Kurt Busch Starting 23rd In Aaron's 499 At Talladega

April 26, 2008

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 26, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start 23rd in Sunday's Aaron's 499 here at Talladega Superspeedway after clocking in with an official qualifying lap of 184.811 mph (51.815 seconds).

"That was a pretty good pickup from the first lap to the second; almost eight tenths (of a second) and we're pretty happy with that," said Busch, who was the 17th of 46 drivers making qualifying attempts here today.  "Our car will be great in the race.  With it being an impound situation, we went pretty much with our flat-out race trim out there in qualifying.

"What will really prove interesting is seeing some of the ‘go-or-go-home driver' rip off some fast laps and take some of the starting spots up front," said Busch.  "It should make for quite an interesting start to the race.  You'll see guys falling fast from the front back through the pack, while others should be blasting their way on up through there.  It could be a really hairy start and we'll be on our toes to try to avoid anything that may happen.

"Once everything sorts itself out, we're hoping to be able to draft with the lead pack all day and put ourselves in a position to win during the final run to the checkers."

Busch's words proved prophetic as three of the top-five starters in Sunday's race came from the "go-or-go-homers" list, the drivers not currently in the top 35 in car owners' points.

Heading that list is Joe Nemecheck, who claimed the pole for tomorrow's second of four 2008 restrictor-plate races.  Nemecheck was the next-to-last driver to take to the track and he turned in a lap of 187.386 mph (51.103 seconds) to claim his fourth career Talladega pole and relegate Tony Stewart to the second starting spot.  Stewart, who went out seventh in the order, turned in a lap of 186.896 mph (51.237 seconds).  Ken Schrader, another "go-or-go-homer," starts third after posting a 186.499-second-(51.346-second) lap.  A.J. Allmendinger, another non-top 35 points member, will start fourth after clocking in with a lap of 186.423 mph (51.367 seconds).  Red-hot Kyle Busch will start fifth after posting a qualifying lap of 186.416 mph (51.369 seconds).

David Ragan, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson round out Sunday's top-10 starters.  Ryan Newman was the fastest of the three Penske drivers here today and will start 21st after turning in a lap of 184.929 mph (51.782 seconds).  Busch starts one row back in 23rd and rookie Sam Hornish Jr. starts 37th (lap of 183.744 mph/52.116 seconds).

"I'm not too concerned about how we qualified today," Busch said.  "It's a long race and you have to be there in the end to have a shot at winning. The first time that I came here to Talladega, this place ate me up and spit me out. I didn't know where I was by time the race was over. It's taken a while to figure this race track out.  It feels great that I've got a great Penske team behind me. We're coming off a second-place finish at Daytona; hopefully we can duplicate that tomorrow." 

Sunday's Aaron's 499 (188 laps, 500.08 miles) has a 1:00 p.m. local (2:00 p.m. EDT) starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.