CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge Driver Kurt Busch says that he is optimistic entering this weekend's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and much of the positive attitude comes from the Penske Racing No. 2 Team's ...
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) - Miller Lite Dodge Driver Kurt Busch says that he is optimistic entering this weekend's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and much of the positive attitude comes from the Penske Racing No. 2 Team's performance in May's Coca-Cola 600.
"We were able to put together an entire race, led laps and had a top-five car before blowing a right-front tire about half-way through the race," said Busch, who started eighth, led two times for 64 laps and finish 16th in May's 600-mile battle. "We had a really difficult night, but finished on the lead lap even after getting our splitter broken and having to spend extra time on pit road fixing it.
"Our car got a little too tight as the night wore on, but to have weathered the storm with the blown tire and the broken splitter and still bring her home on the lead lap was definitely some consolation," said Busch, whose career record at Lowe's Motor Speedway shows a runner-up finish in the October 2005 race as his best effort to date in 16 starts. "It was a case that we've been all too familiar with in having to look back at what might have been and still find something encouraging out of it.
"When I look back through the years, especially since I came over to Penske Racing, our biggest problem has been in trying to make the right adjustments in order to accommodate the always-changing race track," said Busch, who'll be making his 103rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start for the Roger Penske-owned team in Saturday's Bank of America 500. "It's always a challenge to be consistent throughout the race with the goal to be at your optimum strength in the latter stages of the race.
"We're heading back this weekend, hoping to put together another whole race there on Saturday night," Busch said.
In the five races Busch has driven at Lowe's for Penske, dating back to the beginning of the 2006 season, he has led laps in three of those five races and led a total of 184 laps. He led the most laps (107) in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600 before a late-race crash relegated him to a 32nd-place finish. Busch has a 12.0 average start and 29.0 average finish at Lowe's in that five-race span.
Busch and his Pat Tryson-led crew are racing their "PRS-550" Miller Lite Dodge Charger this weekend at Lowe's. The car was first raced at Darlington in May, where Busch started fifth and had a top-five run going until a right-front suspension problem relegated him to a 12th-place finish. Busch raced the car in the June Pocono race, where he started 11th and finished eighth. It was raced again at Chicagoland in July, where engine woes relegated Busch to a 28th-place finish. The team last raced the car in the August Pocono race, where Busch ran out of fuel twice on the way to a 38th-place finish.
This weekend's schedule at Lowe's Motor Speedway begins on Thursday with practice scheduled from 3:00 p.m. till 4:30 p.m. Qualifying is set for 7:10 p.m. and will determine all 43 starting positions for Saturday's race. Friday's schedule calls for practice sessions from 5:00 p.m. till 5:45 p.m. and from 6:20 p.m. till 7:20 p.m. Saturday's Bank of America 500 (334 laps/501 miles) has a scheduled 7:25 p.m. ET starting time, with ABC-TV and PRN Radio providing live coverage of all the action.
--Kurt, Pat and crew are testing (Tuesday, Oct. 7) at the Kentucky Speedway. "We're hoping to learn a few things that we can apply to racing at Charlotte (Lowe's Motor Speedway) this weekend," Pat said. "We didn't think our test went as well as expected there the week of the Kansas race and decided to add a test at Kentucky as a move to beef up the effort for this weekend and for the remaining intermediate tracks." The team planned on testing at Kentucky with their "PRS-557" Miller Lite Dodge Charger, the chassis they raced at Texas in April and in the All-Star race at Lowe's.
--The debut of the team's "next-generation" chassis, originally scheduled for this weekend, has been delayed. "We had the first new (PRS-) 600 series car at the (Lowe's) test a few weeks back and decided we needed to do several tweaks and changes before we brought it back to race," Pat explained. "We're now hoping to get it back out somewhere to test again, before racing it on down the line maybe at Atlanta or Homestead."
--So with Kurt's Chicago Cubs seeing their season come to an end in last Saturday night's playoff game in Los Angeles, who is he pulling for to win it all now? "I told somebody last Sunday morning at Talladega that I was for anybody but the White Sox or the Red Sox," Kurt said. "But really, I guess I'll have to pull for the Dodgers now. After all, they're the team that eliminated my Cubbies and there are so many great storylines there with Joe Torre managing them and with Manny (Ramirez) coming over from the Red Sox to make such an impact on the team. I'll watch it and keep up with it, but my interest totally waned and I'm heartbroken about the way the season ended for my Cubs."
--Kurt is "two-for-two" with his direct support of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. He travelled to Tuscaloosa during last October's Talladega race to see the team win their homecoming game against Houston and was there in the stands last Saturday rooting on the No. 2-ranked Tide to a victory over Kentucky. "Even though the score was a lot closer than we hoped for, Eva and I had a blast at the game there on Saturday," Kurt said of Alabama's 17-14 victory over the Wildcats. "We owe a big thanks to Eli (Gold, voice of the radio broadcasting network) for the tickets and to ETA and the Tuscaloosa Police Department for helping us get to the game and back. The Tide has a strong team this season and Coach Saban is doing a tremendous job. Alabama fans have a lot to be proud of this year, that's for sure."
--Kurt, Pat and team are racing their "PRS-550" Miller Lite Dodge Charger this weekend at Lowe's. The car was first raced at Darlington in May, where Kurt started fifth and had a top-five run going until a right-front suspension problem relegated him to a 12th-place finish. Kurt raced the car in the June Pocono race, where he started 11th and finished eighth. It was raced again at Chicagoland in July, where engine woes relegated Kurt to a 28th-place finish. The team last raced the car in the August Pocono race, where Kurt ran out of fuel twice on the way to a 38th-place finish.
--Kurt will be making a special appearance for Dodge this Thursday (Oct. 9) at Concord Mills Mall. Kurt will be signing autographs at the Dodge display from 12:30 p.m. till 1:00 p.m. Dodge officials will be handing out 100 tickets prior to the session and you must have a ticket to be in the autograph line. Concord Mills is the No. 1 shopping & entertainment destination of the Carolinas and North Carolina's No. 1 visitor attraction. It is located off I-85 at Exit 49, just two miles from Lowes Motor Speedway and 17 miles north of "Uptown" Charlotte.
--Kansas Speedway is the next location for one of the "Ride with Kurt for the Kids" events this season. The date for the big event is this Sunday, October 12. "For Kansas, we're pleased to have Mark Martin joining us for the event. I've always respected Mark as much as any driver I have ever known and I am thrilled that he agreed to be there. I know that the fans will get an extra kick out of Mark being there and it will certainly add to the excitement for the day." The high-speed, white-knuckle rides with Kurt and Mark behind the wheel will be in a special NASCAR Sprint Cup-style stock car provided by event sponsor - the Richard Petty Driving Experience. For complete event information and to purchase one of these exciting experiences, please visit www.kurtbusch.com, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 704-799-2428. All proceeds will go to the Kurt Busch Foundation. Stay tuned for announcements concerning other "Ride with Kurt for the Kids" dates for 2008.
--The Kurt Busch Celebrity Poker Charity Tournament is coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at the Sierra Gold Ultra Tavern in Las Vegas. Cost is $500 per seat and is limited to 100 players. All proceeds go to the Kurt Busch Foundation.
--Concord, as in North Carolina -- why is it pronounced 'kan-?ko?rd, rather than like Concord, Massachusetts and Concord, New Hampshire ("conquered")? A story circulates about the origin of Concord in which two towns were vying to be made the county seat of the newly-created Cabarrus County. The powers that were in charge decided to build a new town between those other two and make this new town the county seat, in order to bring concord to the dispute. Thus, the town of Concord was founded. This story is also used as an explanation for why the name of the North Carolina town is pronounced like the word.