AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 6, 2007) -- One of the goals that Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch laid out at the beginning of the 2007 NEXTEL Cup schedule was to win in Car of Tomorrow competition this season. Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Penske...
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 6, 2007) -- One of the goals that Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch laid out at the beginning of the 2007 NEXTEL Cup schedule was to win in Car of Tomorrow competition this season.
Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Penske Racing team will get one final chance to accomplish that goal in this weekend's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
"We look at it as a final shot this year to win a COT race and we'll be doing everything we can to do that," said Busch, who has recorded one win, two top-five finishes and five top-10s in nine career starts on the "Desert Mile." "Getting a COT win this season would definitely be a great accomplishment for our team, but with only two races remaining, we also have to look at the big picture, too.
"It's come down to the 48 car [Jimmie Johnson] and the 24 [Jeff Gordon] battling it out for the NEXTEL Cup title this year, but it's really tight further back in the points, especially from fourth all the way back through the top 12."
Busch is ninth in the standings with 5,929 points.
"Depending on what happens at Phoenix and Homestead, we could climb on up toward the top five," Busch added. "But if we get hit with bad luck in those two races, we could easily find ourselves all the way back in 12th."
With only this Sunday's Checker 500 and the Nov. 18 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway remaining on the 2007 schedule, ninth-place Busch finds himself only 96 points out of fifth [Carl Edwards], 80 points out of sixth [Tony Stewart], 22 points out of seventh [Jeff Burton] and 14 points out of eighth [Kevin Harvick]. But, Busch currently possesses only a one-point advantage over 10th [Matt Kenseth] and a 71-point buffer over 11th-place Denny Hamlin and 12th-place Martin Truex Jr., who both have 5,858 points.
"So, while we're hoping to break into the win column in COT competition this weekend at Phoenix, there's a lot on the line out there when you look at the big scheme of things," added Busch, who enters Phoenix ranked second only to Jeff Gordon in total bonus points earned this season. "Regardless of the outcome this weekend at Phoenix, when you look back how we started off with our COT program versus where we are today, it's pretty phenomenal of how much progress we have made."
In the 15 COT races completed this season, Busch has scored one top-five finish and four top-10s. He has led laps in five of the races. His best start was second at New Hampshire in July and his best finish was fifth at Richmond in May. He has completed 97 percent of the possible laps. His average start has been 16.267 and his average finish is 18.600, with that being hampered by two DNFs.