Kurt Busch Starting 23rd In Sunday's Samsung 500

April 4, 2008

JUSTIN, Texas (April 4, 2008) - Kurt Busch will start his Miller Lite Dodge from the 23rd position in Sunday's Samsung 500 here at Texas Motor Speedway after turning in an official lap of 187.311 mph (28.829 seconds) in this afternoon's qualifying session.

"We had really hoped to pick up much more than that, but it just didn't turn out that way," said Busch, who had recorded the 17th-fastest practice lap of 186.149 mph (29.009 seconds).  "We were trying some things in practice that we'd hoped to use in testing Wednesday at Kentucky.  Unfortunately, although the weather was nice there on Wednesday, the track's ‘weepers' never gave us the opportunity to turn in a single lap.  So we went ahead and tried them here in today's practice session.

"Like I told the guys, we must be making some progress with our setups," said Busch.  "Unlike everywhere else, we unloaded and the car was pretty tight all around the track.  We'll work on it and hopefully find the right balance during tomorrow's practice that will make our Miller Lite Dodge competitive here on Sunday."

Busch went out eighth in the order on Friday.  He clocked in his lap prior to a lengthy cleanup for David Gilliland's blown engine which occurred two cars later.  But only three drivers later, Michael McDowell's horrendous Turn 1 crash (see video at http://www.nascar.com/video/cup/2008/04/04/cup.tex.quals.mcdowell.nascar/index.html?MostPopular ) caused a delay of almost 90 minutes.  Two-time NASCAR champ Tony Stewart labeled it as, "the most vicious hit I've ever seen by a stock car."

The session resumed just after 5:30 p.m. and was presumably completed under faster and more favorable conditions.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 29th driver out to make his run, grabbed the pole with his lap of 190.907 mph (28.286 seconds).  He was the lone driver to eclipse the 190 mph mark.  Carl Edwards starts second after turning in a lap of 189.487 mph (28.498 seconds), Kyle Busch goes third (189.069 mph/28.561 seconds), Ryan Newman of Penske Racing fourth (189.043 mph/28.565 seconds) and Jimmie Johnson fifth (188.772 mph/28.606 seconds). 

David Reutimann, David Ragan, Matt Kenseth, Mike Skinner and Kasey Kahne rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.  Busch's Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish, driver of the Mobil 1 Dodge, is solidly in Sunday's starting field, grabbing the 17th starting spot with his lap of 187.741 mph (28.763 seconds).

Saturday's action at Texas includes the morning practice from 11:00 a.m. till 11:45 a.m. and the final "happy hour" practice session, which is scheduled from 12:20 p.m. till 1:20 p.m. Sunday's Samsung 500 (334 laps, 501 miles) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. CDT starting time on this 1.5-mile Dallas/Fort Worth Area speed plant.  FOX-TV and PRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.