The Chase Begins! Kurt Busch Finishes Fifth At Dover

busch.jpgKurt Busch and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team backed up a sixth-place finish at New Hampshire last week in the first of 10 races in the Chase for the Championship with a sterling effort Sunday at Dover International Speedway, finishing fifth in the AAA 400.

The performance moves Busch up one spot to fourth in the Chase standings, just 70 points behind leader Mark Martin. AJ Allmendinger and Kasey Kahne also drove Dodge Chargers to top-10 finishes in the 400-lap event on the one-mile, high-banked concrete oval. Allmendinger was seventh in the No. 44 Super 8 Dodge while Kahne was right behind in eight in the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge. It was Allmendinger’s best finish since a seventh at Infineon, 12 races ago…

Busch started 16th, but had moved to 10th by lap 15. From there, the No. 2 Dodge was never out of the top 10. Busch led twice for 99 laps and his over-the-wall crew performed flawlessly on pit road.

“It was a really good run for our Miller Lite Dodge, ” Busch said. “We put it up front most of the day and put ourselves in position (to win). A couple of guys were quicker than us at the end. We wanted to come and get tires (during the last caution). It’s a tough call. You want to go for the win, but at the same time, you’ve got to get a good solid finish. So, we decided to stay out and hang on. I’m proud of my guys. We had excellent pit stops. It was a nice solid day for us. The track got rubbered in and when it did, we were tight on corner exit. Tight on corner exit slows the car on the straightaway. If we can tweak that, we’ll be after them. The Miller Lite Dodge was solid. I felt like we had a nice rhythm today. All in all, a good run for our Dodge.”

Kahne’s Dodge started sixth and raced in the top five early before handling issues dropped the No. 9 outside the top 15. Crew Chief Kenny Francis and the crew found the remedy to put Kahne in position to rally back. He moved from 16th to eighth in the final 40 laps.

“Our Budweiser Dodge was pretty decent today, ” said Kahne. “We battled all day and I’m proud of all my guys for their effort. We struggled a bit with the splitter hitting the ground. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and the guys dug all day trying to get us a top-10 finish and we did. We struggled a bit on pit lane today which is unusual for our Budweiser guys. We didn’t pick up as many spots in the Chase that we would have liked, but we performed well and didn’t lose any ground. There’s plenty of racing left in the Chase and we’re going to give the guys in front of us everything we’ve got.”

Allmendinger started 19th, but once he worked his way into the top 15 by lap 60, he never fell out. A late stop for four tires provided the catalyst for a top-10 finish.

“Our Super 8 Dodge was really good today, ” said Allmendinger. “I thought everyone on the 44 team was awesome today. Hopefully, we can run strong like this in the final eight races to show everyone what kind of team that we have. It was a smooth day. The conditions were tough today. At one point, it felt like the water was seeping up through the racetrack, it was so slick out there. We just kept fighting. With 25 laps to go, we just took a guess at what changes we wanted to make and it seemed to work. We were just a little bit loose all day. I’m just proud of everybody.”

The race was stopped for just over 23 minutes following a six-car mishap on lap 31. None of the drivers were injured including rookie Joey Logano whose race car rolled seven times before coming to stop. There were a total of nine cautions for 38 laps.

Driver Team Finished:
Kurt Busch No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge 5th
AJ Allmendinger No. 44 Super 8 Dodge 7th
Kasey Kahne No. 9 Budweiser Dodge 8th
Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge 26th
David Stremme No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge 29th
Elliott Sadler No. 19 Geek Squad Dodge 30th
Reed Sorenson No. 43 Valvoline Dodge 35th

Driver Rank Starts Points Behind Wins Poles T5s T10s
Kurt Busch 4 28 5400 -75 1 0 8 16
Kasey Kahne 12 28 5211 -189 2 0 5 11
AJ Allmendinger 24 28 2689 -2711 0 0 1 4
Elliott Sadler 25 28 2631 -2769 0 0 1 4
Sam Hornish Jr. 27 28 2571 -2829 0 0 1 3
Reed Sorenson 28 28 2503 -2897 0 0 0 1
David Stremme 31 28 2444 -2956 0 0 0 0

(Second Of 10 Races In The Chase)
Pos. Driver Points Behind
1. Mark Martin 5, 400 —
2. Jimmie Johnson 5, 390 -10
3. Juan P. Montoya 5, 335 -65
4. Kurt Busch 5, 325 -75
5. Tony Stewart 5, 294 -106
6. Denny Hamlin 5, 292 -108
7. Ryan Newman 5, 290 -110
8. Jeff Gordon 5, 278 -122
9. Greg Biffle 5, 262 -138
10. Brian Vickers 5, 249 -151
11. Carl Edwards 5, 247 -153
12. Kasey Kahne 5, 211 -189

AAA 400 Results
Dover International Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009
Race 28 of 36
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Mark Martin
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Juan Pablo Montoya
5. Kurt Busch
6. Jeff Gordon
7. AJ Allmendinger
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Tony Stewart
10. Ryan Newman
(Other Dodge Drivers)
26. Sam Hornish Jr.
29. David Stremme
30. Elliott Sadler
35. Reed Sorenson

— 30 —


  • MoparzRule
    Posted September 28, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    You have to win the championship Kurt, I can’t take it if Jimmy Johnson wins a fourth one. Do it for all of the NASCAR fans that are fed up. Thanks, Kurt and good luck!

  • colors
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    So what is the last high impact color you are going to offer the Challengers in? Since we pay an extra 10 grand more than the Camaro, we should get them in any color that we want. SUBLIME!

  • MoparBob
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    So long Mike, and good rid-dins…

    Changes at Dodge/Chrysler: Chrysler’s new Italian management has once again shaken up the automaker’s executive team, announcing the departure of two recently appointed brand CEOs and splitting the Dodge brand into two groups, one focusing on trucks and the other on cars. The moves, announced Monday, marked the second management shake-up since Fiat Group SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne took control of Chrysler on June 10 when it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Peter Fong, president and CEO of the Chrysler brand and the company’s top sales executive, and Michael Accavitti, president and CEO of the Dodge brand, abruptly left the company, Fong for personal reasons and Accavitti to pursue other interests, Chrysler said in a statement.
    Chrysler sales spokesman Gualberto Ranieri would not comment when asked if the departures were related to Chrysler’s sales performance. Chrysler said that it would split the Dodge brand into truck and car groups. The truck group will be led by Fred Diaz Jr., who previously ran the company’s Denver business center. The Ram brand consists of the company’s new Ram pickup trucks, as well as its commercial vehicles. Diaz also will take over as lead sales executive in the U.S. for the Chrysler Group organization.
    Vice President of Design Ralph Gilles will take over leadership of the Dodge car brand, which includes minivans, in addition to his current design responsibilities, the company said. The two men replace Accavitti, who resigned to pursue other interests, Chrysler said. Accavitti was appointed to head Dodge by Marchionne in June when Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11.
    The company also said Fong resigned for personal reasons, and he was replaced by an executive from Fiat, Oliver Francois, as Chrysler brand president and CEO. Francois served as head of the Lancia brand, Chrysler said in a statement.(Michigan Live). No word how this could affect Dodge’s involvement with NASCAR. Also see articles at the Orlando Sentinel and Detroit News.(10-5-2009)

  • HEMIhead
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Mike Accavitti is gone. Surprise Surprise.
    Did’nt see that comming. Go back and read his letter in an earlier post. I bet he has different thoughts on the subject now.

  • MoparzRule
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Do you think the new management team will be more receptive to offering more high impact colors? They would double their sales in a month. Sublime and Plum Crazy, now! Thanks.

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