Penske Racing press release
Busch Focused on Several Goals at AAA Texas 500
FORT WORTH, Tex. (Nov. 1, 2011) - AAA Dodge Charger driver Kurt Busch is quick to point out that he is a very goal-oriented competitor. No time during his 11 years along the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour has Busch entered a race with so many goals in mind as he has entering this weekend's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"For sure, we are coming back to Texas with so many things on our list," said Busch, who claimed a big win in the 2009 edition of the fall TMS race and craves a return visit to Victory Lane there again this weekend. "We have some short-term goals we are looking to accomplish there this weekend and we have goals relating to the big picture, too.
"Without a doubt, the goal we have that'll get the biggest buzz at Texas this weekend is our quest to win the race and pick up the $500 grand for lucky contest winner Ronita Thatcher of Thousand Oaks, Calif.," said Busch, who has already won races at Sonoma, Calif., and Dover, Del., this season and is looking to add a third 2011 win this Sunday at TMS. "We'll be giving it our all out there this weekend trying to win the battle and earn her that huge check.
"There's definitely additional incentive to win the race when you consider that we'll be carrying the AAA colors on our Penske Racing ‘Double Deuce' Dodge Charger this weekend and AAA is also sponsoring the race," Busch said. "We ran the AAA colors at Kansas during the first race there. We won the pole and dominated the race, before the fuel mileage bit us and we had to pit late in the race (and finished ninth). We won the Dover race back in September and it was sponsored by AAA. So maybe that's an omen and it's all leading up to a super big weekend coming up out in Texas.
"Then there's the big picture there on Sunday, too. We've already enjoyed a successful run during the 2011 season and we're proud of our accomplishments so far. But, there are still three races to be run and we'll be out there scraping for all the points we can get from here on out.
"I made the comment to my guys before Sunday's race at Martinsville that we're on a mission to get back up there solidly in the top-five in the points by the end of the season," said Busch, currently eighth in the Sprint Cup point standings and trailing fifth-place Matt Kenseth by 22 points. "We got caught up in the crash at Talladega and that cost us our shot at the championship. I feel like we are a top-five caliber team and we deserve to finish up there in the top-five. We just have to get out there and execute like we know we are capable of doing and achieve that goal.
"There's a lot on the line this weekend, that's for sure," said Busch. "When the dust has settled there at Texas on Sunday afternoon, we want to be the team firing the six-shooters and sporting the cowboy hats in Victory Lane with Eddie Gossage (TMS President). It would be a really cool day at the track to win it for a lucky fan and for AAA."
Thatcher became eligible to cash in big time with a Sunday Kurt Busch victory by winning the recent AAA Road to Win Sweepstakes. The contest ran from June until September in California, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii. Prizes included a Dodge Challenger, Shell gasoline for a year and many other prizes, including the Grand Prize Trip to the AAA Texas 500 and a chance to win $500,000 if Kurt Busch wins the AAA Texas 500. Thatcher has been a AAA member for over 40 years. She entered the Sweepstakes by visiting her local AAA branch. Thatcher is unable to attend the AAA Texas 500, but she is cheering Kurt on at a AAA Texas 500 Viewing Party in her hometown.
Busch's career Sprint Cup record at TMS boasts one win, three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 17 races. He has a 15.8 average start and a 13.6 average finish. He has been running at the finish in all but one of the races and has finished in the lead lap in 12 races. The Texas track also holds historical significance for Busch in that it was the site where he scored a win in his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut (in the April 8, 2006 O'Reilly 300).
Busch and his Steve Addington-led No. 22 Penske Racing Team will be racing their car named "Monster Masher" at Texas this weekend. The "PRS-758" Dodge Charger has an impeccable record. Busch debuted the car in the August race at Pocono, where he started fifth and finished third. In its last time at the track, Busch started on the outside pole and won the Oct. 2 AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Racing legend Rusty Wallace started a Penske Racing tradition back in the 90s by naming his winning race cars. When Wallace retired after the 2006 season, Busch filled his seat and continued that tradition to this day. "Monster Masher" came from the suggestion of Busch's girlfriend Patricia Driscoll's six-year-old son, Houston.
"I don't have to tell you how much we are looking forward to this weekend's race," offered crew chief Steve Addington. "We'll have one of Kurt's best cars - already a race-winner - at one of Kurt's favorite race tracks. It doesn't get any better than that. We have three races left and I feel like we can go win all three of them. Texas is first in line and we're coming in there with a lot of confidence that we can get it done. With us fielding the AAA Dodge in the AAA Texas 500, there'll be a heckuva party there in Victory Lane when Kurt takes the checkered flag, that's for sure."