Michigan: Kurt Busch race report

Busch Guides Miller Lite Dodge to Third Place at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch was a fixture up in the lead pack during the entire running of today's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 here at ...

Busch Guides Miller Lite Dodge to Third Place at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch was a fixture up in the lead pack during the entire running of today's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 here at Michigan International Speedway, taking a third-place finish and advancing to fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. Today's solid effort produced the sixth top-five finish and ninth top-10 in the first 15 races of the 2010 schedule for the Steve Addington-led Penske Racing "Blue Deuce" team.

"It was a great effort by our Miller Lite Vortex Dodge team," Busch said of his third career top-five finish and eighth career top-10 here at MIS. "We had a strong car early on. It seems like we lost a little bit of speed as the race went on, lost a little grip when the track rubbered in. We made good adjustments and had solid pit stops. That's what this game is all about. This is tough. There isn't any other racing in the world where, if you're off a little bit, people are going to go by you. Hats off to my guys, especially the guys back at the shop building these great cars. We keep advancing every time we bring our car to the race track. It was a good day here at Michigan. We qualified on the pole, led laps and finished third."

Busch claimed the 12th Coors Light Pole of his career here on Friday and his No. 2 Dodge showed muscle from the drop of the green flag. After outside-pole winner Jamie McMurray used the high lane to lead the first lap, Busch powered by to take the lead on the second lap and was stretching his advantage when Regan Smith spun on the front stretch to bring out the first caution flag on Lap 20.

Busch went on to lead six times for a total of 60 laps and led the race well into the second half of the battle before Denny Hamlin got by on Lap 114 and set the pace for the remainder of the race.

"It was an exceptional day for our team, to be able to have the captain (legendary team owner Roger Penske) on top of the spotter's tower, out there up front early on -- I felt like we had a special day brewing for us," said Busch. "To sit on the pole, lead a lot of laps with our Miller Lite Vortex Dodge, we felt like we had things going our way. As the race progressed, the track rubbered in. It wasn't that we didn't keep up with adjustments. I thought we had a good handle on the car. Other guys just got better than us. In Sprint Cup racing, if you're off just a little bit, somebody is going to jump on top of you, get by you, pass you, and make you feel like you don't belong up there.

"But, it still was a great day for us," Busch said of what turned out to be his 77th career top-five finish and 145th top-10 in 343 career Cup starts "Denny Hamlin deserves all the credit. He put on a good show. That team has been dominant. They are showing their strength. Then to race Kasey Kahne, he is in a Ford. The winner was a Toyota. We were in a Dodge. The guy that finished behind me was in a Chevrolet. It's a dream that you could ask for when you come to Michigan is to see all the manufacturers have the success they had today. Of course, I was pulling for Dodge, trying to get our Dodge into Victory Lane. Just came up a bit short. All in all, man, this was a great day for us points wise. What we found out on the track today will hopefully help us at some of the ovals later on."

At the finish line here today, it was Hamlin taking the win by 1.246 seconds over Kahne and claiming his fifth win of the season. Busch was third, with Jeff Gordon fourth and Tony Stewart fifth. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano rounded out today's top-10 finishers.

"A real solid points day for our miller Lite Dodge," added crew chief Addington. "It really was an uneventful day to be honest. The Miller Lite Dodge was awesome off the truck this weekend. To earn a pole at Michigan is special because it's in Dodge's backyard and that's important to everyone at Penske. I told Kurt that we just need to keep building on solid finishes and focus in on making the Chase. We want to win, but the big picture is making the Chase. Making the Chase would be a big accomplishment for this team. Kurt (Busch) drove a great race. We'll take the third-place finish and head to Sonoma."

Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Brad Keselowski finished 26th and 27th, respectively.

Kevin Harvick continues to hold down the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings with 2,169 points. Kyle Busch is second with 2,147, Hamlin third with 2,122 and Kurt Busch fourth with 2,051. Matt Kenseth fell to fifth here today and has 2,019 points. Kurt Busch's current intervals see him 118 points out of first, 96 out of second and 71 out of third. He has a 32-point lead over fifth, a 195-point advantage over 10th (Carl Edwards) and a 268-point "buffer" over 13th-place Clint Bowyer.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup tour now heads out to Infineon Raceway, near Sonoma, Calif., for next Sunday's first of two road course races along the 2010 series schedule.

-source: penske

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Regan Smith , Clint Bowyer , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Roger Penske , Joey Logano , Sam Hornish Jr. , Kyle Busch
Teams Team Penske