Kurt Busch To Start 28th in Miller Lite Dodge at Talladega

April 25, 2009

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2009) - Kurt Busch will start the Miller Lite Dodge from the 28th starting spot in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway after turning in a lap of 186.518 mph (51.341 seconds) in Saturday's qualifying session on the mammoth 2.66-mile track.

"Not as good a qualifying lap as I expected," said Busch, who has the best average finish of all active drivers here at Talladega, yet is still in quest of his first win on the track. "I think that we've got our homework done heading into tomorrow. We've improved quite a bit since Daytona which gives us more confidence and really think that we have a fast Miller Lite Dodge for tomorrow.

"The thing about it is that this is restrictor-plate racing and it is an impound race, so you really can't put too much importance in all the numbers you hear going into race day," said Busch, who finished third here in his first career start on the track back in 2001. "It really is true here that it's no major importance where you start the race. You get a better choice of pit position by qualifying up front, but this track has such a big and wide pit lane that it's not that great of advantage.

"As it is every race here, our goal is to stay out of trouble until the end and put ourselves in a position to battle for the win," added Busch. "We've been fortunate to finish most of the races here through the years and that's why we have the good numbers. We're hoping to avoid all the mayhem and be there at the end. It'd really be cool to finally win one of these things."

With qualifying starting at 10:15 a.m. Saturday morning and continuing on into the heat of the day, many thought the pole winner would have to come from one of the early qualifiers. It was Juan Pablo Montoya, who was 15th of the 45 drivers making attempts, who claimed the Coors Light Pole Award with his fast lap of 188.171 mph (50.890 seconds). Greg Biffle, who was 30th in the order, took the outside pole with a lap of 188.141 mph (50.898 seconds) and Martin Truex Jr. took the third starting spot with a lap of 187.972 mph (50.944 seconds).

Sam Hornish Jr. was the flag-bearer for Penske Racing Saturday, as he took the fourth starting spot by circling the track with a lap of 187.953 mph (50.949 seconds). Clint Bowyer (187.919 mph/50.958 seconds) claimed the fifth starting spot. Regan Smith, Mark Martin, Scott Speed, Brad Keselowski and David Ragan rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.

Busch and Penske Racing teammate David Stremme (who blew his engine on his second lap of qualifying and will start from the rear of the field after an engine change) will be hoping to draft to the front and join Hornish. Does Busch have any advice for the driver of the No. 77 Dodge?

"I'd tell him to hold a pretty wheel," Busch said with a chuckle. "The draft here is violent and frustrating all at the same time. It's a matter of patience here at Talladega. If he can be patient and learn what the draft does at the front of the pack, his race car looks to be fast and I think that he can be competitive."

"The great thing is that Kurt will have some really good company starting back there with him," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "He has (Tony) Stewart, (Jamie) McMurray, the No. 9 car (Kasey Kahne) and the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) all starting behind him. Kurt has drafted well with all those guys in the plate races. I'm sure they can hook up again here tomorrow and head toward the front."

Sunday's Aaron's 499 (188 laps, 500.08 miles) has a 1:00 p.m. CDT starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.