KURT BUSCH READY FOR HIS SECOND CAREER TWIN-BILL WEEKEND -Miller Lite Dodge Driver Competing In Saturday Race; Says Cup Team Making Intermediate Track Progress- JUSTIN, Texas (April 4, 2006) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be a...
KURT BUSCH READY FOR HIS SECOND CAREER TWIN-BILL WEEKEND
-Miller Lite Dodge Driver Competing In Saturday Race; Says Cup Team Making Intermediate Track Progress-
JUSTIN, Texas (April 4, 2006) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be a busy man this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, as he is entered in both Saturday's O'Reilly 300 and Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500. It will mark only the second time in his career that he has participated in two of NASCAR's top levels of competition during the same weekend at the same track.
"During the weekend of my first career Cup start, we also competed in the truck race there at Dover," said Busch, who is now up to 14th in the NEXTEL Cup points after finishing 11th at Martinsville, Va., on Sunday. "We did pretty well, too, starting from the pole and winning that race.
"Believe it or not, when practice begins on Thursday morning out at Texas Motor Speedway, that will be the first time I've ever even sat in a Grand National car," said Busch, who will be behind the wheel of the No. 39 Penske Truck Rental/Miller Lite Dodge for Saturday's race. "I really don't know what to expect, but I'm really looking forward to it. I've been told that the way those cars drive falls somewhere in between a Cup car and an IROC car. I guess we'll see if that holds true this weekend."
Busch is set to compete in five additional races in this car, including Phoenix, April 21; Charlotte, May 27; Dover, June 3; Chicago, July 8; and Michigan, Aug. 19.
While Busch's racing action will start a day earlier than normal this weekend, his Miller Lite Dodge Team, led by Roy McCauley, has high hopes for performing at a level of competition capable of winning in Sunday's NEXTEL Cup race.
"We've made tremendous headway in our intermediate track strength and we continue to hammer away at it," said Busch, who is still looking for his first win at Texas. That being said, he has amassed an impressive career track record of five top-10 finishes in six races. "We were back at it last Wednesday (March 29) at Kentucky Speedway, testing for Texas and running the same car we'll be racing there this weekend.
"We did the identical thing before the Atlanta race - we tested our (PRS-0) 53 Dodge Charger at Kentucky and took it on down to Atlanta," continued Busch, who has completed an amazing 99.9 percent of all possible laps (2,002 of 2,004) in his six Texas races. "We were headed to a strong performance at Atlanta. We led some laps early in the race and thought we had a car strong enough to win, or at least on that would finish in the top five. It was a shame, because we'll never know just how strong the car was as we got crashed out of the race while running third on a restart.
"Everybody had pretty much been chasing the Roush cars on the intermediate tracks, but I'm confident we'll be able to show our strength on this size of track at Texas this weekend," said Busch, who has a 19.0 average start and an impressive 9.8 average finish at T.M.S. "It'll be the most racing I've ever done over a single weekend. I'll finally get to know the real answer to that question you always hear - you know, can you apply anything you learn from running in the Saturday race over to what you're doing on the Cup side? We'll see. It'll be interesting, that's for sure."
In Busch's six Cup races, his fourth in the April 2001 race rates as his best finish to date. His 12th-place start in 2004 was the closest to the front he has ever begun a T.M.S. Cup race.
Busch's Texas racing resume also includes events in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and in IROC. He started fifth and finished sixth in the June 2000 truck race and started fourth and finished third in the truck race there in October of the same year. He finished 11th in both of his IROC Series races on the demanding 1.5-mile track.
Busch's big Texas racing weekend gets under way on Thursday with NBS practice from 11:00 a.m. till 12:00 p.m. Practice continues from 1:00 p.m. till 2:00 p.m. The 6:05 p.m. single round of qualifying determines the entire starting field for Saturday's race. Friday's schedule calls for Cup practice from 12:05 p.m. till 1:35 p.m. and Cup qualifying at 3:40 p.m. Saturday's final Cup practice is set for 12:05 p.m. till 12:50 p.m. The O'Reilly 300 starts at 2:00 p.m. CDT and features live coverage by FOX-TV and PRN Radio. Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 (334 laps/501 miles) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, the seventh event along the 36-race 2006 schedule, begins at 1:00 p.m. CDT and features live coverage by FOX-TV and PRN Radio.