TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 5, 2008) – Penske Racing drivers Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman finished 21st and 43rd respectively at Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s AMP Energy 500.
Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, started 33rd and led the 500-mile event for two laps before engine problems sent him behind pit wall. The Pat Tryson-led Penske Racing team was determined to return to action and their persistence paid off as the No. 2 car returned in the 39th spot after losing 10 laps behind the wall. After two of the “big ones” - the multi-car crashes that are typical with the restrictor-plate races held on the 2.66-mile Alabama track - took their toll on the 43-car starting field, Busch was able to bounce back and pull out a 21st-place finish for the day.
“Our car was strong enough to stay in the lead lap and by playing our cards right, we hooked up with Brian Vickers and led for two laps,” Busch said after the race. “But with him pushing us out front, it must have pegged the rev meter and we just put too much strain on the engine.”
Superspeedways have been a strong suit for Newman and the No. 12 Alltel Dodge throughout the 2008 season, beginning with a season-opening victory in the Daytona 500 in February. However, Newman, who started 24th, suffered engine problems early in the 190-lap event and ended the final superspeedway race of the season with a 43rd-place finish. With six races remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series season, Newman is 15th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings.
“Something broke in the motor, and that was it for the Alltel Dodge,” Newman said after the No. 12 machine was retired for the day. “It’s really a shame. We have had some really good superspeedway races this season. I was trying to just hang out back there and stay out of trouble so we would have a shot at the end of the race.”
Sam Hornish Jr. and the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger did not qualify for the AMP Energy 500.
The Penske Racing trio returns to action at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 11, for the Bank of America 500. The race can be seen on ABC television at 7 p.m. ET and heard on the PRN radio network at 7:25 p.m. ET.