Miller Lite Dodge Team Searches for Vegas Victory

February 23, 2010

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 23, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge Crew Chief Steve Addington tasted victory in last year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the leader of Kyle Busch's team. He returns to Sin City for this weekend's Shelby American (400) on a mission to help get older brother Kurt a Las Vegas win of his own at the Busch Brothers' hometown track.

"That's our big goal this weekend - to get Kurt and the Miller Lite Dodge into Victory Lane," said Addington, who orchestrated a comeback in last Sunday's Auto Club 500 in California that saw Busch advance from 17th with 50 laps to go to finish sixth and climb to 11th spot in the Sprint Cup points. "I know just how much last year's win meant to Kyle and it was a thrill to be part of such a huge hometown win like that. We're on a mission to get Kurt a big winner's trophy of his own in Vegas this weekend.

"One of the biggest things I remember about winning last year's Vegas race was seeing Kurt come into Victory Lane, congratulate his little brother and give him a big hug," Addington added. "Their mom (Gaye) was our team scorer for the 18 car and she was right there soaking the scene all in with her two sons. It was a memorable occasion, that's for sure.

"I know how special a Las Vegas win would be for Kurt and it would be a great accomplishment if we can pull it off. We're coming in there with one of our best Miller Lite Dodge Chargers - our (PRS-) 702 car - and Kurt was all over that when we decided to run this car there. The first thing out of his mouth was that the area code in Vegas is 702 and that hopefully it's an omen of good things to come for our team there this weekend.

"As far as the actual race itself at Las Vegas last year, I remember that we had to win it about the hardest way possible," said Addington. "We won the pole on Friday but had to come from the back to the front in Sunday's race. We had to change the engine, so Kyle had to drop to the rear for the start. We weren't all that good until pretty late in the race. We kept on working on the car and finally brought it to life at the end. But we still had to survive a couple of restarts to win that race.

"We hope we can help put Kurt in Victory Lane maybe with a little less struggle, but we'll be pleased with getting the win any way we can," Addington added. "I know how much the win would win to him, to the team and to Miller Lite and all the other sponsors. Kurt's already promised that we'd celebrate by having one of the biggest victory parties ever and that's definitely something we all want to take part in and enjoy."

Kurt Busch started his Penske Racing "Blue Deuce" Dodge Charger on the outside of the front row by his younger brother. A fixture among the top-five competitors, he got into a three-man tussle for second with Hendrick drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon after a Lap 99 restart. He wound up dropping a cylinder on Lap 105, yet was able to stay on the lead lap until there were only 70 circuits remaining. Hampered by the ailing engine and enduring a record 14 caution periods during the race, Busch came home in the 23rd finishing position in the race.

"It was a special win at a very special place for our family, so I made a mad dash over through the Neon Garage and into Victory Lane to congratulate my little brother," the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion recalled. "I've always dreamed about winning the race there at our home track and we had a strong car there last year until we had the engine problem. But as everyone knows, you have to be there at the end. Kyle drove a great race and saved the best for last. I wanted to let him know how proud of him that I was, so that's why I hustled on down there like I did.

"Little did I know only a year ago that the guy who helped Kyle win the Vegas race would be our team leader coming back into Las Vegas Motor Speedway this time around," Busch said. "It's really easy to get pumped up. We're taking the Texas race-winner, the 702 car, into Vegas, which everybody knows is the 702 area code. All the good things seem to be lining up for this weekend. It's a true confidence builder to head back into Vegas knowing that you have a guy calling the shots for us who won the thing there last year."

The "PRS-702" was brought out for the first time in last November's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Brother Kyle may have had the dominant car, but the No. 2 Dodge, carrying a special Operation Homefront color scheme, used fuel mileage strategy and came home the winner. "It's a great race car," said Busch. "We named it ‘Patriot' after winning at Texas because we were carrying the Operation Homefront colors and wanted to pay special tribute to our military. We raced the car one last time last year in the final race of the season at Homestead. We should have won that race, too, but pit strategy bit us. It was a two-tire versus four-tire deal at the end and we went the wrong way. We led a bunch of laps and had a car strong enough to win, but had to settle for fourth. We're confident that it'll be a strong car again this weekend in Vegas."

This weekend's Sprint Cup schedule at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gets under way with Friday's practice from 11:10 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. Coors Light Pole Award qualifying to establish the starting grid for Sunday's 267-lap battle is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. local (live on SPEED-TV and PRN Radio). Saturday's final "happy hour" practice session is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. till 11:55 a.m. Sunday's Shelby American (400.5 miles/267 laps) has a scheduled 12:00 p.m. local (3:00 p.m. ET) starting time at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas facility. FOX-TV and PRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.