Kurt Busch Starting Third In The State 400

July 8, 2011

SPARTA, Ky. (July 8, 2011) – Shell- Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start Saturday night’s inaugural Quaker State 400 from the third position due to his Steve Addington-led team’s great performance in today’s practice session.  Hampered by adverse weather for much of the day, NASCAR officials pulled the plug on qualifying after 22 of the 48 drivers had made their qualifying attempts.

The teams had gotten 90 minutes of practice in and the 5:10 p.m. qualifying session began as scheduled.  But another front hit the area and the rain began to fall again when Mark Martin, the 22nd driver in the qualifying order, was concluding his effort.  NASCAR had hopes of drying the track and concluding the session, but a lingering drizzle forced them to cancel qualifying and set the field by the rule book as the time was nearing for tonight’s Nationwide Series race.

“We start P-3 (third position) and never turned a qualifying lap,” said Busch.  “That just goes to show you how important it is to try to excel every moment that you get track time.  Steve and the guys have really been on their game the last six weeks and I am so proud of them.  This will give us a great spot on pit road for tomorrow night’s race and I am really optimistic that we’ll have a chance to win the first Sprint Cup race here at Kentucky Speedway tomorrow night.”

The “rule book procedure” to establish Saturday night’s starting field is based off today’s practice speeds and will see Kyle Busch start on the pole.  Juan Pablo Montoya starts second, with Kurt Busch third, Kasey Kahne fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth.  Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski (starting sixth), Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Tony Stewart and Paul Menard round out the top-10 starters.

“Hat’s off to all the guys on this ‘’Double-Deuce’ Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team for all the hard work they put in here – not just today, but yesterday, too,” said crew chief Addington.  “We came in here not really knowing what to expect, but were confident because we have Kurt Busch driving our cars.  We got in enough practice here yesterday that we knew we’d be pretty strong in qualifying trim.  We’re just as strong in race trim, too.

“We’ll go down there to the pit selection now, knowing that we have the third pick and that will add to the confidence level we’ll have here tomorrow night.  We want to win the first Cup race here and I honestly think we’ll have a great shot at it.”

Addington chose pit stall No. 31.  There is an opening directly in front and the No. 60 team of Mike Skinner will be pitting behind the “double-deuce” team.

Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 is a 267-lap, 400.5-mile battle around the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval, with the green flag expected to fall just after 7:30 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 18 of 36 points-paying events on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by TNT-TV and PRN Radio.