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Kurt Busch turns up heat for Chase with California pole

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by Greg Cozzo
August 31, 2007

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Kurt Busch

FONTANA, Calif. – Triple digit temperatures didn’t melt Kurt Busch’s momentum heading into the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, by winning his 10th career pole as the #2 Miller Lite Dodge ran a fast lap of 39.474, 182.399 mph for the Sharp AQUOS 500 this Sunday at California Speedway.

Busch spoke about the team having an interesting dilemma in preparing for the weekend at California Speedway. Traditionally, teams normally would bring similar race cars that also competed at California’s sister track, Michigan International Speedway:

“It has a little less banking than most tracks. I guess drivers would consider this a flat track. It prompted us to use our Pocono race winning car that has more of a flat-track style set up with the way the downforce is balanced on the car.”

This is Busch’s third pole and sixth top-10 start in 11 races at California Speedway.

“It was just a strong day across the board. We put in a great effort” Johnson spoke about having Busch edged out the California native by just .001, who considers California Speedway the home track for the 2006 Nextel Cup Champion. It Johnson’s 16th top-10 start in 2007 – one behind Series leader Denny Hamlin.

Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 14th top-10 start in 2007 and his sixth in eight California races where he is not only the defending race champion, but also leads all drivers with an average finish of 7.7. “We keep qualifying good. We just have to work on our setup for Sunday night. Hopefully, we can figure it out and have a great race Sunday night.”

Toyota continues to make strides in their NASCAR Cup program as Team Red Bull’s Brian Vickers (17th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the Sunday field on their qualifying time. Teammate A J Allmendinger (18th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.

The day did not go so well for fellow rookie Juan Pablo Montoya who suffered engine failure immediately after taking the green flag for qualifying. Montoya is secured a spot in the field as he currently sits 18th in Series points.

While capturing the pole at California Speedway does not always translate to success by weekend’s end. In the 14 previous NASCAR Nextel Cup races at California Speedway, the best starting position by a winner was third (twice). Drivers from as far back as 24th, 25th, and 31st have also earned checkered flags.

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 182.398 39.474 Leader
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Jimmie Johnson Foundation 182.394 39.475 -0.001
3 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 182.020 39.556 -0.082
4 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Kodak think: 181.415 39.688 -0.214
5 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Cheez-It / CARQUEST 181.342 39.704 -0.230
6 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 181.333 39.706 -0.232
7 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 181.132 39.750 -0.276
8 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 180.818 39.819 -0.345
9 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Express 180.805 39.822 -0.348
10 16 Greg Biffle Ford Aflac 180.605 39.866 -0.392
11 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Totino's Pizza Rolls 180.596 39.868 -0.394
12 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 180.542 39.880 -0.406
13 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 180.542 39.880 -0.406
14 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 180.533 39.882 -0.408
15 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing 180.338 39.925 -0.451
16 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont Cromax Pro 180.185 39.959 -0.485
17 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 180.144 39.968 -0.494
18 84 A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota Red Bull 180.085 39.981 -0.507
19 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot Worklife Rewards 179.937 40.014 -0.540
20 15 Paul Menard* Chevrolet Johns Manville / Menards 179.856 40.032 -0.558
21 40 David Stremme Dodge Target 179.721 40.062 -0.588
22 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 179.502 40.111 -0.637
23 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 179.497 40.112 -0.638
24 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet DIRECTV 179.417 40.130 -0.656
25 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 179.332 40.149 -0.675
26 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft 179.305 40.155 -0.681
27 36 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 360 OTC 179.207 40.177 -0.703
28 00 David Reutimann* Toyota Burger King 179.202 40.178 -0.704
29 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 179.024 40.218 -0.744
30 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 178.904 40.245 -0.771
31 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target / Memorex 178.824 40.263 -0.789
32 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Best Buy 178.594 40.315 -0.841
33 6 David Ragan* Ford AAA Insurance 178.576 40.319 -0.845
34 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 178.545 40.326 -0.852
35 7 Robby Gordon Ford Original Roadhouse Grill / Jim Beam 178.372 40.365 -0.891
36 17 Matt Kenseth Ford R+L Carriers 178.297 40.382 -0.908
37 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Snickers Generation Max 178.258 40.391 -0.917
38 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Sharp AQUOS / 3M Vikuiti 178.024 40.444 -0.970
39 45 Kyle Petty+ Dodge Wells Fargo 176.796 40.725 -1.251
40 01 Aric Almirola+ Chevrolet U.S. Army 175.204 41.095 -1.621
41 70 Johnny Sauter+ Chevrolet Haas Automation 174.757 41.200 -1.726
42 42 Juan Montoya+* Dodge Wrigley's Big Red - - -
43 49 John Andretti Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 178.722 40.286 -0.812
Did Not Qualify
44 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Sears Auto Center / Valvoline / Stanley 178.709 40.289 -0.815
45 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet Lucas Oil / State Water Heaters 177.993 40.451 -0.977
46 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 177.405 40.585 -1.111

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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