We'll be doing everything we can do to keep that Miller Lite Dodge running up front and finishing there, too, that's for sure."

Saturday's Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 (400 laps, 300 miles) has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.