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CHASE SPOT CLINCHED; KURT BUSCH AFTER BONUS POINTS AT RICHMOND

-Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Driver Looking To Close Out “Regular Season” On Positive Note Saturday-

September 9, 2011

Photo Courtesy of Autostock



Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Penske Racing "Double-Deuce" team will be racing their "PRS-749" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. "It's the car that we had at the first race at Richmond this year," offered crew chief Addington. "After that race, we took it back to the shop and completely reworked it. It has been riding around in our team transporter quiet a bit lately. It's been in the trailer as our backup car at Indy, Kentucky and Pocono. With the Chase spot locked up, we plan on trying some things and having some fun at Richmond on Saturday night."

Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch enters this weekend's Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway with the luxury of having clinched a spot in the 2011 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Busch entered Wednesday's Atlanta race with a 60-point "buffer" over 11th and needed only to emerge from the battle with a 49-point advantage. His fourth-place finish sees him heading into Richmond climbing to seventh in the standings, holding a 61-point lead over 11th and solidly in the Chase. Busch won the initial Chase-format championship in 2004 and will compete in his sixth edition (of eight) of the Chase when it kicks off on Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway. "It's a great situation to be in for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team," said Busch. "Because we're locked in, many might look at it as a ‘throwaway race' because of the buffer we've built. We're looking at it as an additional opportunity to try some things that we probably wouldn't have otherwise. It'll be nice to go into Saturday night's race without having to be really conservative and worried about keeping up with where this driver is running or where that driver is running."


RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 6, 2011) - Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch enters Saturday night's Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a 2011 Chase spot already in his pocket. The winner of the 2004 series championship during the initial season for the Chase format, Busch sees the situation as a "free pass to try some things" in an effort to win the race and pick up additional bonus points heading into the final 10-race stretch.

"It's a great situation to be in for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team," said Busch, who will compete in his sixth edition (of eight) of the Chase when it kicks off on Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway. "Because we're locked in, many might look at it as a ‘throwaway race' because of the buffer we've built. We're looking at it as an additional opportunity to try some things that we probably wouldn't have otherwise. It'll be nice to go into Saturday night's race without having to be really conservative and worried about keeping up with where this driver is running or where that driver is running."

Busch entered Wednesday's weather-delayed AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta with a 60-point "buffer" over 11th and needed only to emerge from the battle with a 49-point advantage. His fourth-place finish sees him heading into Richmond climbing to seventh in the standings, holding a 61-point lead over 11th and solidly in the Chase.

"Richmond was a fun race last spring and it was well documented," Busch said of the most recent race on the three-quarter-mile oval, the April 30 Crown Royal 400. Busch started 36th and finished 22nd in the race and voiced displeasure of his team's competitiveness on the team radio during the race. "I can't have people not stop talking about it. Maybe we can bounce back and get that behind us once and for all.

"The bottom line is that Penske Racing has come such a long way since then," said Busch. "The communication is great.. The right people are in the right spots. To see the quick turnaround and to see the success, it's turned out really well. Voicing my opinion like I did, that wasn't the best stage to do it on, but we've been rockin' and rollin' ever since.

"We'll have a lot of fun at Richmond and hopefully have a super strong run there on Saturday night," said Busch. "Then we'll head up to Chicago, which is one of my favorite race tracks, and get in the groove of the Chase. Every position counts. Everyone needs to click on all eight cylinders on our team from there on out. We know that we've got 10 weeks ahead of us that are the most important 10 weeks of the season. Our Dodges are running so well right now and (teammate Brad) Keselowski's in. We're in. We're a two-team effort for Dodge and here we are with our Dodge Chargers running with the big boys. We're right in this mix. I feel really proud of my guys."

"The thing about racing at Richmond is that it seems like the best cars always come out on top," said Busch, as he thought about what it will take to be competitive in Saturday night's 400-lap, 300-mile battle under the lights. "You have to come in there thinking that the yellow flag will prevail like it normally does and we'll have some restarts at the end of the race. We usually have a period of long green-flag racing in the middle portion of the race, too. With that in mind, we hope to have our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge capable of running solid during that stretch and still be adjustable enough to be able to really get after it in a short sprint to the finish if it comes down to that and it usually does."

"We're planning on having a lot of fun at Richmond this weekend," said crew chief Steve Addington. "We tried several things out at Phoenix when we were doing the Goodyear tire test (on Aug. 29-30) that we intend on trying to implement at Richmond this weekend. We're locked into the Chase and can take a really open-minded attitude trying to win the thing. We definitely don't have to go the conservative route and that'll be a neat position to be in.

"We're focused on winning this weekend at Richmond, picking up those valuable bonus points entering the Chase and going into those final 10 races with a lot of momentum and a full-steam-ahead attitude," Addington added. "Some of the guys have won more races already this season and have more bonus points built up. We need to try to even the score and get on a more level playing field as we head on to Chicago (Chicagoland Speedway) and kick off this year's Chase."

In his 21 career races at Richmond, Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch has recorded one win (9/10/05), three top-five finishes and six top-10s. He has a 20.6 average start and an 18.0 average finish. He has been running at the finish in 20 of those races and finished on the lead lap in nine of the races.

Busch, Addington and the "Double-Deuce" team will be racing their "PRS-749" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. "It's the car that we had at the first race at Richmond this year," said Addington. "After that race, we took it back to the shop and completely reworked it. It has been riding around in our team transporter quiet a bit lately. It's been in the trailer as our backup car at Indy, Kentucky and Pocono. With the Chase spot locked up, we plan on trying some things and having some fun at Richmond on Saturday night."

This weekend's action at Richmond International Raceway will again feature a two-day format for the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour competitors. Action gets under way with Sprint Cup practice on Friday from 12:10 p.m. till 2:00 p.m. The final practice for the Sprint Cup cars is set from 2:45 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. on Friday (live on SPEED). Sa