Kurt Busch, Miller Lite Dodge Starting 28th in Samsung 500

April 3, 2009

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 3, 2009) -- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start his No. 2 Penske Racing entry 28th in Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after turning in an official qualifying lap of 28.731 seconds (187.950 mph).

"That's really baffling," Busch said back in the garage while watching the scoring loop screen inside his team transporter. "We didn't change much of anything from practice to qualifying and slowed down about 25 hundredths (of a second) on the stopwatch."

During the 90-minute practice session leading up to today's qualifying, Busch had turned in the third-fastest lap (28.489 seconds/189.547 mph). Mark Martin (28.467 seconds/189.693 mph) was fastest and David Reutimann (28.488 seconds/189.553 mph) was the only other driver faster than Busch in practice.

"We had a pretty-good-handling Miller Lite Dodge in practice, but when we were out there making our lap, the car was just bouncing around too much and pushing bad in the corners," said Busch. "If we didn't change much and dropped off like that and so did guys like Mark, the track must have changed a lot. With no cars out there running laps after our practice, it has us scratching our heads."

Reutimann must have hit on the right combination for qualifying as he came back and won the Coors Pole Award for Sunday's race with the session's fastest lap of 28.344 seconds (190.517 mph). Jeff Gordon (28.392 seconds/190.194 mph) qualified second, with Matt Kenseth (28.428 seconds/189.954 mph) third, David Ragan (28.431 seconds/189.934 mph) fourth and Paul Menard (28.435 seconds/189.907 mph) fifth. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and rookie Joey Logano rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.

Sam Hornish Jr. was the top-qualifying Penske Racing driver here today, earning the 12th starting spot for Sunday's race with a lap of 28.539 seconds (189.215 mph). David Stremme will start 32nd on Sunday, after posting a qualifying lap of 28.801 seconds (187.493 mph).

"Unlike on the short tracks, it's not that big of a deal starting back in the pack here," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "On the short tracks, if you start back there, you're automatically concerned about getting a lap down early in the race. But here, we know we can get the car dialed in tomorrow so that Kurt can continuously move forward once the green flag drops on Sunday.

"Probably the most important difference between here and on the short tracks is the pit road situation," said Tryson. "This track has plenty of room out there and it really doesn't matter that much where your pit is located."

Saturday's first practice here at Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled from 11:00 a.m. till 11:45 a.m. The final "happy hour" practice session is scheduled from 12:20 p.m. till 10:20 p.m. Sunday's Samsung 500 (334 laps. 501 miles) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. local (CDT) starting time. FOX-TV and PRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.