Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kurt Busch Pumped For Coca-Cola 600: May Bring Same Stout Chassis From All-Star Race

The overwhelming battle cry for Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Miller Lite Dodge Team entering this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is this: "We’ve won the ‘Sprint’ – now we gotta’ win the marathon!"

"That pretty much sums up the situation for our Miller Lite Dodge Team," said Busch, who posted an impressive victory in last Saturday night’s special non-points Sprint All-Star Race and hopes to continue his winning ways at CMS in Sunday’s 600-mile, 400-lap battle. "Last weekend’s big win came in the special four-segment, 100-lap sprint to the checkered flag. It’s a whole different deal this weekend and calling the Coca-Cola 600 a marathon is about as spot on as it can get. It presents the biggest challenge we face each and every year and that’s especially true for me personally

"I’ve gotta figure out this race a little better than we have been and hopefully having Steve Addington in our camp this time around will be really helpful in doing just that," said Busch, whose best finish to date in the annual Memorial Day Weekend racing classic was the 11th he posted during his 2004 championship season. "I’ve seemed to always struggle in the Coke 600 before, but we’re really looking forward to it this time around. You have to figure out how to be at your very best at night under the lights. It’s a real marathon – 600 miles – out there and you have to stay on top of a continuously changing track. You really have to get your car handling well on the long runs. Then, you have to consider all those restarts that we’ll likely have as the race winds down. It’s definitely the biggest challenge that we face in our sport."

Busch knows that he has the ultimate task in front of him if he can pull off his first Coca-Cola 600 win. It would also be his first career top-five finish in the race. It would even be his first career top-10 finish in the race.

"It’s gonna be tough, that’s for sure, but there’s just this extra ‘oomph’ we seem to have going for us this time around," said Busch, currently ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings entering this weekend’s return to CMS. "Our performance in the Southern 500 at Darlington a few weeks back is really a source for the added confidence I have coming into this race. That race proved to me that we can be competitive at the end of these long races that end at night under the lights. Even though we finished third, it was our best-ever performance in that race. We were the strongest that we were all race long at the end and turned in our fastest laps when they counted the most."

Busch will definitely be bucking the odds if he can pull off the winning effort on Sunday at CMS. A look at the record book shows that the overall 21-race winner in the series has led a total of 174 laps spread out over four of his nine Coca-Cola 600 starts to date. Only two of those laps led came during the final 100 laps of the 400-lap battle and he has yet to lead a single lap during the final 100 miles (67 laps) of any Coca-Cola 600.

Busch is approaching this weekend’s challenge as truly a marathon event, hoping to personally save his best for last.

"It’s the toughest race and you really want to give it your very best lap after lap," said Busch, who has a 20.9 average finish in his nine career Coca-Cola 600 races to date. "But, maybe if you can leave a tenth out on the table here and there, the laps will seem to click by quicker. You won’t be so fatigued at half-way and still have the stamina you need for the final portion of the race. There have been plenty of times where I’ve had really good cars during the day and I don’t get all the way to the end and be able to race them hard. Hopefully, we’re able to put that whole race together there this weekend."

Busch, Addington and crew were still debating at press time which car they would be using to wage battle with at CMS this weekend. "The car we raced there last weekend was just so strong; we’re looking at fixing her up and bringing her back," Busch said on Monday night of the team’s "PRS-702" Miller Lite Dodge Charger. "We had some pretty substantial body damage done to the right side, but there’s still a slight chance we’ll bring that car back. If we don’t, we have a brand new Miller Lite Dodge (the "PRS-728") ready to take over there."

Regardless of which car the team brings, it will again carry the striking Miller Lite "Vortex" color scheme that was a hot topic of conversation for the fans and insiders alike at CMS last weekend. "It’s such a cool-looking car," said Busch. "It’s incredible as to how favorably all the fans, the media and even the guys in the garage area have responded to this version of our Miller Lite Dodge. It brought us some very good fortune last weekend and we’re hoping we can take that Vortex bottle ride back to Victory Lane there on Sunday."

From TRPR Kurt Busch Press Release

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