Busch Earns Sixth-Place Starting Spot at Atlanta

September 5, 2009

HAMPTON, Ga. (Sept. 5, 2009) -- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start sixth in Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 here at Atlanta Motor Speedway after clocking in with an official qualifying lap of 30.340 seconds (182.729 mph) in this afternoon's time trial session.

"That was a pretty good lap and we've gotta' be happy with it," said Busch, who was 12th-fastest in "Happy Hour" practice (31.048 seconds/178.562 mph) in this weekend's unique two-day schedule for an intermediate-sized track. "We've been struggling a little here with the new tire they brought this weekend. We need to get more grip with our Miller Lite Dodge if we hope to run with the leaders here tomorrow night."

Martin Truex Jr., out 33rd of the 46 drivers making qualifying attempts, claimed the Coors Light Pole Award with his fast lap of 30.106 seconds (184.149 mph). Kasey Kahne, out 10th in the qualifying order, turned in a lap of 30.213 seconds (183.497 mph) to take the outside pole spot. Jimmie Johnson (30.235 seconds/183.358 mph) will start third, with Jeff Gordon (30.296 seconds/182.994 mph) fourth and Kyle Busch (30.333 seconds/182.771 mph) fifth.

Kurt Busch, Mark Martin (30.360/182.609), Brian Vickers (30.378/182.500), Penske Racing's David Stremme (30.392/182.416) and Denny Hamlin (30.426/182.213) rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers. Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. will start Sunday's battle from the 30th spot after clocking in with a lap of 30.729 seconds (177.675 mph).

"It wasn't too bad of a qualifying lap for our Miller Lite Dodge," crew chief Pat Tryson offered. "We qualified sixth and that should get us a decent pit stall selection and keep us up front on green flag pit stops. We were a little better than where we practiced, hoped to be a little better than that, but still a good qualifying spot for us. It's s a long race tomorrow night. We just want to make sure we go the full 500 miles, go for a win and those valuable bonus points, and see if we can seal the deal for a Chase spot."

Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 (325 laps, 500.5 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ESPN and PRN Radio presenting live coverage.