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Busch set for 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup start

Posted Thursday, Apr 16, 2009, 2:43 pm in Employee News

The tricky 1-mile oval of Phoenix International Raceway welcomes the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend for the Subway Fresh Fit 500.

The event is the eighth of 36 events on the NASCAR regular-season schedule. With the elimination of testing at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks this season, this weekend’s event at Phoenix has created additional interest as drivers will be competing on a 1-mile oval for the first time in 2009.

All seven Dodge Chargers are guaranteed spots in the field of 43 for Saturday night’s event. Two Dodge drivers (Kurt Busch—third and Kasey Kahne 10th) are currently inside the coveted top 12 in Sprint Cup points after seven races. The top 12 after the first 26 events will compete for the season championship in the final 10 races of the season.

Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) will reach a milestone this weekend with his 300th Sprint Cup start during a 10-year career. In 299 starts, Busch has amassed 19 wins, 63 top-five and 119 top-10 finishes. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion is eager to return to the desert in quest of his second win of the season for team owner Roger Penske.

“I can’t think of any track that would be more appropriate for us to be celebrating our 300th race than out in the desert at Phoenix,” Busch said. “There are just so many reasons for me saying that. It’s really cool that’s the way it turned out, that we’d be running in such a significant race during my career on the Phoenix track.”

And what about making his 300th career start?

“It’s pretty hard to believe that I’ll be taking the green flag for the 300th Cup race of my career there in Phoenix on Saturday night,” said Busch, who will be making his 13th Sprint Cup start at Phoenix. “It’s certainly true that time passes by so fast. We’re hoping to make such a huge personally historical race a memorable one and for all the right reasons.”

Kasey Kahne(No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) will be making his 10th career start at Phoenix this weekend. In nine previous outings, Kahne has one top-five and three top-10 finishes.

“PIR is a track that I haven’t really run that well at,” Kahne said. “We’ve kind of been up-and-down there. I feel like this year, with where we’re at right now and the gains that we’ve made in the last month, Phoenix will be another track where we can run pretty well.”

Other notes

AJ Allmendinger(No. 44 Charter Communications Dodge Charger) will be making his second-career start at Phoenix. Allmendinger finished 16th in his first race at Phoenix last fall. He is currently 20th in Sprint Cup driver points.

David Stremme(No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger) has one top-10 in four career starts at Phoeni.

Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger) started on the outside of the front row at last year’s spring event at Phoenix.

Reed Sorenson (No. 43 Auto Value Dodge Charger) has six career starts at Phoenix with a best finish of 15th.

Sam Hornish Jr.(No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) made his Sprint Cup debut at Phoenix. The track also was the site of his first IndyCar Series win.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings(Top 12 after 7 of 36 races)
1. Jeff Gordon 1,154 points
2. Jimmie Johnson 992
3. Kurt Busch (Dodge) 974
4. Clint Bowyer 967
5. Tony Stewart 963
6. Denny Hamlin 938
7. Kyle Busch 914
8. Carl Edwards 889
9. Matt Kenseth 864
10. Kasey Kahne (Dodge) 851
11. David Reutimann 845
12. Jeff Burton 835

What you need to know

The Race: Subway Fresh Fit 500
The Place: Phoenix International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, April 18
The Time: 8:30 p.m. (ET)

The Track: 1-mile oval
The Distance: 312 laps/501 kilometers
TV: Fox, 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Radio: Sirius Satellite Radio
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