Chicagoland: Kurt Busch qualifying report

Busch and Miller Lite Dodge To Start 22nd at Chicagoland JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be starting 22nd in Saturday night's LifeLock.com 400 here at Chicagoland Speedway after turning in a qualifying lap...

Busch and Miller Lite Dodge To Start 22nd at Chicagoland

JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2009) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be starting 22nd in Saturday night's LifeLock.com 400 here at Chicagoland Speedway after turning in a qualifying lap of 29.928 seconds (180.433 mph). He will certainly have some "good company" joining him in the second half of the starting field as current points leader Tony Stewart, along with "Race for the Chase" contenders Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, will all start behind Busch and his "Blue Deuce" here on Saturday night.

"We made a ton of changes between practice and qualifying and we did pick up a little from practice," said Busch, whose lap of 30.186 seconds (178.891 mph) was 14th fastest on the speed chart. "But, it just wasn't enough to get where we needed to be.

"I feel that there were a couple of places that I left some time on the race track. Mainly getting into Turn 3, the car was sliding loose with the rear end. Once I got that underneath me, the front wouldn't turn. It's just a tough corner. We've got a good Miller Lite Dodge this weekend."

Busch may have also been at a disadvantage by having to go out fourth in the qualifying order. Brother Kyle Busch was the only driver among the first 10 to go out who took a top-10 starting spot. The speeds picked up so much as the sun went down here today that two of the top-10 spots were taken by the "go-or-go-home drivers" who took to the track at the end of the session.

Brian Vickers continued on his impressive qualifying day streak here today, topping the practice speed chart (lap of 29.961 seconds/180.234 mph), and then coming back with the fastest lap (29.322 seconds/184.162 mph) to win his fifth pole of the season. Red Bull Racing teammate Scott Speed, who was third-fastest in practice, was the final driver to make his run and his lap (29.515 seconds/182.958 mph) claimed the outside pole position.

Jimmie Johnson (29.625 seconds/182.217 mph) will start third, with Denny Hamlin (29.644/182.152) fourth and Clint Bowyer (29.654/182.100) fifth. Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott, David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose rounded out today's top-10 qualifiers.

Sam Hornish Jr. led the Penske Racing Team effort in qualifying today, taking the 16th starting spot with his lap of 29.838 seconds (180.977 mph). David Stremme (30.151 seconds/179.099 mph) will start Saturday night's race from the 36th spot.

"There are plenty of Chase-caliber teams starting behind us," crew chief Pat Tryson said of drivers like Edwards (25th), Stewart (32nd), Kenseth (33rd) and Biffle (35th). "We wish we could have qualified up front and gotten a better spot on pit road, but it's really no big deal. We've shown so many times this year that we can finish up front no matter where we start. The great thing here this week is that we'll hopefully have two practice sessions tomorrow where we can get our Miller Lite Dodge really dialed in for Saturday night's race."

Friday's schedule here at Chicagoland Speedway features practice sessions from 4:00 p.m. till 4:45 p.m. and from 5:20 p.m. till 6:20 p.m. Saturday's LifeLock 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles) has a scheduled 7:00 p.m. CDT (8:00 p.m. EDT) starting time and features live coverage by TNT-TV and MRN Radio.

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Marcos Ambrose , Scott Speed , David Reutimann , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , Clint Bowyer , Sam Hornish Jr. , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Team Penske