Kurt Busch To Start 17th in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600

May 22, 2009

CONCORD, N.C. (May 21, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start his "Hot Rod" from the 17th starting spot in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His Penske Racing No. 2 Dodge, sporting a special Miller Lite "Taste Protector" color scheme for the second consecutive weekend here at LMS, earned the spot on the starting grid with a lap of 186.599 mph (28.939 seconds).

"Not a bad lap for our Miller Lite Dodge," said Busch, who was only 36th-fastest in the practice session this afternoon. "We're a little confused about the data we got back from our practice run, so we're going to start over on Saturday and see if we can find a combination that we like. We certainly would have liked to qualify higher to gain a better pit stall, but just missed it a bit. (The car) isn't comfortable to drive right now, so we have to start over and try to get our Miller Lite Dodge better for race day. We've got some work to do, that's for sure."

Busch and his Pat Tryson-led team were left scratching their heads at the end of the day here on Friday. The Miller Lite Dodge they have here this weekend is their "PRS-594" car, the chassis the team used to post a dominant win earlier in the year at Atlanta. Busch named the winning ride "Hot Rod," and with an impressive 3.0 average start and finish in its two races, "Hot Rod" was put back in "cold storage" in anticipation of this weekend's prestigious 600-mile battle.

"We've been scrambling here today," said crew chief Tryson, whose team finished third in last weekend's All-Star race here at LMS and stands third in the current NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. "But we're confident that we'll be able to thrash and come up with what we need. "We have all day off tomorrow to work on our race setup. When we get back here on Saturday for the two practices, we'll have a plan of attack going to deduce what we'll need for Sunday's race. We'll be in good shape come race time, we're confident of that."

Ryan Newman, who was 20th of the 47 drivers who made qualifying attempts, won the Coors Light Pole Award here this evening with a lap of 28.651 seconds, 188.475 mph. It was his 44th career pole position at the Cup level. Kyle Busch, 34th in the order, took the outside-front-row spot with a lap of 28.684 seconds, 188.258 mph.

Jeff Gordon (28.694 seconds/199.193 mph) will start third, with Mark Martin (28.698/188.166) fourth and Jimmie Johnson (28.751/187.820) fifth. Kasey Kahne, Mike Bliss, Brian Vickers, Juan Montoya and Bill Elliott rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.

Joe Nemechek, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, rookie Joey Logano, Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Scott Speed, Carl Edwards and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top-20 qualifiers for Sunday's race.

Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. (29.037/185.970) and David Stremme (29.174/185.096) qualified 26th and 35th, respectively, here today.

There is no action scheduled here at the track on Friday. Saturday's schedule calls for practice from 2:45 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. (live on Speed-TV) and from 6:00 p.m. till 6:50 p.m. (live on Speed-TV). Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (400 laps, 600 miles) on the 1.5-mile quad-oval track is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 5:35 p.m. Race No. 12 of 36 points-paying events on the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by FOX-TV and PRN Radio beginning at 5:00 p.m. EDT.