Kurt Busch Starting Fourth In Lenox Tool 301 At Loudon

July 15, 2011

LOUDON, N.H. (July 15, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 from the fourth position after turning in a lap of 28.352 seconds (134.340 mph) in this afternoon's qualifying session.  Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champ, will be going for his fourth career win here on the flat 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval in Sunday's battle.
"That was a good lap for our Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Dodge," Busch said after making his run.  "We picked up from practice and that's what you always want to do.  We were a little confused as to whether we needed to really try and get it on the first lap or stick with our plan of getting it on our second lap.  We saw with the sticker tires in practice that we could run our faster lap on the second one.
"We were tight coming off Turn 2 on the first lap and that's just (because of) the air pressures building.  We had seen the most consistency on our second lap and that's the way it turned out.  But overall, (it was) a great lap for our Shell-Pennzoil/AAA Dodge.  AAA has a lot of support up here and it's great to have them on board. It's a flat one-mile track and I like it."
The Stewart-Haas duo of Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart claimed the front-row starting spots here this afternoon, with Newman winning the Coors Light Pole Award with a fast lap of 28.185 seconds (135.232 mph).  Stewart's second-fastest circuit was a 28.200 second (135.064 mph) lap.  David Reutimann took the third starting spot with his 28.263-second (134.763 mph) lap.  Starting behind Busch and rounding out the top-five qualifiers here this afternoon was Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, who turned in a lap of 28.392 seconds (134.150 mph) in his Miller Lite Dodge.
Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Paul Menard and Kasey Kahne rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.
Busch is looking forward to Sunday's battle and is hoping to keep the consistency he has enjoyed this season going, but he knows it will be a challenge.  "This is a tough track with strategy," said Busch, who last won here in the 2008 edition of this race after starting 26th.  "Taking two tires at the end or when is the final time that you want to pit is always in question.  Fuel mileage comes into play on who can pit for the final time and last the longest on a tank of gas.  So it changes with the way the yellows fall and with your strategy.  A track like this, the fastest car usually does win, but it also lends itself to unique ways to get a win."
"I'm really proud of the way Kurt and our team performed here today and it's a good way to start off what could be a great weekend," offered crew chief Steve Addington.  "It's another example of the two Penske teams working super together.  We look at this as just a big short track and when was the last time we had both cars starting in the top-five in one of those races?"
Saturday's schedule here at NHMS calls for practice from 9:00 a.m. till 10:20 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, 318.46 miles) is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 1:00 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 19 of 36 points-paying events on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by TNT-TV and PRN Radio.