Busch Focused On another Lone Star State Win on Sunday
November 2, 2010FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 2, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch returns to Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend's AAA Texas 500 as the defending champion for the fall racing classic. Busch's Steve Addington-led Penske Racing "Blue Deuce" team is preparing to launch another full assault on the 1.5-mile TMS track in their effort to score consecutive November race wins there.
"We're heading back to Texas with our Coca-Cola 600 winning Miller Lite Dodge and hoping to take the Operation Homefront colors back to Victory Lane again out there," said Busch, who has a win, two top-five finishes, three top-10s and a 4.3 average finish in the last three races at TMS. "We're looking to do everything we possibly can to get back in the Winner's Circle."
Busch, Addington and team will be racing their "PRS-728" Miller Lite Dodge Charger again this weekend at Texas. This is the same car that the former Sprint Cup Champ debuted in the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and drove from the outside pole to a dominant victory. Busch led 12 times for a race-high 252 laps in the Charlotte battle.
The "Blue Deuce" crew had introduced a special Miller Lite "Vortex" color scheme in winning fashion the week before as they also claimed the checkered flag in the annual Sprint All-Star Race. The car that Busch drove to victory in that race was the "PRS-702," the race-winning ride from last November's Texas race. Busch had named that car "Patriot" because of the Operation Homefront colors and the desire to pay special tribute to our military.
"The car we won the All Star Race with already had a name," said Busch, who continued the Penske Racing tradition of naming his race-winning cars after taking over the No. 2 Dodge ride from Rusty Wallace at the end of the 2005 season. "So when we came back the very next weekend to claim the big win in the Coke 600, we decided to name that car ‘Vortex.' It was a fitting tribute to our sponsor's special bottle and the color scheme we began running at the All-Star Race. It really took a life of its own after that win, with even media guys talking about us having ‘Vortex power' out there.
"So, not to sound confusing , but we'll have ‘Vortex' out at Texas this weekend with a full-blown Operation Homefront color scheme on our Miller Lite Dodge," Busch chuckled. "The bottom line is that we had such a great day with the Operation Homefront colors at Texas last November and we certainly tasted the highest level of success at Charlotte back in May. We're hoping all of that will bring a lot of positive energy for us at Texas this weekend."
While Busch started third and led six times for 89 laps en route to last November's Texas win, it was strategy and excellent fuel mileage that allowed him to take the lead from younger brother, Kyle, and lead the final three circuits to pick up his 20th career Cup win.
"The way that we won it - having the fuel mileage game work in our favor and outlast my little brother in a really dramatic finish like that - will always be a special memory," said Busch. "Regardless of how you pull it off, a Texas win is about as huge as it gets. They really know how to make you feel that it's a major accomplishment to win a Texas race. The cowboy hats, getting to fire the six-shooters, the whole big western theme; that's a great trademark that Eddie (Gossage, Speedway president) and the Texas track have going for them."
Busch started 11th and finished fourth in the most-recent Texas race, the April 19 Samsung Mobile 500. He was a fixture among the top 10 during the entire race and was boosted by excellent work in the pits all day.
"We won last November's Texas race and came back with another strong performance there back in April when we finished fourth," said Busch, currently ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings and 120 points out of fifth with three races remaining in the 2010 season. "That was the first race with the spoiler, and it made a big difference as far as feeling the immediate impact of it. It will be good to get back out there. With the notes we have, we're definitely shooting for the stars again this time around."
Busch's career Sprint Cup record at TMS boasts one win, three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 15 races. He has a 16.8 average start and a 13.1 average finish. He has been running at the finish in all but one of the races and has finished in the lead lap in 11 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).
Friday's practice from 12:00 Noon till 1:30 p.m. kicks off this weekend's action at Texas Motor Speedway. Qualifying to establish the starting grid for Sunday's battle is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. local (live on SPEED). Saturday's morning practice is scheduled from 8:45 a.m. till 9:30 a.m. and the final "happy hour" practice session is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. till 11:00 a.m. (TV: SPEED). Sunday's AAA Texas 500 (334 laps, 501 miles) has a scheduled 2:00 p.m. local starting time on the 1.5-mile Dallas/Fort Worth Area speed plant. ESPN-TV and PRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.
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