Kurt Busch Finishes 15th In Sharpie 500 At Bristol

August 24, 2008

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 23, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch started 19th in tonight's Sharpie 500 here at Bristol Motor Speedway, stayed tough all night long and came home with a 15th-place finish.

"It was pretty typical of the way so many races have gone for us this year," said Busch, who was able to finish in the lead lap with the help of getting the "Lucky Dog" free pass on two different occasions. "Just a typical performance in that our chassis seems to give us one strong run before the tight condition takes its toll.

"With about 200 laps remaining, it just got too tight and nothing we did made much difference," added Busch, who ran as high as 10th at the midway point before the much-too-common loose in, tight in the center and loose off handling woes set in. "We took spring rubbers out, put wedge in, took wedge out, did track bar and air pressure adjustments - you name it. We just have to get it figured out on how to adjust the front end of these things. We finished 15th and until we can get the front end of our cars to turn better, that's about as strong of finish as we can expect."

Kyle Busch was running such a torrid pace as the leader throughout the race that he was able to put his older brother down a lap twice - the first time at Lap 193 and the second time at Lap 429. Kurt was fortunate to get a caution only two laps later after the first pass to get his first "Lucky Dog," but had to patiently wait till the eighth caution of the night came out on Lap 461 for debris in order to get his second "free pass" back onto the lead lap.

Only eight cautions slowed the pace here tonight. The final yellow helped create an exciting - and controversial - finish. After the younger Busch had dominated the race, leading a whopping 415 laps, he failed to get his normal super-fast restart and Carl Edwards closed on his bumper quickly.

A quick tap to the No. 18 car's rear bumper allowed Edwards to get around and he held the point for the remaining circuits here on this .533-mile high-banked track. Without another caution to close the gap, Edwards was able to claim a 1.969-second victory over runner-up Kyle Busch.

The younger Busch expressed his displeasure with Edwards on the cool-down lap by ramming Edwards from the rear and getting his sideways. Edwards countered by his own tap of Busch, sending him into a spin as the crowd of 160,000 went wild.

Denny Hamlin finished third, with Kevin Harvick fourth and Jeff Gordon fifth. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan rounded out the top-10 finishers. Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola, Regan Smith and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 15 and all the competitors still on the lead lap after 500 laps.

"Kurt's right and we have a lot of work to do," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "I can't just say we have to change this or change that - we have to get our chassis better overall if we're going to consistently be battling there up front. This team is committed to do what it takes to get better and we'll get there."

Kurt Busch remained 19th in the Sprint Cup point standings with 2,442 points after 24 races have been completed. He is 1,167 out of first, 479 behind 10th-place Kenseth and 413 behind 12th-place Clint Bowyer.

The battle for the final spots in this year's "Chase for the Championship" is extremely tight with only two races remaining to determine the 12 players in the final 10-race battle. Jeff Gordon currently holds down the ninth spot in the standings (with 2,951 points), but he is only 96 points ahead of 12th-place Bowyer. Ragan is 13th in the standings and only 12 points out of "Chase eligibility, while Kasey Kahne crashed out of tonight's race, falling from 11th to 14th. He is now 56 points behind Bowyer.

The Sprint Cup tour now returns to Southern California and the 2.0-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana for next Sunday's Pepsi 500. The 500-mile, 250-lap race has a 5:00 p.m. PDT starting time and features live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.