Busch and Miller Lite Dodge to Start 19th at Dover

May 29, 2009

DOVER, Del. (May 29, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 here at Dover International Speedway from the 19th position after turning in a qualifying lap of 23.221 seconds (155.032 mph).

"We'd hoped for better than that, but I guess from the looks of things, it could have been a lot worse," Busch said of his effort, which came 16th in the qualifying order. "You've got so many of the good teams starting further behind us and the points leader crashing and having to start from the rear.

"We were just too tight in the apexes of the turns and too loose off on our lap," continued Busch, who had been ninth-fastest in practice with a lap of 23.014 seconds (156.427 mph). "The track got hotter and slower between practice and qualifying. Most all the guys, even the pole-winner, were about a tenth (of a second) slower. If we could have kept up with that trend, we'd have run a 3.11 (23.11-second lap) and that would have had us up there in the top 10 (would have been seventh).

"The important thing is that we have a good car in race trim, a good-handling Miller Lite Dodge," said Busch. "We have two practices here tomorrow to get her dialed in and we'll be making the best of them both."

David Reutimann, who was the surprise winner of Monday's rain-delayed-and-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, continued to turn heads here today by claiming the pole (second of '09, also won pole at Texas) with a fast lap of 22.960 seconds (156.794 mph). Reutimann was also fastest in today's practice (22.862 seconds/157.467 mph).

Kasey Kahne, who is running the new Dodge engine here this weekend for the first time and who was second-fastest in practice (22.923 seconds/157.048 mph), was first out in the qualifying order and took the outside-front-row starting spot with his lap of 22.997 seconds (156.542 mph). Juan Montoya (23.074/156.020) will start third, with Reed Sorenson (23.084/155.952) fourth and Greg Biffle (23.087/155.932) fifth.

Kyle Busch, A.J. Almendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers. Sam Hornish Jr. (23.160 seconds/155.440 mph) qualified 12th in his Mobil 1 Dodge to lead the Penske Racing effort here today, while David Stremme (23.387 seconds/153.932 mph) will start 30th in his No. 12 Dodge.

Current NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon made hard contact with the Turn 2 wall during his qualifying run and will start from the 42nd spot in his backup car.

"I guess we'll get to test Dover's new and improved pit road here on Sunday," crew chief Pat Tryson said of the upgraded pit lane, which features a four-foot wider entrance and exit and four-foot longer pit boxes. "Hopefully, their improvements will equal things out and will decrease the value of that No. 1 pit box. It'll still be the best place (to pit) here, no doubt about that, but maybe things will be a little more equal here on pit road on Sunday. Our big goal will be to get a good finish and increase our lead on the 13th-place guy (increase Chase Buffer Points)."

Saturday's schedule here at the "Monster Mile" calls for practice from 11:30.m. till 12:15 p.m. (live on Speed-TV) and from 12:50 p.m. till 1:50 p.m. (live on Speed-TV). Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 (400 laps, 400 miles) on the "Monster Mile" is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 2:00 p.m. Race No. 13 of 36 points-paying events on the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.