Kurt Busch - NASCAR Cup Series Richmond Preview

April 29, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. (April 29, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is looking for a "Richmond Rebound" in Saturday night's Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway in hopes of turning his 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season around.

"We're hoping to end the skid and get things turned around at Richmond, that's for sure," said Busch, who was relegated by a late-race crash to a 39th-place finish at Talladega last Sunday and fell to 20th in the Sprint Cup point standings. "April was a pretty wicked month of racing for us and it took its toll in the points

"We're looking to get a fresh start for May in Richmond and get on a positive roll back up the ladder," said Busch, whose career Richmond record boasts one win, two top-five finishes and four top-10s in 14 races. "It's been a pretty solid track for us through the years and is a great place to get headed back in the right direction.

"The biggest boost we have behind us going back to Richmond this weekend is the fact that we ran this new car in both races there last year and had solid performances in both races," said Busch. "We finished fifth in the spring Richmond race and backed that up with another solid top-10 run (finished ninth) there last fall.

"We have a lot of notes to fall back on and we learned so much about the fastest lines around the track in last year's races," said Busch. "We may be down right now, but we're certainly not out by any means. Richmond offers us a great opportunity to redeem ourselves and we hope to be prepared enough to take advantage of that."

Busch started 33rd and drove to a fifth-place finish in last year's Crown Royal 400. "That was a race that we really could have won," Busch recalled. "We spun out early in the race and had a disastrous pit stop that put us down a lap at one time. We got the ‘lucky dog' pass and returned to the lead lap.

"We found a line around the place that really worked, especially getting through (Turns) one and two and got the lead for a good part of the race," continued Busch. "Our strategy bit us during the final portion of the race. We were able to rally back up to fifth, but we had a car there that night that was much more deserving than that."

In last year's race, Busch led on a Lap 261 restart and pulled away, as Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. trailed. The No. 2 car led until David Gilliland spun in Turn 3 on Lap 278 to bring out the seventh caution flag of the race. While Kurt and all but eight of the 17 lead lap drivers hit pit road, Johnson, Kyle Busch, Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart stayed out and comprised the top-five on the Lap 292 restart.

The call to pit road would be costly as the No. 2 car would never challenge again for the lead. Kurt was ninth on the restart. He fell back as far as 11th in the order, but rallied in the waning laps to post his second career top-five finish on RIR's three-quarter-mile oval. Johnson's strategy helped him claim the win, with Kyle Busch finishing second, Hamlin third, Gordon fourth and Kurt fifth.

Busch started 14th and finished ninth at Richmond in last September's Chevy Rock & Roll 400. "We got caught up in a crash that damaged our car pretty bad about half way through the race, but still stuck it out and got us another top-10 finish out of it," Busch recalled. "Man, when I got out of the car after the race and saw all the damage done from that crash, I was totally shocked. I'm sure it looked a lot worse than it really was as for structural damage of the car. But if I'd been able to see the car from where I was sitting, I would have probably thought that there would be no way we'd be able to run as competitive as we did for the remainder of the race.

"Those were two really strong and solid races for us at Richmond last season," said Busch. "If we can get back there this weekend and run that strong, it would be just the shot in the arm our team needs badly right now."

This weekend's Richmond action gets under way on Friday with practice scheduled from 11:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Friday's 5:40 p.m. single round of qualifying will establish Saturday's 43-car starting field, with all cars impounded immediately after the session. Saturday's Crown Royal 400 (400 laps, 300 miles) has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.

--Yes, that was popular comedian Ron White hanging out with Kurt Busch and his Miller Lite Dodge team on Sunday at Talladega. "Ron is a really cool guy and is as funny off the stage as he is on it," Kurt said. "It was great having him there and he had the whole team in stitches before the race.

"Ron had done a show on Saturday night in Springfield, Mo., and wanted to swing back by the Talladega race and soak in the scene," Kurt explained. "He requested to come in sort of under the radar screen in a low-profile atmosphere. Kristy (Cloutier, KBI Executive Assistant) did a heckuva' job in putting it all together at the last moment. Ron brought his comedian buddy Alex Reymundo, one of the hottest Latin comics around these days, along for the day and he was about blown away with what all he saw and did.

"Ron's been a NASCAR fan for years and he's always looking for new material," said Kurt. "I guarantee you that his trip to Talladega was worthwhile. We even had the time to chat a little about a potential new CD he'll be putting out and we may be doing some promotional work with him relative to that project.

"He hung with us during pre-race and we had him up on the box in the pits for the early part of the race. Then we had Pauly (coach driver Paul "Tater Tot" Bostic) put him on the golf cart and show him around. They went over and had some fun at the new Miller Lite Party Deck down in Turn 1. They spent most of the last half of the race roaming around in the massive infield, taking in all of the weird stuff that goes on there. After the disappointing day we had out there on the track, it sure was nice to have him back at the coach after the race. He was still able to make me laugh; even after all we'd been through.

"Ron definitely got some new material for his act there at Talladega on Sunday," Pauly reported on Monday night. "If we'd had a video crew with us in the infield, he could have packaged that whole episode and made millions off of it. It was absolutely amazing how many people out there knew him and begged for us to stop.

"We made several stops and visited inside several of the campers. I don't have to tell you what all offers people made to him. I'm certain that some of the stuff we saw and did will find its way into the material Ron uses on stage on down the line. We all had a blast."

For additional information on Ron, we invite you to visit his site at http://www.tatersalad.com .

--The "Grand Opening" of the new Kurt Busch Superdome at the Victory Junction Gang Camp is set for Tuesday, May 20 at 2:00 p.m.  The project was announced in May 2006, with Kurt announcing the donation of the initial $1 million in support of the project.  The 28,000 square-foot facility will provide o