Busch Treasures His Win in 2010 NASCAR All-Star Race

May 19, 2011

Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch recalled last year's Sprint All-Star Race as an event he will always hold fondly. "It was a special race that led to two of the most memorable weekends of my career," said Busch. "The way that we won the All-Star Race last year will always stick out in my mind as quite incredible. Smacking the wall there as hard as we did, you'd have sworn that we didn't have a chance to win it, but we did. Then to come back the next weekend to dominate and win the Coke 600 like we did was such an achievement." (Please see much more on this subject in this week's advance that follows and is attached.)

--Quotes from Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver after winning the 2010 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Courtesy of Dodge Motorsports PR):

"It's an unbelievable experience," Busch said of claiming the special high-dollar and non-points race. "It's something that you sit there and you look at the greats that have won this race, the ones that have had so many years go by in between the wins, just to have an opportunity to go for it tonight, I felt like our Penske Dodge was right where it needed to be at the end. But it also started there. I felt like starting on the pole, having track position early on gave us a good indication on what we should expect for the evening, on how we had to adjust on the car and keep it up front."

"To win the first segment, that was pretty special, one small step as well," Busch said. "Getting into the second segment, we did four tires. That put us eighth on the restart. We weren't able to move up as fast as I thought we could. Got all the way up to third. We were a little loose on that run, faded back to fifth when the second segment closed out. With our strategy to put on just two tires going into the third segment, our thought process was to leave the chassis alone. When we did that, man, the car was awful on that third segment. We were just way tight. Just a whole different attitude in the race car.

"It wore on me pretty heavily," Busch said. "I was telling the guys, we're way tight, we're out of the mix. We faded all the way back to eighth or 10th place, bouncing off the wall. Just trying to get all I could out of the racecar, even though we didn't change a thing. We were very tight. I thought our night was done after that third segment. When we got in for the break, took a deep breath, took those 10 minutes to sit there and try to figure out what we could do as a team to make the car better. I wasn't very helpful. I'll have to admit that. I told Steve Addington, The car is way tight, just fix this bad boy, go for it, go for everything you think we need, I'll drive the wheels off it. If we spin off loose going for it, it means we made adjustments to make the car better.

"It helped us communicate in a certain fashion where the crew chief has to stand up and take the role of being the leader and make the changes. That's sometimes the best-case scenario, where the crew chief makes his work done, puts the faith in the driver, and the driver understands that the crew chief gave it all that he's got, and the two of us went at it. We were able to move up on our pit stop during that four tire mandatory stop. We moved up to eighth place. I felt like the outside is where I found myself on most of the restarts tonight. We got bottled up on one of them.

"From the rest of the night, though, the outside prevailed for us. I think we went all the way from fifth to first in one lap. Our Dodge was money when it counted. We really had a fast race car. It was a pleasure to drive it. The segment before that, though, I wouldn't have given a million bucks for it. Now it has a million dollar name to it. The right side, we have to replace it. We'll think about bringing this car back for next week. I know we have a better piece for next week ready to go for the 600. I'm proud of our effort tonight as a team, as my crew chief and I continue to develop our relationship."

CONCORD, N.C. (May 17, 2011) -- Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch pulled into Victory Lane and had begun celebrating his big win in last year's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he got a tap on the shoulder that got his attention. The pat (on the shoulder and on the back) came from Busch's father, Tom, and it drew him over to look at the practically destroyed right side of his Penske Racing Dodge Charger.

"You know, they say some time you can smack the wall just right and get the handling knocked right back into these race cars," the elder Busch said, chuckling and pointing to the mangled sheet metal. "I think you might have hit on something there, dad," the younger Busch responded, adding a brief hug. "It sure looks like that was the case here tonight, doesn't it?"

Such was the scene after the dust had settled from the 2010 edition of the special annual non-points All-Star battle that saw Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, depart Bruton Smith's 1.5-mile quad-oval race track with a gigantic $1,078,309 payday.

"It was a special race that led to two of the most memorable weekends of my career," said Busch, as his Steve Addington-led Penske Racing "Double Deuce" team heads back to CMS hoping to duplicate the incredible success they had there last May. "The way that we won the All-Star Race last year will always stick out in my mind as quite incredible. Smacking the wall there as hard as we did, you'd have sworn that we didn't have a chance to win it, but we did. Then to come back the next weekend to dominate and win the Coke 600 like we did was such an achievement.

"We had struggled quite a bit through the years at Charlotte, running strong at times, but not being able to be there at the end and battle for the checkered flags," said Busch. "It seemed to be one of my most challenging race tracks. With all the teams based in the Charlotte area, it made that desire and determination even more intense. It was a major goal of mine personally to come to grips with the track and win races there. The win in the All-Star Race might have just gotten us over the hump. It's said that success breeds success and that certainly was true for our Penske Racing Dodge Team there last year."

Since joining Penske for the 2006 season, Busch had never started the All-Star Race outside the top-three positions. But finishing up front was a completely different situation.

After starting third in the 2006 edition of the race, engine problems relegated Busch to a 20th-place finish. He started third again for the 2007 race, but a highly-publicized incident with younger brother, Kyle, forced an early exit and a 19th-place finish. A third-place start in the 2008 race led to a 22nd-place finish due to handling issues and pit strategy. Busch started second in the 2009 race and was finally able to run consistently up front to a third-place finish.

Busch visited the CMS Victory Lane at last in the 2010 All-Star Race. To say that Busch and crew won a hard-fought battle would be a gross understatement. Here is a brief review of Busch's exciting run to the checkered flag in the 2010 Sprint All-Star Race:

Busch started from the pole in the100-lap, four-segment battle due to qualifying getting rained out on Friday night. He was able to show so much strength in the first 50-lap segment that he proved to have a car very capable of winning. In the early going, Jimmie Johnson was able to get b