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Fourth-Place Dover Finish Takes Busch to Fourth in Chase

September 27, 2010

Photo courtesy of Autostock



DOVER, Del. (Sept. 26, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch bounced back from a mid-race speeding penalty to finish a strong fourth in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Busch matched his best career finish here at Dover this afternoon and moved up to fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings in the process.

"The Miller Lite Dodge was a very good race car today," Busch said after climbing out of his car on pit road immediately after the race. "Steve (Addington, crew chief) has helped me a lot here at Dover. We had a pit road speeding penalty and it was my fault. The driver was just too aggressive. I was trying to be right on the edge getting in the pits. That hurt us. That was right at half way and it took us 200 laps to get back up to fourth. I think we were running third when we had the penalty.

"Who knows if we could have mixed it up there at the end?" said Busch, who also finished fourth at Dover in the September 2006 race. "If we had one more restart, maybe, but it was a good solid top-five finish. This was a tough one and Kansas will be a tough one. I'm real happy with this effort today. We were the third highest-finishing Chase guy, that's what is most important."

Busch started today's race from the eighth spot and made a steady move toward the front. He was up to sixth at Lap 65 and up to fifth on Lap 72. His car's handling was, "a little on the loose side" for the first 100 laps of the race.

When a round of green-flag pit stops cycled on Lap 127, Busch was all the way up to fourth and he continued to run in that spot for a lengthy stretch of green-flag racing. Matt Kenseth shredded a left-front tire on Lap 189 and the debris left on the frontstretch was cause for NASCAR officials to display the third caution flag of the day.

Unfortunately for Busch, he was tagged with a penalty for speeding during his entry into his pit box on Lap 189. That resulted in Busch being sent to the rear of the field for the Lap 193 restart. The Miller Lite Dodge was shown in 18th and at the rear of the field when the green flag was displayed again.

The adjustments made during Busch's visit to pit road helped bring his car to life and the 2004 series champ was on a mission to rebound from his mistake. After restarting 18th, he was up to 15th only two laps into the run. He was up to 14th on Lap 240, 13th on Lap 250 and 12th on Lap 252.

Another round of green-flag pit stops were the order beginning on Lap 263. Big-picture thinking by Addington saw Busch continue to log laps and lead Lap 268 to pick up five bonus points before hitting pit road.

Busch was shown in the 12th position when the pit stops cycled around on Lap 272. The 22-race winner on the elite Sprint Cup Series then began a rampage back up through the field, displaying his ability to keep emotions in check and focusing on the job at hand. He passed Juan Montoya for 11th on Lap 276; got around Kevin Harvick for 10th on Lap 280 and disposed of Paul Menard for ninth on Lap 282. He had gotten around Ryan Newman for the eighth spot on Lap 285, five laps before the fourth caution of the race was displayed on Lap 290, this one for debris on the track.

Busch hit pit road for service in the eighth spot on Lap 292 and was also eight in the running order on the Lap 296 restart. As he normally does on restarts, Busch was able to make the right moves immediately after the race returned to green. He was up to fifth on lap 297 and he got around younger brother, Kyle, for fourth on lap 361.

The "Blue Deuce" team made their final visit to pit road under the green on Lap 364. Busch was back to fifth when the stops cycled around on Lap 366, but was able to pass his brother again on Lap 374 to move back into the fourth spot.

Jimmie Johnson had chased down Kyle Busch and passed him to take the lead on Lap 339. Once he made that pass, there was nothing to stand in the way of the defending series champ to claim his sixth career win here on the "Monster Mile." He finished 2.637 seconds in front of runner-up Jeff Burton. Joey Logano finished third with Kurt Busch fourth and Carl Edwards fifth. Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and A. J. Allmendinger rounded out today's top-10 finishers.

"I was trying for every tenth-of-a-second I could possibly get," the Miller Lite Dodge driver said of the final laps. "We ran our fastest laps then. Maybe I hurt the tires a little bit as we weren't quite as fast the last 15 laps. We were right in the mix. We made small adjustments all day to stay competitive. The Miller Lite Dodge was a winning car. The driver just messed up today getting into the pits. But we came back and finished fourth."

"We just started off way too loose," Addington said after the race. "(It was) a great job by everybody on this race team. We worked really hard and just wanted to come out of here with a solid run. We got behind when we got caught speeding on pit road, but that's just the effort of Kurt picking up all the tenths-of-a-second that he can. We'd been loose all day and we just kept chipping at it and finally got a little bit more aggressive with the car. We ended up being the fastest car on the race track at one point. One set of tires didn't have the grip that the others sets did and that's where we got a little bit off. The crew guys made great stops the rest of the day and we were able to bring home a fourth-place finish in the Miller Lite Dodge."

After two of the 10 Chase races have been put into the record books, Hamlin holds the points lead with 5,368 points. Johnson is up to second with 5,333. Kyle Busch is third with 5,323 and Kurt Busch is fourth with 5,309. Kevin Harvick is fifth with 5,303 and Edwards is sixth with 5,295. A quick visit to the calculator shows that the "Blue Deuce driver is 59 points out of the lead. He is 24 points out of second and 14 points out of third.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads out to Kansas Speedway for the third race of the 10-race Sprint to the finish for the 2010 season. This weekend's schedule at Kansas begins on Friday with practice from 12:00 noon till 1:30 p.m. CDT. Friday's 3:40 p.m. single round of qualifying will set Sunday's 43-car starting field. Saturday's schedule offers practice sessions from 11:30 a.m. till 12:15 p.m. and from 12:50 p.m. till 1:50 p.m. Sunday's Price Chopper 400 (267 Laps, 400.5 miles) has a scheduled 12:00 p.m. CDT starting time and features live coverage by ABC-TV and MRN Radio.