Kurt Busch Starting 10th in Saturday Night's Bristol Battle

August 26, 2011

BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 26, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start 10th in Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race here at Bristol Motor Speedway after turning in a qualifying lap of 15.699 seconds (124.224 mph) in this afternoon’s time trial session.  Today’s effort helped earn the 2004 Sprint Cup Champ only his second top-10 starting spot in the last 10 races here on this 0.533-mile high-banked oval.

"It was a little on the loose side, but I’m pleased with the pickup we had from practice,” said Busch, whose fastest lap in the two hours and 45 minutes of practice was a 15.93-second lap.  “I could get in the gas early, put I just couldn’t put it down.  I said after practice that I was hoping we could qualify in the top 10.  We did that, should get a decent spot on pit road and we’ll go from there.”

Ryan Newman claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 15.623 seconds (122.818 mph).  Carl Edwards will start second after turning in a lap of 15.642 seconds.  Matt Kenneth (lap of 15.643 seconds) will start third, with Jeff Gordon (15.654) fourth and Mark Martin (15.658) fifth.

Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski (lap of 15.683 seconds/122.349 mph in the Miller Lite Dodge), Joey Logano and Busch round out tomorrow night’s top-10 starters.

In 21 career Bristol Sprint Cup races entering this weekend, Busch has scored five wins, six top-five finishes, 13 top-10s and one Coors Light Pole Award.  Four of his five wins have come in the day races and he longs for another night race win here.

“When people think of the night races on the NASCAR schedule, naturally you think of the Bristol race under the lights as being the benchmark,” said Busch.  “It’s a special win, no doubt about it.  It is kinda unusual how things have shaken down through the years.  We have our five career wins here and we only have one win in the night race.”

Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race (500 laps, 266.5 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ABC-TV and PRN Radio presenting live coverage.  Due to some ABC affiliates carrying telecasts of NFL pre-season football games or other programming on Saturday night, the race will air regionally on ESPN2 in eight markets: Nashville, Tenn.; Duluth and Rochester, Minn.; Phoenix; Casper, Wy.; Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D.; and Weslaco, Tex. In Houston, the race will air on the local ABC affiliate's digital tier station.