Busch To Start on Outside Pole for NASCAR All-Star Race

May 16, 2009

CONCORD, N.C. (May 15, 2009) - Kurt Busch will start his special "Taste Protector" Miller Lite Dodge Charger from the outside pole in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In the unusual qualifying format, which involves a four-tire pit stop fit into multiple laps around this demanding 1.5-mile track, only three-time series champ Jimmie Johnson bettered Busch's elapsed time after all penalties were imposed.

Johnson, who was 12th of the 18 eligible drivers to make their runs, won the pole with an elapsed time of 121.416 seconds. The effort by Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Miller Lite Team was timed at 122.187 seconds.

"It was cool," Busch said of his team's effort. "It was a great qualifying lap for our Miller Lite Dodge. I may have messed up a little bit coming into pit road by getting on the brakes a little too early. And then once I got to the first timing beacon, I wasn't even in second gear to check my pit road speed. My pit crew did an awesome job in the pits. Our Miller Lite Taste Protector Lid car is doing pretty good so far."

Matt Kenseth will start third, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth, Mark Martin fifth, Jeff Gordon sixth Bobby Labonte seventh, Kasey Kahne eighth, Kevin Harvick ninth and Brad Kesolowski 10th.

The final eight drivers had problems during their qualifying efforts. Starting 11th will be Greg Biffle (5 second penalty for 1 loose lug nut), then Ryan Newman (pit stop problems), Kyle Busch (5 seconds, 1 loose lug), Carl Edwards (15 seconds, 3 loose lugs), Tony Stewart (left his pit after two tires were changed, had to back up for the left side), Jeff Burton (20 seconds for speeding), Clint Bowyer (20 seconds for speeding) and Denny Hamlin (broke a drive shaft leaving the pit stall).

"I think we'll be much stronger here than we have in the last few weeks," Busch said. "The last few weeks have been tough because we've practiced during the day and raced at night and we've missed our setup a couple of times. I'm hoping that we made the right adjustments and the right calls. I think we have a fast Miller Lite Dodge. It's going to be nice to start on the outside pole."

So, what about the unique format of 50 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and a final 10-lap dash to the finish, Kurt?

"It could be extremely difficult if you take four tires and bury yourself way in the back. I think there's going to be quite a bit of strategy played out during the hot dog break, which is the 20 laps before that. When you run that 20 laps, do you set your car up loose so that you don't have to come in for tires and fuel for the final 10 laps? Are the tires dropping off fast enough to where you need two tires? That's a question that still has to be answered."

Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race will begin after the conclusion of the NASCAR Sprint Showdown "last chance" race at approximately 9:00 p.m. Live coverage will be provided by SPEED and MRN Radio. Busch is scheduled for a special live interview on SPEED's RaceDay pre-race coverage just after 4:30 p.m. EDT.