Busch Appreciates Indianapolis Opportunity

July 20, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS (July 20, 2010) - For Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch, there are the "big picture" and even the "bigger picture" scenarios entering this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series return to the history-rich Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While Busch and his Steve Addington-led "blue deuce" team are focused on continuing to do what it takes to make the 12-team Chase roster after 26 races, they also realize how significant an Indy NASCAR victory would be for Penske Racing.

"It's important that we come back in there after the off week and get back in stride toward making the Chase field," said Busch, currently ranked fifth in the Sprint Cup point standings, trailing leader Kevin Harvick by 221 points, but enjoying a 253-point "buffer" over 13th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I guess you could even say that considering our performance at Chicagoland in the last race (started 22nd and finished 26th on July 10) that after two off weekends we're coming in there looking to steer our ship on course.

"As far as the ‘race for the Chase' goes, we're definitely hoping to be competitive at Indy, build a little more on our confidence level and pad our ‘comfort zone,'" Busch said of his position in the points. "I told them before the Chicagoland race that we were pretty comfortable where we were at the time (was fourth in standings with a 308-point advantage over 13th), but that poor finish at Chicago put a dent in that margin.

"With seven races to go before the Chase kicks in, we're hoping to survive and prosper this weekend at Indy," said Busch. "Then we have Pocono, Watkins Glen and Michigan. We need to run consistently strong enough in those races to have enough of a lead where we can really go on the offensive trying to win races and pick up bonus points heading into the Chase. I really feel like we can run really strong in the races before the Chase starts - the races back at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond - and if we can pick up a win or two at those tracks, that would be 30 or 40 bonus points that would come along with us into the Chase."

Busch said that the impact of winning this weekend's race at the Brickyard would be immeasurable, especially considering that he drives the Miller Lite Dodge for car owner Roger Penske.

"At the same time, it's only natural to have in the back of your mind what it would mean if we can win the race - the really big picture of the significance of a Brickyard 400 win for Roger (Penske, team-owner) and Penske Racing," said Busch, who'll be making his fifth Indy appearance for Penske on Sunday. "With Roger's success in the open wheel ranks at Indianapolis - with an incredible 15 wins and 16 poles in the Indy 500 -- the significance of putting a win there in the NASCAR record book is certainly magnified. It would be a major accomplishment to be the first Penske Racing NASCAR driver to score that victory.

"When you look at all of ‘the Captain's' accomplishments and the records for Penske Racing, the significant major voids in stock car racing are a win in the Brickyard 400 and a NASCAR points title," continued Busch, who has won eight races in his 163 starts as driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge entering Sunday's return to the historical facility. "I know those are major goals for Roger and I want to be the driver who delivers the goods to him. I felt like I contributed somewhat to Roger winning the 2008 Daytona 500 in that I did push (Ryan) Newman across the line to take the win. So, winning the Brickyard 400 and winning a championship are huge goals of ours.

"Everyone remembers just how close that Rusty came to winning at Indy," Busch said of Rusty Wallace, who competed in 12 races at the Brickyard for Penske Racing before retiring at the end of the 2005 season and turning over the reins to the famous blue No. 2 car to Busch. "Rusty finished second three times and nearly notched that big win in the record book. So the desire and incentive to win in NASCAR at Indy for Roger Penske is so obvious that it shouldn't call for much explanation.

"A win there on Sunday would be as prominent and important of a feat that's possible," Busch added. "For me personally, it would be a thrilling experience I'd always remember and hold at the top of the list of my accomplishments."

This weekend's action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets under way on Friday with practice scheduled from 2:00 p.m. till 3:00 p.m. (live on ESPN2) and from 3:30 p.m. till 4:30 p.m. (live on SPEED). The unique Indy schedule features a single round of qualifying on Saturday beginning at 10:10 a.m. (live on ESPN2 and IMS Radio Network) that will establish Sunday's entire 43-car starting field. Saturday's schedule also features a practice session from 2:00 p.m. till 3:00 p.m. (no TV coverage scheduled) and the final "Happy Hour" practice session from 3:30 p.m. till 4:30 p.m. (live coverage by ESPN2). Sunday's Brickyard 400 (400 miles, 160 laps around 2.5-mile IMS track) is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. ET start, with ESPN and IMS Radio Network beginning their coverage of the event an hour earlier.