Busch Brings Momentum to Phoenix

Kurt Busch

"Speedweeks 2011 was huge for us and just a super way of kicking off our relationship with Shell-Pennzoil." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Kurt Busch put together a solid Speedweeks and looks to take that momentum to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend for Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500.
 
After winning the Bud Shootout and his Gatorade Duel Busch came home fifth in the Daytona 500 to cap an impressive performance at Daytona International Speedway.

“I realize that our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team had a tremendous Daytona Speed Weeks and we all are coming out of here with our heads held high,” Busch said. “Steve (Addington, crew chief) and the guys were all just incredible the whole time we have been in Daytona. Our Penske Racing Team certainly did their homework during the off-season and it paid big dividends. My hat goes off to everyone in the body shop, to the guys over in the engine department, our engineering group and all the support crew.”
 
Busch and company had hoped to come out strong to start the season and give new sponsor Shell/Pennzoil a potential place in history.

“We really wanted to claim that big chunk of racing history, but we came up just a little short,” said Busch, who finally cracked into the winner’s column in restrictor-plate competition but left Daytona still looking for his first points-paying plate race win after 41 career attempts. “Speedweeks 2011 was huge for us and just a super way of kicking off our relationship with Shell-Pennzoil, Coca-Cola and all the great sponsors we have supporting our ‘Double-Deuce’ Dodge team.”
 
But Busch also realizes that the preparation and performance for Speedweeks doesn’t carry over the rest of the season, which in his mind goes into high gear with the weekend’s trip to Phoenix.

“We’ve had a lot of success and fun at Daytona this time around, but like I told them, ‘the real season starts right now,’” said Busch, who left Daytona fourth in the Sprint Cup points after the first of 36 races has been put into the record books. “It’s kind of like a football team starting off with two wins and a tie going into a new season. We’ve tasted success, but there could have been even more.”
 
Busch looks to put the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge at the front of the field at the tricky one-mile desert oval in Sunday’s race. The unique layout of PIR makes it both a challenge and a favorite for Busch.
 
“There isn’t another track like Phoenix on the circuit,” said Busch. “It’s flat like New Hampshire and has some characteristics like Loudon. But we went to New Smyrna Speedway in Florida to work on our short track program to try to find the right nuances for Phoenix.”
 
Addington believes the new Sprint Cup nosepiece which debuted at Daytona will have more of an impact at PIR than it did during Speedweeks.
 
“Yeh I saw how our cars handled when we tested,” Addington said. “It’s going to effect the travel of the car for sure and that’s why practice is going to be crucial once we get out to Phoenix to see how things really are going to be in race trim.”

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