Kurt Busch Finishes 30th in AAA Texas 500

November 6, 2011

FORT WORTH, Tex. (Nov. 6, 2011) – AAA Dodge driver Kurt Busch came up four laps short in his attempt to stretch fuel mileage and wound up finishing 30th in today’s AAA Texas 500 here at Texas Motor Speedway.  The result of today’s battle here at TMS sees the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champ holding on to the ninth spot in the points battle with only two races remaining on the 2011 schedule.

“We just missed it today,” Busch said after the race.  “We started outside the top 10 and really never had the car today to compete up front.  Our AAA Dodge was tight, then loose, then tight again.  We were just all over the board.  We tried spring rubbers in, spring rubbers out.  We even changed bump stops, but nothing seemed to work.  I had a handful pretty much all race long.  Then with about 100 laps to go, we got hit on pit road and messed up the left-rear quarter panel when the 83 car got into us.  The guys patched it up the best that they could and we kept after it.

“On that last caution, we pitted for right side tires and packed it with fuel and Steve (Addington, crew chief) put me in fuel saving mode from there on out.  We came up short and had to pit with four laps to go, but we went for it.  We just came up short just like a bunch of them did.  I guess you could say that we just came up short all the way around here today.”

Busch started today’s race from the 14th position and experienced “full-lock-left” (the ultimate tight) handling conditions from the drop of the green flag.  Addington and crew ran the gamut of changes and adjustments on their car here today, including everything that Busch noted, but lost too much track position early to advance during the two periods of the race when the “Double-Deuce” was most competitive.

“We ran like 15th to 20th most of the time, but twice during the race we were running as fast of lap times as anybody out there,” Addington offered.  “We fell behind from the start and never could make up ground.  There at the end, we just had to roll the dice on the fuel mileage.  It didn’t turn out like we had hoped for with our AAA Dodge and it was the same case for all the others in the situation we were in.  We went for it and just came up short.”

In the battle for the checkers, it was Tony Stewart claiming his fourth victory during the Chase and charging to within three points of leader Carl Edwards in the point standings here this afternoon.  Stewart picked up the maximum bonus points by leading the most laps (173 of 334) en route to his 1.092-second win over runner-up Edwards.  Kasey Kahne finished third with Matt Kenseth fourth and Greg Biffle fifth.  Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and A.J. Allmendinger rounded out today’s top-10 finishers.

With only the races at Phoenix next week and Homestead/Miami the following week remaining on the schedule, Edwards leads Stewart by three points, 2,316 to 2,313.  Kevin Harvick is third with 2,283, Kenseth is fourth with 2,278 and Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski is fifth with 2,267.  Jimmie Johnson (2,261), Earnhardt (2,237), Gordon (2,235), Busch (2,229) and Denny Hamlin (2,217) round out the top-10 drivers in the points.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads back out to the “new” Phoenix International Raceway for next weekend’s Kobalt Tools 500.  Since the last visit back in February, the “Desert Mile” has taken on not only a new track surface, but also a reconfiguration which has teams baffled as what to expect.

Friday’s practice from 11:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. kicks off next weekend’s action at PIR.  The final practice session is set for Friday from 3:30 p.m. till 5:30 p.m.  Qualifying to establish the starting grid for Sunday’s battle is set for Saturday at 11:40 a.m.  Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 (500 kilometers/312 miles/312 laps) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. local starting time (Mountain Standard Time) here on this 1.0-mile speed plant known as the Desert Mile.  ESPN-TV and MRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.