Kurt Busch - NASCAR Cup Series Preview Michigan

June 10, 2008

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 10, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch enters this weekend's LifeLock 400 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway looking to build on momentum that his team started last Sunday at Pocono.

"We have to come into Michigan this weekend with a big picture mentality," said Busch, who finished eighth Sunday at Pocono to finally put another entry into his top-10 finish column for the 2008 season. "We know that we're faced with playing major catch-up, not only when it comes to the points, but also in our overall competitiveness with this new breed of race car.

"Like they say, you have to crawl before you can walk and you have to walk before you can run," Busch continued. "Hopefully, that's a good analogy of where our Miller Lite Dodge team stands heading into Michigan.

"We finally ran strong enough to finish in the top-10 at Pocono on Sunday and maybe that'll help us get on a momentum roll. We're hoping for another strong top-10 run this weekend or maybe we can even take that next step by breaking into the top five at Michigan on Sunday.

"We were able to put together a tremendous competitive run last summer and, against all odds, came back to make the Chase," said Busch. "We are certainly hoping that we can stage such a comeback like that this year, too."

Busch and his Pat Tryson-led team were 236 points behind the 12th spot in points (and out of "Chase eligibility") after 17 races last season. They were able to go on a competitive tear that produced two wins and seven top-10 finishes during the nine-race stretch to make the Chase.

Entering Sunday's 400-miler at MIS, the 15th race of the 2008 season, Busch is 177 points behind 12th-place Tony Stewart. Although it might appear that he is in a much better situation this year, Busch contends that may not be the case.

"Even though the deficit to 12th may be smaller and we have more races to make up the difference, you have to consider all of the numbers and all of the competition that is involved this time around," said Busch. "The fact was that while we might have been as many as 236 points back last year, we were still 15th in the standings.

"Last year, we were pretty much focusing on just the 12th-place team that just so happened to be the No. 8 car (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)," said Busch. "It became pretty much a shootout with them to make the Chase.

"This year, we're 21st in the standings," Busch continued. "Look at all the drivers and teams that are currently in between us and the 12th-place guy. When you look at that list, you have to say, ‘Wow, now that's some stiff competition.' You have guys like (Matt) Kenseth, (Martin) Truex and (Ryan) Newman who are on that list.

"But the good thing about it for our Miller Lite Dodge team is that we're heading back to a lot of tracks that can really work to our favor," said Busch. "We have Michigan, Sonoma (Infineon Raceway), Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway), Daytona, Chicago and Indy all coming up before we head back to Pocono again.

"We've had success at all of those tracks and we could get on another competitive roll that puts us right back into the thick of things," said Busch. "Our biggest hurdle right now is to finally get a handle on this new car and come to the track with what we need in order to be competitive in all of those races."

This weekend's LifeLock 400 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway gets under way on Friday with practice set from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Friday's single round of qualifying is set for 3:41 p.m. and will determine the entire 43-car starting field for Sunday's race. Saturday's schedule calls for practice from 12:00 noon till 12:45 p.m. and the final "Happy Hour" practice session from 1:20 p.m. till 2:20 p.m. Sunday's LifeLock 400 (200 laps/400 miles) has a 2:00 p.m. EDT starting time and features live coverage by TNT-TV and MRN Radio.


--Kurt, Pat and crew will be racing their PSC-569 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The team debuted the car two weeks ago at Dover, Del., where Busch qualified on the outside pole and finished 20th. "It was a strong car at Dover, but we never showed its full potential," Pat said. "Rain washed out most of the final practice there on Saturday and we just totally missed it on the race day setup. We still had a potential top-10 run going until we had problems with the dry-break in the fueling system. We're confident we can have a strong and consistent performance with this car this weekend at Michigan."

--Kurt is scheduled to be the special featured guest this Thursday night at the official kickoff of the 2008 "Cruise Nights" at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The meet & greet/autograph session with Kurt is set from 6:45 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. Kurt's No. 2 Dodge Charger will be on display. A $5 donation is requested for Museum entrance and the back patio program. This is to help raise funds for the Chrysler Museum which is a non-profit organization. For additional information, please visit the UAW-Chrysler site here: http://www.uawchrysler.com/resources/news.cfm?NewsID=1929

--Kurt will be making a special appearance this Friday night (6/13) at the Wal-Mart in Jackson, Michigan. He will meet the fans and sign autographs from 6:40 p.m. till 7:35 p.m. at the store located at 1700 West Michigan Avenue in Jackson. For additional information or for directions to the store, please call (517) 817-0326.

--Kurt's Scoring Loop Data For Michigan (courtesy of NASCAR PR):
• Two wins, six top fives
• Average finish of 18.9
• Average Running Position of 10.7, fourth-best
• Driver Rating of 106.8, second-best
• Series-high 93 Fastest Laps Run
• Average Green Flag Speed of 175.275 mph, fourth-fastest
• 876 (77.4%) Laps in the Top 15, fourth-most
• 244 Quality Passes, fifth-most

--Kurt's visit to his souvenir trailer at Michigan International Speedway this Sunday will

mark the 260th time in the last 263 races that he has been out on race days to meet the fans and sign autographs. His continuing tradition began during his first full year on the Cup circuit back in 2001. Please verify the exact time of his 30-minute signing session by visiting the trailer in advance and picking up the free tickets for the autograph line.

--Kurt's career record at Michigan International Speedway sports two wins, two top-five finishes and six top-10s in 14 starts. He started 10th and finished 25th in last June's race at MIS. He started 15th and won last August's rain-delayed Tuesday event. In that race, Kurt led four times for a total of 92 laps (led most laps) en route to a dominating victory.

--Battle of the beer car odds for Michigan: If numbers mean anything, and any NASCAR fan is certain that they do, it seems as if the #9 Budweiser Dodge is going to have itself a very productive weekend. Coming off of its third victory in the last four events, the Bud car will look to extend its lead over the rival #2 Miller Lite Dodge at Michigan International Speedway this Sunday. For some reason, Khane and his Bud team seem to perform very well at Michigan in even numbered years, and if this stretch of success is any indication, 2008 looks to continue that trend. Let's head out to The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, NV. for our weekly take from sports book representative Fred Crespi.

"Well, last week was quite an impressive performance by the Bud team, to say the least. With the #2's impressive record at Pocono he was surely deserving of the 5½ position favorite tag we placed on him, but once qualifying and practices were over, it was more than clear that it was much closer to a pick 'em. The players respected the Blue Deuce's performance however, and will likely do so again this week, as t