Kurt Busch Starting 17th in Sunday's Kobalt 500 at PIR

November 12, 2011

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 12, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 here at Phoenix International Raceway from the 17th position after turning in a lap of 26.622 seconds (135.227 mph) in Saturday’s qualifying session.

“Just loose in, tight in the center and loose off,” Busch said after making his run against the stopwatch.  “We watched Brad make his run up as we were against the pit wall down in Turn 1 and made a small adjustment with the right front air pressure.  We were definitely looking for more, but we’ll have to play catch up during the early part of the race.”

 Matt Kenseth, the next-to-last driver to make his run this afternoon, claimed the Coors Light Pole Award today with his fast lap of 26.258 seconds (137.101 mph).  Kenseth’s pole was his third of the season and now sets up a four-way tie in the battle for the most poles heading into next weekend’s Homestead season finale.

 “That should certainly spice up qualifying day down there,” Busch offered.  “It’s a four-way tie we’re in heading into Homestead.  We will definitely be paying closer attention to Kenseth, (Greg) Biffle and (Ryan) Newman than we normally do in all the practice leading up to qualifying.  The winner of most poles will win $100,000 from Coors Light. The award will be presented at the Myers Brothers Luncheon during Champions Week in Las Vegas.  Busch has claimed two career poles at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A.J. Allmendinger will start on the outside pole after turning in a lap of 26.384 seconds (136.446 mph).  Marcos Ambrose (lap of 26.441 seconds/136.307 mph) will start third, with Mark Martin (26.455 seconds/136.080 mph) fourth and Martin Truex Jr. (26.455 seconds/136.080 mph) fifth.  Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne rounded out today’s top-10 qualifiers.

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start the Miller Lite Dodge from the 12th position after turning in a lap of 26.585 seconds (135.415 mph).

Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 (500 kilometers/312 miles/312 laps) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. local starting time (Mountain Standard Time) here on this totally repaved and redesigned 1.0-mile speed plant known as the Desert Mile.  ESPN-TV and MRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.