Officially Official: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ Busch to compete in Gatornationals

From NHRA.com

Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, will return to his drag racing roots during the 41st running of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals March 11-14 at historic Gainesville Raceway.

The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing is set to get behind the wheel of his rebuilt 1970 Dodge Challenger next weekend to compete against a field of between 70 and 90 veteran Super Gas racers who no doubt will be champing at the bit to line up against one of the biggest names in motorsports.

Busch will make a minimum of three time trial passes on Thursday March 11 and the field will return Friday morning to begin eliminations.

“Gainesville is one of the marquee events on the NHRA calendar and it’s a privilege to compete against the best Sportsman racers out there,” Busch said.

Busch bought the Dodge Challenger in 2008 and began the process of getting it into race shape in March of 2009.  The car is powered by a stroked 6.1 liter Hemi, weighs 3,000 pounds and puts out a 1,167 horsepower. While Busch feels at home behind the wheel of his Sprint Cup car he is aware that this will be a new and exciting environment for him.

“Sportsman racing is no different than any other type of racing, you need seat time.  I spent over 30 hours at Roy Hill’s drag racing school, and have had two tests in my own Challenger, but that’s nowhere compared to the seat time many of these guys have in their own cars.  We are going to go out there and do our best competing against these talented Sportsman racers,” Busch said.

Busch’s love affair with drag racing began back in the early 1990s when he met a pair of Las Vegas based NHRA racers, George Marnell, a Pro Stock racer, and Dave Bush (no relation), a Super Comp competitor. And when Kurt began driving in the Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing, he got to know NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon as both were sponsored by Miller Lite.

He got the idea to compete in an NHRA event after taking part in the opening night of zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., in September 2008 and one of the rare off-weekends in the NASCAR schedule coincided with next weekend’s 41st running of the prestigious Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.

For tickets for the 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, log on to www.ticketmaster.com or call 800-884-NHRA (6472).

About the author

James Lawrence

James started working on a Nostalgia Top Fuel drag racing team in 1992, and the rest has been history. A life-long automotive enthusiast, James is in fierce competition to see whether he can collect more cars or cats. Right now, the cars are winning. James co-founded the NMRA and NMCA Drag Racing Series in 1998 and continues to be an avid and passionate fan on everything 1320. He also thinks he can drive. Thinks, is the key word.
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