Kurt Busch Claims Coors Light Pole For Stp 400 At Kansas

June 4, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Kans. (June 4, 2011) – No. 22 AAA Dodge driver Kurt Busch claimed the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's STP 400 here at Kansas Speedway today with a fast qualifying lap of 30.901 seconds (174.752 mph).  He was quick to praise his Steve Addington-led team for helping win his 13th career pole and first since last June at Michigan.
"I have to thank my guys for standing behind me, not just through a pretty tough day here yesterday, but some of the tough times we've been through as of late," Busch said.  "The guys back at the shop, I know that they're slapping some high-fives today.  It's an amazing feeling when you're down a little bit and you're not exactly keen on knowing what to change or where to go.
"Yesterday we were struggling in practice," said Busch, who showed up 36th on the final practice speed chart.  "We threw a bunch of things at the car today and got the pole.  It's an amazing world, the world of motorsports.  One day you're down and the next day you're up.  It's a great pole of Penske Racing, to back up the pole that (Brad) Keselowski had last week.  For us with AAA on the car this weekend, they have a big presence in the state of Kansas.  With their insurance, it's not just auto, it's home and life insurance.  It's great to have a blue-chip brand like them on our car this weekend.  And of course with Shell, Pennzoil and Dodge, our great sponsors, this gives them that breath of fresh air that they needed."
With his showing during practice yesterday, Busch was the fifth driver to make his attempt in the session that began at 11:10 a.m.  Did Busch feel like that was an advantage?
"The way that practice was a struggle for us, we didn't expect to be on the pole," offered Busch, who has never started better than seventh here before in 10 prior races.  "The early draw definitely helped us.  It didn't hurt.  No big issue with why we spun yesterday.  We bolted on a set of shocks and I felt it was looser right away.  I wanted to run three or four laps just to confirm it, analyze if it was more entry, middle or exit.  I just felt like it was looser right away and then it bit me on corner exit.  This (the pole) was definitely a surprise.  We're happy for it.  It's been almost a year since we've had a pole, so it's nice to get our AAA Dodge up front taking the green flag here at Kansas in front of all our fans."
Juan Pablo Montoya went out just before Busch in the qualifying order and claimed the outside pole with a lap of 31.007 seconds (174.154 mph).  Kyle Busch (31.020 seconds/174.081 mph) starts third, with Brian Vickers (31.036 seconds/173.991 mph) fourth and Joey Logano (31.061 seconds/173.851 mph) fifth.  Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.
Penske Racing teammate Keselowski will start his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge from the 25th spot after clocking in with a lap of 31.303 seconds (172.507 mph).
"I'm so proud of Kurt and everyone on this team," said crew chief Addington.  "When I saw that Kurt had dipped down into the 30-second bracket, I said, ‘Wow this might just be a lap that'll stick up there.'  As it turned out, he was the only guy to run a lap below the 31-second mark and that's pretty cool.  It's been a long time since we've gotten the first pick for our pits and that'll really help out here tomorrow.  We pulled out a top-five finish last Sunday night at Charlotte and won the pole here today.  We're hoping to keep that momentum rolling along in the race here tomorrow."
Sunday's STP 400 (267 Laps, 400.5 miles) here at the Kansas Speedway has a scheduled 12:00 noon CDT (1:00 p.m. EDT) starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.