Richmond II: Kurt Busch preview

KURT BUSCH WANTS TO BE "THE SPOILER" AT RICHMOND THIS WEEKEND -Miller Lite Dodge Driver Knows All Eyes Will Be On The Chase Battle, But He Looks To Steal Thunder- RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 5, 2006) -- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch has come to...


-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Knows All Eyes Will Be On The Chase Battle, But He Looks To Steal Thunder-

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 5, 2006) -- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch has come to live with the fact that he will not be a participant in this year's "Chase for the Championship." But instead of considering it a defeat, he looks at it as an opportunity to learn while possibly stealing the thunder from the "Chasers" during the remaining 11 races of 2006.

"Like I've been saying, this hasn't been too bad of a season for our first-year team," Busch said of his Roy McCauley-led unit that was put together just last December to work with Busch during his initial season driving for Penske Racing. "We've accomplished a lot already and our future is so promising. It wasn't that hard to accept. I just kept going along with Roger's (Penske, team owner) advice. Rome wasn't built in one day.

"We know that almost all of the attention from here on out will be focused on the Chase," said Busch, who claimed the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title in 2004, the inaugural season with the Chase format. "But that doesn't mean that we have to roll over and play dead. We're looking at it as a chance to play the role as a spoiler during the remaining races.

"We left Bristol knowing that our chances for making the Chase were over, but we still carried the same level of commitment into last weekend's race at California," said Busch. "We won the pole and led some laps early in the race. Even though we weren't among the group involved in the Chase, we still were able to get some ink and TV time.

"That's the exact attitude we'll take into all of the remaining races," said Busch. "We don't have it all on the line like the Chase guys will, so we can take chances and go for it. We hope to learn all we can. We can try some off-the-wall things. If we stub our toe, maybe it didn't work. But if it does, we get to relish in a nice victory. So that's the way we'll be approaching the rest of the races.

"If we can continue to win poles, that'll get their attention going into the race. When we figure out how to keep our cars fast for the entire race, we'll win some more races. They'll have to talk about us if we win the race."

Busch, McCauley and crew have their immediate focus on the return to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

"I've never won a pole at Richmond, but before this season, I'd never won a pole anywhere but at Darlington and Homestead," chortled Busch, who took his fifth pole of the year at California and now leads in the battle for the most poles in 2006. "With it being another impound race this weekend, we may have to utilize a different game plan than we would have otherwise.

"We definitely had a top-five car at Richmond back in the May race, maybe even strong enough to have won the race," said Busch, the defending champion of this weekend's race. "Qualifying was really weird in that the clouds rolled in at the end and the temperature must have dropped about 15 degrees. We went out early and qualified on back there (in the 13th spot).

"That was an impound race, too," Busch said. "They dropped the green flag and we just took off. I remember getting all the way up to third when our night just started falling apart. We had a flat right-front tire and had to hit pit road under the green (on Lap 241). We came down pit road and made our stop. Then we got slapped with two straight penalties -- one for a tire rolling into another team's pit and another for speeding. In just an instant, we saw a top-three finish get blown away.

"I'm confident we can be just as strong again this weekend at Richmond," Busch said. "We just need to avoid the problems, get a little luck on our side and finally close the deal."

Busch, McCauley and team will be racing their PRS-083 Miller Lite Dodge Charger this weekend at R.I.R. "It should be a strong car for Richmond," McCauley said. "We haven't raced it yet. We tested with it down at Lakeland (USA International Speedway in Florida) back in January. We put a new body on it and really dressed it up for Richmond this weekend."

Busch's Richmond career record sports the win last September and a total of only two top-10 finishes in 11 races. His best Richmond start, a third, also came in this race last year. Busch has a 20.181 average start and a 19.363 average finish at Richmond.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch
Teams Team Penske