Kurt Busch Finishes 22nd in Saturday Night's Richmond Battle

May 1, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. (April 30, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch finished 22nd in tonight's Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 here at Richmond International Raceway.  After nine races have been put into the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup record book, Busch holds down the sixth spot in the point standings.

"It was a very frustrating and long night for us," Busch offered after the race.  "We put ourselves behind in qualifying and had to start from the back.  Once the race went green, our car just wore through tires by 40 laps into a run.  We never could back on the lead lap and just when I thought that our car was getting better, we got collected after the 42 (Juan Montoya)  and 39 (Ryan Newman) got together.

"We probably had the strongest car running laps down at the end, but when you get more than one lap down, your day is pretty much done," the 2004 series champion added.  "That was certainly the case for us here tonight.  We just weren't very good tonight."

Busch started 36th and climbed up as far as 25th on Lap 44 before his Dodge Charger's handling woes began to slow him down.  With the race continuing to run under the green, the "Double Deuce" crew never had a chance to make adjustments early in the race and Busch fell a lap down to the leaders on Lap 70.

Busch fell back as far as 32nd before pitting under the green on Lap 82.  That began a series of adjustments by his Steve Addington-led crew that would include not only working with the air pressure and track bar, but also the removal of a spring rubber.

The first yellow did not fly until Lap 107, when Newman got into Montoya, sending the No. 42 car into the outside wall and scattering debris on the track.  Busch was 27th and running one lap down on the Lap 116 restart that followed.  But 50 laps into the run that followed, the handling had gone away again on Busch's Dodge and he fell a second lap down to the leaders on Lap 181.

The Newman/Montoya issues continued on Lap 237, when Montoya punted Newman into the outside wall to bring out the third caution of the race.  Newman was looping his car attempting to get it headed in the right direction when Busch came around the corner with Newman pulling up directly in his path.  The No. 22 Dodge sustained damage to the left-front quarter-panel which required a lengthy stop under the yellow.

Busch fell to 31st for the Lap 245 restart.  He was up to 28th on the Lap 264 restart after the fourth caution (for Joey Logano's spin) and was 27th on Lap 271, when the field went back to green after a Casey Mears spin.

Busch was caught up in a four-wide squeeze on Lap 290 that saw his Dodge get pinched from both sides.  Two laps later, Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski crashed on the frontstretch to bring out the seventh caution of the night that allowed Busch, Addington and crew the opportunity to address their damage under the yellow.

The biggest crash of the night came on Lap 302.  Only a lap after another restart, Matt Kenseth got booted wildly up the track and collected Jeff Gordon and seven other drivers.  Gordon, who led several laps earlier, was done for the night and Kenseth struggled the rest of the evening.

Busch was 26th on the race's final restart on Lap 315 and was able to advance up to 22nd as the race stayed green for the remaining laps.

At the finish, it was Kyle Busch taking the win by 1.805 seconds over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.  Kasey Kahne finished third, with David Ragan fourth and Carl Edwards fifth.  Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers rounded out tonight's top-10 finishers.

After nine races, Edwards continues to lead the points with 335.  Johnson is second with 326; Kyle Busch third with 305; Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth with 301 and Kevin Harvick fifth with 300.  Kurt Busch is sixth with 289, followed by Bowyer (284), Newman (277), Kenseth (276) and Stewart (275) rounding out the top 10.

Keselowski was credited with a 36th-place finish here tonight and is now 28th in the point standings with 179 points.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads to the historical and demanding Darlington Raceway for next weekend's running of the SHOWTIME Southern 500.  Darlington action gets under way on Friday with practice scheduled from 11:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. and from 2:15 p.m. till 3:00 p.m.  Friday's 5:10 p.m. single round of qualifying will establish Saturday's 43-car starting field.  Saturday's SHOWTIME Southern 500 (367 laps, 501.3 miles) has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.