Kurt 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 Allmendingers 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). Its a tough call. You want to go for the win, but at the same time, youve got to get a good solid finish. So, we decided to stay out and hang on. Im 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, well 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.
Kahnes 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 Im 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 didnt pick up as many spots in the Chase that we would have liked, but we performed well and didnt lose any ground. Theres plenty of racing left in the Chase and were going to give the guys in front of us everything weve 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. Im 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
NASCAR SPRINT CUP CHASE STANDINGS
(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
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