Busch Hoping for "More of the Same" in Michigan

August 11, 2010

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 10, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award and went on to post a strong third-place finish in the June 13 Heuluva Good! Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The 2004 Sprint Cup Series Champ and 22-race winner enters this weekend's return to the lightning-fast 2.0-mile track hoping to match that level of competitiveness.

"That was a super solid weekend for our Miller Lite Dodge Team at Michigan back in June," offered Busch, who scored his best career road course finish, a second-place tally, last Sunday at Watkins Glen, N.Y. "We're definitely coming in there this weekend looking for more of the same. We won the pole, led a ton of laps, ran in the top-three or four all day long and finished third. Those are the kind of weekends that championships are built on.

"We're certainly coming back to M.I.S. with the goal of winning the pole on Friday and taking the checkered flag on Sunday," said Busch, who is now fourth in points with a 261-point "Chase buffer" over 13th heading into this weekend's Michigan battle. "But, at the end of the day, it's going to be really important to look back on the race having a positive impact on what our big picture holds. A win would mean those extra bonus points heading into the Chase, but you have to be for certain in that group of 12 drivers for it all to really count. We're really comfortable with where we sit right now and we hope that continues on through next weekend."

During his June trip to the track located in the Irish Hills area of Michigan, Busch claimed his first M.I.S. Coors Light Pole Award (in 19 races) by turning in a fast lap of 188.482 mph (37.898 seconds) in the Friday qualifying.

Busch's "Blue Deuce" Dodge showed muscle from the drop of the green flag. After outside-pole winner Jamie McMurray used the high lane to lead the first lap, Busch powered by to take the lead on the second lap and was stretching his advantage when Regan Smith spun on the front stretch to bring out the first caution flag on Lap 20. Only four caution periods slowed the pace of the race.

Busch went on to lead six times for a total of 60 laps and led the race well into the second half of the battle before Denny Hamlin got by on Lap 114 and set the pace for the remainder of the race.

"As the race progressed, the track rubbered in," Busch recalled. "It wasn't that we didn't keep up with adjustments. I thought we had a good handle on the car. Other guys just got better than us there in June."

In his 19 prior starts at M.I.S., Busch has recorded two wins (June 2003 and August 2007), three top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has led 350 of the 3,218 laps he has completed (of 3,697 possible). He has been running at the finish in 14 races, finishing on the lead lap in 12 of those races. Busch has a 12.0 average start at M.I.S., but his five DNFs has dropped him to a 19.4 average finish.

With all the "Big Three" auto manufacturers' headquarters located a relatively short distance to Michigan International Speedway, Busch is quick to recognize that fact and it gives him extra desire to win there on Sunday.

"When we race at Michigan, we're right there in the backyard of all the ‘Big Three' auto manufacturers and everyone wants to win for the brand they represent," said Busch. "When we get out there on Sunday for the race, it's like all the manufacturers have moved their temporary headquarters to Brooklyn, Mich., for the day.

"Denny Hamlin won the June race in a Toyota and Kasey Kahne finished second in a Ford," Busch offered. "We were the highest-finishing Dodge with our third and the guy who finished behind us was in a Chevy. I guess that illustrates quite a bit of parity among the manufacturers.

"We'll be doing everything we possibly can to put our Dodge Charger into the winner's circle this weekend at M.I.S. and party down with all our great friends at Dodge," said Busch. "We have such a great relationship with Ralph Gilles (brand president and CEO) and all the folks at Dodge and they are super supporters of Penske Racing. We've been so proud to take Dodge to Victory Lane in the Atlanta and Charlotte points races and in the big Sprint All-Star Race win. A win at Michigan on Sunday would be great for Dodge and super for Miller Lite and all our sponsors. With those bonus points for winning, it'd be huge as far as the big picture goes."

This weekend's Michigan International Speedway action gets under way on Friday with practice set from 12 noon till 1:30 p.m. (live on ESPN2). Qualifying for all 43 starting positions is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. (live on ESPN2 & MRN Radio). Saturday's schedule calls for practice from 9:15 a.m. till 10:00 a.m. (live on Speed-TV) and from 12:20 p.m. till 1:20 p.m. (live on ESPN2). Sunday's CARFAX 400 (200 laps, 400 miles) on the 2.0-mile track in Michigan's scenic Irish Hills region is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 1:00 p.m. Race No. 23 of 36 points-paying events on the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.