Richmond: Kurt Busch preview

-- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch's third-place finish in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway lifted him from 13th to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. With 1,038 points, Busch trails ninth-place Kevin Harvick by only...

-- Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch's third-place finish in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway lifted him from 13th to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. With 1,038 points, Busch trails ninth-place Kevin Harvick by only 14 points and he is 34 points ahead of 12th-place Carl Edwards. It marks the first time Busch has been in the top 10 in the standings since the conclusion of the 2005 season, when he finished 10th after having to sit out the final two races.

-- Busch was surprised somewhat by his incredible come-from-the-back finish at Talladega. He was 26th on the lap 179 restart and made it all the way back up to third during the final laps. "Man, with about 20 laps or so to go, it didn't look that promising," Busch said. "I figured that the high line was the best place to be, but when there were 30 cars running up there in single file, we had to look elsewhere. When we had the restart with about 10 laps to go, I knew we would see it get back to two- and three-wide racing. We were pretty aggressive moving up through there, but with the laps running out, we just had to go for it and get all the positions we could. They said we made up 23 spots in the final 10 laps and that's pretty incredible. Like I said, this was a finish that we needed and it came at a really good time for our team. We had a great test at Richmond earlier this month and we're really looking forward to getting back there this weekend."

-- The highlight of the Talladega race radio banter for Busch and crew came on lap 186 of the scheduled 188-lap race that went into overtime. "We're doing it boys, we're really doing it out here," Busch radioed to his crew as the cars paraded around the track under the event's seventh caution period. He had been back as far as 26th only a handful of laps before and now was back up to fourth. "I really don't know what it is we're doing out here, but we're really doing it." "You're doing exactly what you need to do," interim crew chief Troy Raker shot back. "Keep it up and we still have a shot to win."

-- The third-place finish at Talladega was Busch's fifth top-five finish and 10th top-10 in only 13 starts on the track. It was his sixth consecutive top-10 finish. He has a 5.5 average finish during that period, dating back to the October 2004 race. It was his fourth career third-place finish on the 2.66-mile track.

-- Busch's Miller Lite Dodge team, led by interim crew chief Raker, came home the winners in the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge for their performance in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. "The guys were certainly awesome on pit road at Talladega on Sunday," Busch said. "It called for a mixture of all kinds of stops and they performed flawlessly. It was a good and solid day all around for our Miller Lite Dodge team. Winning the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge puts the icing on the cake for the best finish we've had during the 2007 season."

-- Busch is traveling to ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Thursday. On tap is the filming of two TV spots. "That's something I have wanted to do all of my racing career," Busch said. "It is certainly an honor to be part of ESPN's promotional activities and we're looking forward to meeting a lot of people and shaking a lot of hands there on Thursday."

-- They had a "rockin' and rollin' good time." That was the report from Kurt and Eva Busch about her special birthday party on April 26. "We went back to Virginia, gathered up a group of her closest personal friends from back home and rented the local roller-skating rink," Busch explained. "We were all using the old-type standard skates, had the music blasting out of the speakers. It was a fun time and a great way to party and enjoy Eva's special day."

-- Busch and his crew tested at Rockingham on Tuesday in preparation for the May 12 race at Darlington Raceway.

-- When Busch led lap 81 in last Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, it entered the record books as the 100th race he had led in Cup competition. He has now led laps in 43.7 percent -- 100 of 229 -- of his races.

-- Busch and his crew are racing chassis PSC-514 this weekend at Richmond. The team tested with the car at Richmond on April 3-4 and turned in the fastest lap of the final practice session -- 123.141 mph/21.926 seconds. They also tested their PSC-512 Dodge Avenger, the car the team raced at Phoenix, where Busch saw a top-10 run go down the tubes due to poor fuel mileage and an untimely caution flag. "I'd say that only 25 percent or less of the Richmond test was spent utilizing our 512 car (PSC-512 chassis), the car we raced at Phoenix," Raker said. "We think the Richmond car, the (PSC-) 514, will be even stronger. That fast lap we ran in it wasn't in the cool of the night like many people may think. Kurt, myself and everyone on our Miller Lite Dodge team are going back to Richmond with some high expectations. We're all pretty confident that we can live up to them, too."

-- Busch's career record at Richmond sports one win, one top-five finish and two top-10s in 12 races. He is still looking for his first career pole on the 0.75-mile track. Richmond had never been a very kind track to me until we won the fall race there in '05," Busch said of his win in the Sept. 10, 2005 Chevy Rock & Roll 400. "The place certainly had my respect because it had bitten us so many times before. It's a tough track to win on and it seemed like we'd had everything go wrong at one time or another to take our chances of winning away. We had races where we ran out of gas while leading with only eight laps to go, races that we had lug nuts get stuck in the brake caliper while leading and even had fan belts come off the car while we were leading. It's definitely a tough race track, but it's also becoming one of my favorites. We'd already won races at Bristol and Martinsville and by winning at Richmond in 2005 we have won races on all the short tracks."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards