Kurt Busch Looks To Repeat At Charlotte 600

Kurt Busch Looks To Repeat At Charlotte 600

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Kurt Busch Says 2010 Coca-Cola 600 Win Was “Dream Come True”

CONCORD, N.C.-- Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch's victory in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway came in dominant fashion, with the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champ leading 12 times for a total of 252 of the 400 laps. Busch and his Steve Addington-led Penske Racing "Double Deuce" team enter this week's 52nd running of the prestigious Memorial Day Weekend hoping to win in any fashion.

"Last year's Coca-Cola 600 win was a dream come true," said Busch, who is currently tied for eighth in the Sprint Cup point standings, but only 26 points out of the top-five. "I had the enjoyable job of driving an incredible-handling Miller Lite Dodge Charger in last year's race and we'd be tickled to have anything close to that with our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge this time around. It was unbelievable to have a car there last year that would stick that good.

Kurt Busch, Penske Racing Dodge
Kurt Busch, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

"But the biggest and most important thing is leading the final lap - the checkered flag lap - and winning the race," said Busch. "Dominant wins like we had in the 600 last year are pretty few and far between. The cars are so equal these days that strategy has pegged the meter in importance. Just look at the last few races and how Regan Smith won at Darlington and Matt (Kenseth) won at Dover. A win is a win and we need one no matter how it comes.

"Regardless of how you win the 600, you have to look at it as a great team effort and that definitely was the case for our win last year. It's the toughest race and you really want to give it your very best lap after lap. The race is 400 laps around a mile-and-a-half track and it's a challenge to stay on top of the changing track conditions. The crew has to be on their game, making the right adjustments and giving you the great pit stops. It's definitely a case of putting a complete race together. Until last year, there were plenty of times where we had really good race cars during the day and weren't able to make it all the way till the end and race them hard. We dotted the i's and crossed all the t's in winning last year's 600."

While last year's Coca-Cola 600 win may rate as the most prestigious of his 22 career victories from a personal standpoint, Busch is quick to point out how far the significance was spread.

"Penske Racing had never won the 600 before, so it was a special win on that front," said Busch. "With the big annual Memorial Day weekend of racing at Charlotte and the open-wheel guys racing at Indianapolis, it was quite an accomplishment to drive one of Roger Penske's cars to Victory Lane. Miller Lite had never won a race at Charlotte, so it was a special victory for them and all of our sponsors. It was just a great day and a huge accomplishment for everyone involved."

Busch's 2010 Coca-Cola 600 race review:

After starting from the outside pole position, Busch muscled around pole-winner Ryan Newman on Lap 12 and began stretching his lead. Except for periods of the race when green-flag stops were cycling around or when tire strategy came into play, Busch was rarely threatened up front until the closing laps. Coming into the race, Busch had never led the 600 during the final 100 miles and that's when Jamie McMurray came into the picture and staged his challenge.

Busch had experienced an overheating condition due to a large piece of paper covering the grill area of his Dodge with a little over 100 laps remaining. He purposefully had backed off and allowed McMurray to pass on Lap 299. Busch quickly ducked in behind the No. 1 Chevy and the move was successful in clearing the trash off the grill.

After a Lap 313 restart, Busch was able to pull back out to a comfortable lead. At Lap 320, he had a 1.282-second lead over second-place McMurray. Busch developed a minor "tight in, loose off" condition which allowed McMurray to close in and finally take the point on Lap 340.

It was the greatest two weeks of my career so far.

Kurt Busch

McMurray had pulled out to a 1.631-second advantage with 50 laps remaining and still enjoyed a 1.404-second lead over Busch when a round of green-flag stops cycled around on Lap 366. He had stretched his lead to 2.225 seconds on Lap 377 when Marcos Ambrose crashed exiting Turn 2 to bring out the eighth caution flag of the race.

Crew chief Addington called for two right-side tires and an air pressure adjustment. The Penske Racing "over-the-wall gang" responded with an incredible 5.826-second pit stop which got Busch out first of all the cars opting to hit pit road.

Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Newman chose to stay out under the final yellow and lined up in the positions in front of Busch for the Lap 381 restart. Then came Matt Kenseth, McMurray, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann who completed the top 10 at the time.

Busch wasted little time disposing of the three cars in front on Lap 382 and jumping out to a comfortable lead over McMurray, who finally broke free of the traffic on Lap 385. With 10 laps remaining, Busch enjoyed a 15 car-length lead over McMurray and maintained that distance down to the wire. At the finish line, it was Busch taking the win by 0.737 seconds over McMurray. Kyle Busch finished third, with Martin fourth and Reutimann fifth. Gordon, Bowyer, Paul Menard, Newman and Kenseth rounded out the top-10 finishers.

"It was just an incredible two weeks of May at Charlotte last year," said Busch. "It was a remarkable fete to have won the All-Star Race the first weekend and then come back and dominate in the 600 like we did. It was the greatest two weeks of my career so far."

Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led "Double-Deuce" team will be racing their "PRS-750" Dodge Charger in this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 action at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's a new car that we're bringing out this weekend for the 600," said crew chief Addington. "If it can be anywhere near as strong as our car was in the 600 last year, we'll be extremely pleased. We know we have to show more strength than we did there last weekend (in the Sprint All-Star Race where Busch finished 13th)."

- source: penske racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags ford, roush fenway racing, sprint cup