Kurt Busch Starts 11th in Saturday Night's Richmond Battle
September 10, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. (September 9, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led “Double Deuce” team overcame quite a bit of adversity in Friday’s qualifying day here at Richmond International Raceway. But the end result will see the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion starting 11th in Saturday’s Wonderful Pistachio 400, his best starting spot in 12 career races behind the wheel of a Penske Racing entry.
“We had to get through tech and we had to rush that thing through and then strap my belts on and get out there and just try to do the best we could,” said Busch, who turned in a lap of 21.316 seconds (123.711 mph) on his run against the clock. “The car has been real tight in qualifying trim and it stayed that way. Might have left a little out there being on the tight side of things but all in all a good run with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.
“We were just late getting through tech, whether it was wheelbase or a weight distribution problem,” said Busch, who was only 25th fastest in the opening practice and 40th in the final session leading up to qualifying. “We had to go back and forth with the different measurements and so we got it through. It was last minute. Jumped out there and went for it. It was a good run with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.”
Qualifying is now history and Busch, Addington and crew are focused on what it will take to compete in tomorrow night’s battle under the lights here on the three-quarter-mile track. “We’ve been on the tight side for qualifying practice and we still stayed there and then in race trim our car starts out tight and then heads way to the loose side so we still have our work cut out for us,” said Busch.
David Reutimann won the Coors Light Pole Award here today with his fast lap of 21.196-second (127.383 mph) lap. Jamie McMurray earned the outside pole for tomorrow night’s race with his lap of 21.204 seconds (127.334 mph), with Jimmie Johnson (21.224 seconds/127.214 mph) third, Mark Martin (21.246/127.083) fourth and Clint Bowyer (21.258/127.011) fifth. Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, A.J. Allmendinger and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out today’s top-10 qualifiers.
Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge 19th in Saturday night’s race, after turning in a lap of 21.382 seconds (126.274 mph).
“We’ve really been thrashing here today and I am really proud of Kurt and everybody on this Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team,” said crew chief Addington. “We struggled in practice and bounced back really well. We’ve been fighting the tight condition all day long and threw the qualifying setup we thought would be best at it. Then, it was really frustrating getting through tech. We were actually on the (five-minute qualifying) clock when the guys finally pushed our car down pit road. I was up on the transporter watching and it was kinda wild seeing Kurt almost sprinting down pit road beside the car. They got him strapped in and he went out there and did his thing. Maybe we’re on to something here…just kidding. Like I said, I am really proud of the job everyone on the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team did here today.”
Saturday’s Wonderful Pistachios 400 (400 laps, 300 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ABC-TV and MRN Radio presenting live coverage.