Kurt Busch Starting Third In Sunday's Geico 400 At Chicago

September 17, 2011

JOLIET, Ill. (September 17, 2011) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch will start Sunday’s Geico 400 here at Chicagoland Speedway from the third position after turning in a lap of 29.503 seconds (183.032 mph) in today’s qualifying session.  It was quite an impressive performance, especially considering that Busch’s average starting spot here has been 21.2 since joining Penske Racing for the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

“It was a good qualifying effort with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge,” Busch offered after making his run against the clock.  “Maybe I drove it into Turn 1 a little deep.  The crew chief just came over and asked me if I was ever going to lift.  I was just going for it today.  It’s important to get a good starting spot here at Chicagoland and we did that today.

“It was a great qualifying effort for us,” Busch said.  “We feel like getting off to a strong start in the Chase is important and it starts with qualifying.  Thanks to my guys and most importantly, Steve Addington.  He made a couple of quick adjustments while the car was on the grid for qualifying this afternoon.  I drove it down into Turn 1 and it stuck until I got to Turn 2 and it slid up a little bit.  It was a little bit of a four-wheel drift in Turn 2.  I was prepared for a tough (Turns) 3 and 4.  It’s definitely a lot tougher in 3 and 4 with the bumps and with the way the wind was.  Today, track temperature was 30 degree warmer than it was yesterday during our practice runs so the teams had to adjust for that.  A good, solid run for our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.  We’ll start third and get a good pit selection and then work our way through the full 400 miles tomorrow.”

Matt Kenseth picked up the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with his fast lap of 29.469 seconds (183.243 mph).  Paul Menard earned the outside pole with a lap of 29.488 seconds (183.125 mph).  Ryan Newman (lap of 29.507 seconds/183.007 mph) and Carl Edwards (29.522 seconds/182.914 mph) rounded out today’s top-five qualifiers.

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start his Miller Lite Dodge from the sixth spot after posting a lap of 29.531 seconds (182.859 mph).  Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano completed today’s top-10 drivers.

Busch and his Steve Addington-led team will be pitting in spot No. 7 on pit road for Sunday’s race.  There is an opening behind the spot and the Kevin Harvick team will be pitting in front.

Sunday’s Geico 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. CDT (2:00 p.m. EDT) starting time and features live coverage by ABC-TV and MRN Radio.