Busch To Start 13th Saturday Night in Richmond

September 12, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 11, 2009) - Kurt Busch will start his Miller Lite Dodge 13th in Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 here at Richmond International Raceway, after turning in an official qualifying lap of 21.500 seconds (125.581 mph) in this afternoon's time trial session.

"It was a pretty good lap for us in our Miller Lite Dodge," said Busch, whose fastest practice lap (21.966 seconds) was only 23rd-fastest on the speed chart. "We just need to get the car to turn better in the center of the corner and try to pick up some speed. We made a nice gain from practice earlier, so I'm pretty positive for tomorrow night."

Busch was out 10th in the order of the 44 drivers attempting to make tomorrow night's starting field and most of the top-10 qualifiers here today made their attempts much later in the session, taking advantage of cooler track and atmospheric temperatures.

Mark Martin claimed the Coors Light Pole Award for tomorrow night's battle with a fast lap of 21.292 seconds (126.808 mph). Martin Truex Jr. (21.305 seconds/123.677 mph) earned the outside-front-row starting spot. Local favorite Denny Hamlin (21.322/126.630) starts third, with Jimmie Johnson (21.337/126.541) fourth and Kasey Kahne (21.352/123.836) fifth. Brian Vickers, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.

Reed Sorenson, Penske Racing teammate David Stremme (12th with a lap of 21.469/123.694), Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed today's top-15 qualifiers. Penske Racing's Sam Hornish Jr. will start Saturday night's race from the 33rd spot after turning in a qualifying lap of 21.736 seconds (124.218 mph).

"We were hoping to get us a top-15 starting spot and we accomplished that goal here today," said Busch after the session concluded. "As far as the quest to make the Chase goes, I told the media earlier today that it's just a matter of staying out of tire troubles or engine trouble. We need to have some solid stops on pit road as well as finding a comfortable and fast line around the race track to protect our Miller Lite Dodge. We're confident that we can do the job."

For the superstitious-minded, starting 13th has actually worked extremely well for Busch this season. He has done so twice this year, with his 13th-place start in the season-opening Daytona 500 leading to a 10th-place finish and his 13th starting spot at Bristol a couple of races back producing a seventh-place finish.

Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 (400 laps, 300 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ESPN and MRN Radio presenting live coverage.