Kurt Busch On A Roll Heading Into Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 17, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch enters this weekend's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on a roll, bringing much momentum - and a new "weapon" - with him. "I...
Kurt Busch On A Roll Heading Into Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 17, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch enters this weekend's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on a roll, bringing much momentum - and a new "weapon" - with him.
"I think this is a great time for our Miller Lite Dodge Team to be heading back to Bristol," said Busch, who is off to the best start of his career, based on his third-place position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings and the 588 points he has earned after four races. "Coming off the big win two Sundays ago at Atlanta, the off weekend only added to the energy and pizzazz we're bringing in there.
"We have the momentum growing and the excitement building within and around our team," the 2004 NASCAR champ said. "I'm probably looking forward to this trip back to Bristol as much as any of my career. I could even say that I'm anticipating this Bristol race weekend more than any visit I've ever made to the track."
That statement speaks volumes, especially considering that it comes from a driver who has recorded five wins and nine top-10 finishes in 16 career starts on the lightning-fast half-mile oval.
"What's really got us so jazzed up this time around is that we've proven ourselves on the big tracks this year and we've shown that we can win again on the intermediate tracks," said Busch, who enters Bristol with a 5.25 average start and a 9.76 average finish after the first four races this season. "We're eager to get out there and show that we have what it takes to get the job done on the short tracks, too.
"Most everyone out there knows how much I love Bristol," said Busch, whose first career NASCAR Sprint Cup win came at the track on March 24, 2002, in only his third career BMS start and 48th start overall. "There's only one Bristol and I'm never short on words in expressing my personal feelings about the track. You never get tired of racing there and always look forward to coming back. I've often said that I wish we ran five races a year there and not just the two. I just truly love the place.
"I get asked the question several times every week as to what is my very favorite track of them all," said Busch, who will likely do well over 100 sponsor-related race day hospitality visits at race tracks this year. "At the hospitality functions, we always try to do a little question and answer session and that question about my favorite track will inevitably come up. It always does.
"I'll always answer first by going with the home-track angle, saying that it has to be whatever the particular track where we're racing that week," said Busch. "That always works to soften up the crowd and get everyone really interested. But I'm always quick on the draw to tell them the entire story shortly after that, telling them emphatically that Bristol Motor Speedway is my absolute favorite track.
"With all the success we've had there over the years, the track is like a second home to me," added Busch. "I scored my first career win at Bristol. Four of my five Bristol wins have come in the day race and the win at Bristol in the night race of 2003 will always stand out in my mind as a favorite race win. But that first win back in 2002 was special because it was my first career win. Of course, the spring race win in 2006 will always be memorable because it was my first win as a driver for Penske Racing.
"I guess you can say that Bristol is a track that holds so many special moments for my career and we hope to have quite a few more in store," said Busch. "We feel that the timing is right this weekend to come back in there and add to our success."
Crew chief Pat Tryson agrees that the No. 2 Penske Racing "Blue Deuce" Team is coming into Bristol for this weekend's race with a full head of steam and he points to two additional factors that add to their confidence level.
"We'll be unveiling our (PRS-) 600 Miller Lite Dodge Charger this weekend at Bristol," said Tryson, who claimed his first career victory as a Sprint Cup crew chief at Bristol on March 25, 2001, with Elliott Sadler as his driver. "It's a brand new car and one of our newest generation chassis models. When Kurt takes to the track there at Atlanta on Friday, it'll be the first time it has hit a race track. We're hoping it'll be our latest and greatest weapon out there.
"Another confidence-builder comes from the fact that we were able to test a couple of weeks ago down at New Smyrna," Tryson said of the track time the team got on March 3 on New Smyrna Speedway, the 23-degree-banked half-mile asphalt oval located west of New Smyrna Beach, Fla. "We went down there really not knowing what to expect or how beneficial it would be. When the day was done and we were on the flight back home, we all agreed that it was time well spent. It'll help us at Bristol this week and at Martinsville next weekend, too."