Busch Finishes 29th at MIS After Engine Problems

August 15, 2010

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 15, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch suffered a blown engine in today's CARFAX 400 here at Michigan International Speedway and was relegated to a 40th-place finish. Only the second DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season and the first due to engine failure since the Nov. 2, 2008 race at Texas Motor Speedway (61 races ago), Busch dropped all the way back to 10th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings with only three races remaining to determine the 12 teams that will battle it out in this year's "Chase" for the Sprint Cup Championship.

"The engine just let go in Turn 3," explained Busch, who was serving as the special ESPN "In-Race Reporter" in today's broadcast and who had a Sports Illustrated crew tagging along with him here this weekend. "It was a big surprise for the Miller Lite Dodge. We've had great reliability with the Penske engines over the years. I thought that I had the conservative motor this weekend, the 12 and the 77 had a bit more power. We just needed a nice, smooth run today and nothing big to happen. It's unfortunate. We'll bounce back next week.

"It's tough because we wanted to do well here in Michigan and get our Dodge in victory lane," said Busch, who ironically had qualified for the 13th starting spot here on Friday the 13th and completed only 30 laps of today's 200-lap race. "You never want big catastrophic failures like that so hopefully we can learn from this. We wanted a good race today. We've got some good tracks coming up; Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. We'll be fine. It's one of those deals where we're comfortable in points, but it's not nice when you have something like this happen."

Even though Busch fell six positions in the standings after today's race, his "Chase buffer" did not suffer as much as one would suspect. Busch entered today's race with a 261-point advantage over 13th-place Clint Bowyer and he left M.I.S. with a 215-point "buffer" over 13th-place Mark Martin.

Points leader Kevin Harvick added to his bonus points entering the Chase here today by taking his third victory of the season. It came by 1.731 seconds over runner-up Denny Hamlin. Carl Edwards finished third, with Greg Biffle fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth. Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr., Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano rounded out today's top-10 finishers.

Sam Hornish Jr.'s 32nd-place finish led today's three-car Penske Racing Dodge effort here at M.I.S. Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski, who claimed a victory in yesterday's Nationwide Series battle here, came home 34th.
After 23 races have been placed into the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup record book, Busch is now 465 points behind leader Harvick. He trails second-place Jeff Gordon by 172 points, but is only 79 points behind fifth-place Jimmie Johnson.

"Just a tough day here at Michigan," added crew chief Steve Addington. "Our engines have been bullet-proof and I'm sure they will figure it all out as to what happened. The great thing is that we're headed back to Bristol. Everybody knows how much Kurt loves that place and remembers how well we ran there back in the spring. We're heading back in there looking to get that win that slipped away last time around."

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads back to the short track wars as the tour returns to the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway for next weekend's 500-lap grind under the lights. This weekend's action at B.M.S. gets under way with Sprint Cup practice on Friday from 12:00 noon till 2:00 p.m. The final practice for the Sprint Cup cars is set from 2:45 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. on Friday (live on SPEED). Saturday night's 43-car starting field will be determined in Friday's 5:40 p.m. single round of Cup qualifying (live on ESPN2). Saturday's Irwin Tools 500 (500 laps, 266.5 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ESPN and PRN Radio presenting live coverage.