Kurt Busch Returns To New Hampshire Recalling 2008 Victory

June 24, 2009

LOUDON, N.H. (June 23, 2009) - According to Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch, the rain that cut short last year's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and led race officials to call him the winner after 284 of the scheduled 300 laps only helped expedite the inevitable.

"To this day, there are still a lot of people who don't realize the whole story when it came to our Miller Lite Dodge Team winning that race," Busch said of the June 2008 win, his third career victory on the relatively flat, yet very demanding 1.058-mile track. "In our eyes, it will always be a fuel mileage win. I don't think that the record was ever set straight about what all came down there during the June race last year.

"The bottom line is that we had a pretty good car that day," said Busch of the team's "PSC-574" Miller Lite Dodge Charger the team was debuting in the race. "It was the same car we raced at Richmond last September and ran decent with (finished 10th). We haven't raced that car this season, but its clone ("PRS-576") is the car we finished third with at Phoenix earlier this season and it's the car we'll be racing again this weekend at Loudon.

"Having that good of a car there last June put us in position to stretch our fuel a little bit," Busch continued. "When we could make it to the end on fuel, we pitted. We needed a few laps to help us. But we were gonna be loaded for bear and ready to rock n' roll if it came down to the end. When everybody pitted with, I don't know, 30 laps to go, when I was told, you're in the lead, there's 26 laps to go, that's the most motivation a driver could ever ask for because you want to hold it off and bring it home for your team. So we were gonna have our work cut out for us. I felt we could have held off some the guys right behind us, and our pit strategy worked out perfect.

"We're confident that with as strong of a car as we had there that day, with enough fuel to make it to the end and with a buffer of cars between us and the fast guys, we would have been able to win anyway. Had the race been run in its entirety, I feel we would still have won.

"So, it was really clear to us - just as clear then as it is now - regardless of the race being called as official due to the rain, we chalked the win up to Pat using great strategy," Busch said of crew chief Pat Tryson's calls from atop the pit box that day. "It really chapped us when we heard reports that we would not have won unless the rain came.

* * *

A brief recap of the June 29, 2008 Lenox Industrial Tools 301, from the Busch team perspective:

Busch started the race from the 26th starting spot. He proved to have a competitive car from the drop of the green flag as he worked his way up into the top 20 at Lap 19. He hovered around 20th for much of the first third of the race. Although his car had a slight "tight" condition in the center of the turns, his team made adjustments and Busch continued to advance through the pack.

Busch had made it up to 11th just past the race's mid-point, but after a 14.691-second pit stop under the fourth caution period on Lap 203, he fell to 14th in the running order. When Aric Almirola spun in Turn 4 on Lap 217 to bring out the fifth yellow flag of the race, Tryson's strategy started to unfold.

While Tony Stewart had led the most laps and looked to be unstoppable up front, he along with the other top-13 cars stayed out on the track. Tryson opted to bring Busch back down pit road to top off with fuel.

"We look to be a little short on fuel right now to go the distance, but if we get a few more caution laps we should be in great shape," Tryson said on the team radio just prior to the Lap 221 restart, with Busch now back in the 19th spot. "Just be smooth and we can win this thing. The rest of these guys will have to pit for fuel."

Busch had a really close call on Lap 246 when he slapped the outside wall while trying to pass Juan Pablo Montoya. His forward progress had stalled while he was running 18th with 35 laps remaining.

Jamie McMurray clipped Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the pit entrance in Turn 4 on Lap 271 to bring out the sixth caution flag of the event.

Tryson was right with his prediction as all 17 cars running in front of Busch hit pit road after the yellow flag flew. Busch took the lead on Lap 275 and was at the front of the pack for the Lap 278 restart.

The seventh caution of the race fell on Lap 280 for an altercation between Sam Hornish Jr. and Clint Bowyer in Turn 4. Under the yellow, Montoya intentionally spun out Kyle Busch as light rain began to fall.

NASCAR officials were forced to bring the field, led by Busch's No. 2 Dodge, down pit road on Lap 284 and display the red flag. As the cars came to a halt, the light rain turned into a downpour.

With a strong storm bearing down on the area, the race was declared official after 284 laps at 5:12 p.m. Finishing second behind winner Busch was Michael Waltrip, with J.J. Yeley third, Martin Truex Jr. fourth and Elliott Sadler fifth. Reed Sorenson, Casey Mears, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top-10 finishers.

* * *

This weekend's New Hampshire Motor Speedway action gets under way on Friday with practice set from noon till 1:30 p.m. (live on Speed-TV). Qualifying for all 43 starting positions is set for Friday at 3:10 p.m. (live on Speed-TV & PRN Radio). Saturday's schedule calls for practice from 9:00 a.m. till 9:50 a.m. (live on Speed-TV) and from 11:45 a.m. till 12:45 p.m. (live on Speed-TV). Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 (301 Laps, 318.485 Miles) is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 2:00 p.m. EDT. Race No. 17 of 36 points-paying events on the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by TNT-TV and PRN Radio.