Kurt Busch 39th At Fontana

September 2, 2008

FONTANA, Calif. (Aug. 31, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch got behind after a Lap 44 incident and couldn't rebound in Sunday's Pepsi 500 here at Auto Club Speedway, finishing 39th and maintaining the 19th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings.

"It's just another week and another disappointing race for our Miller Lite Dodge team," said Busch, who started ninth in Sunday's 250-lap battle around the 2.0-mile oval located an hour east of Los Angeles. "Just like at Indy, the car just snapped loose and shot straight to the left. I got into Truex (Martin Truex Jr.), but certainly didn't mean to. When the tire went down, we went for a spin, got a lap down and had our backs up against the wall even before a fifth of the race had been completed."

Busch had already made a "miracle save" on Lap 33, keeping his Dodge off the third turn wall. On Lap 41, he radioed in that his car was, "loose in, tight in the center and very, very loose off."

Three laps later, his car shot wildly to the left and into Truex's Chevy, but unlike a similar incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, Busch was able to keep his car from crashing into the outside wall. Instead, Busch cut down a tire and spun, which was all part of the third caution of todayBy the time he got his Dodge corrected and onto pit road for service and sheet metal repairs, Busch was already a lap down on the Lap 46 restart.

"We got the one lap down and couldn't get the caution we needed earlier on to get the "lucky dog" (free pass back onto the lead lap)," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "The 48 car (eventual winner Jimmie Johnson) was insanely fast all night long and put us down another lap just after the half-way point (on Lap 139).

"When you get two laps down, it's pretty much impossible to make up the ground, no matter how fast you are," Tryson said. "Kurt gave it two really good tries to get out front and hope for a caution. Luck just wasn't on our side and the 48 just flew right on by us just like he did everyone else out there tonight. I've never seen such a dominant car as they had here tonight in racing this new breed of car."

Johnson had leads as great as almost 10 seconds during Sunday's race and even several debris cautions could not work to make a competitive show. Johnson was credited with a 2.076-second victory over runner-up Greg Biffle, with Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth rounding out tonight's top-five finishers. Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, David Reutimann and Clint Bowyer completed tonight's top 10.

Penske Racing teammate Ryan Newman finished 16th and Penske rookie competitor Sam Hornish Jr. came home 31st.

Only next Saturday night's 400-lap, 300-mile race on the .750-mile Richmond International Raceway remains in determining the 12 drivers that will compete in the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Championship. The contest for the final spot is a hot one, with current 12th-place Bowyer (2,989 points) only 48 points ahead of 14th-place Kasey Kahne (2,941) and 17 ahead of 13th-place David Ragan (2,972).

Up front, Kyle Busch leads with 3,755, while Edwards is second with 3,547. Newman is 16th in the standings (2,789), Kurt Busch 19th (2,488) and Hornish 32nd (1,899).

Next Saturday's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at RIR has a 7 p.m. starting time and features live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.