Kurt Busch Claims Second Coors Light Pole In As Many Weeks

June 11, 2011

LONG POND, Pa. (June 11, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch claimed the Coors Light Pole Award for tomorrow's 5-Hour Energy 500 here at Pocono Raceway with a fast lap of 52.454 seconds (171.579 mph).  It was the first Pocono pole for the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champ and it came in a backup Penske Racing "Double Deuce" Dodge Charger.

"Man, this feels great," said Busch, who was the 40th of the 44 drivers to make his run against the clock.  "We won the pole last weekend at Kansas and I was worried about it being that unlucky No. 13 for me.  I was hoping that I wouldn't be stuck on that number very long.  But, I certainly didn't think No. 14 would come this soon.

"This is a big testament to the commitment for excellence we're getting now from everyone involved at Penske Racing," said Busch.  "I'm proud of everyone on both the teams here at the track and especially all the hard-working employees back at the shop in Mooresville.  It's the third consecutive pole for Penske.  We led the most laps last week at Kansas and Brad (Keselowski) won the race.

"There has been a lot of good to occur since our low point at Richmond.  We've all taken a hard look at what we had and the path we were on.  We knew that we were going to have to recommit ourselves and ramp everything up at a higher level if we're hoping to make the Chase and have a shot at a championship.

"I'm so proud of all my guys on this Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team," said Busch.  "I missed my shifting over in the tunnel turn in practice yesterday, got loose and crashed our primary Dodge.  The guys immediately went to getting the backup ready and I saw a bunch of blue shirts (Keselowski crew members) over there thrashing to get it ready.  "We were able to get in 10 laps of practice and get a good feel for what we needed here today.

"This run here today gets us that No. 1 pit spot down there at the end of pit road and that means a lot.  Since we didn't get in that many laps with this car, I'm sure that we'll be leaning on our teammates over there on the ‘Blue Deuce' team (Keselowski) and see what we can come up with for our race setup."
Paul Menard will start beside Busch on the front row here tomorrow after he turned in a lap of 52.502 seconds (171.422 mph).  Jeff Gordon (52.524 seconds/171.350 mph) will start third, with Denny Hamlin (52.578/171.174) fourth and Regan Smith (52.581/171.164) fifth.  Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman, David Reutimann and Mark Martin rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.
Keselowski will start 20th here tomorrow after clocking in with a lap of 53.097 seconds (169.501 mph).
Sunday's 5-Hour Energy 500 (200 laps, 500 miles) here at Pocono Raceway is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1:00 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by TNT-TV and MRN Radio.