Car number: 2 • Manufacturer: Dodge • Sponsor: Miller Lite
Owner: Roger Penske
• Team: Penske Racing South
• Crew Chief: Roy McCauley
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images
Final Points Standing
After First 26 Races
Lead Lap Finishes
2007 Spin Kurt Busch seemed to make a smooth transition into the seat left vacant by Rusty Wallace last season. Questions surrounding whether the Busch/Penske Project would be a potent pairing or self-destruct surfaced midway through the year. As is usually the case when the media runs with a story, the end result was anticlimactic.
Put simply, this was a 16th-place team last season that should fall in that range once again. Busch is a top 10 wheelman who can hustle a top 10 car to the front. The problem lies in the Penske organization's continued aero woes. This group just cannot figure out the Charger. Now throw in the Car of Tomorrow - and the time, energy and expertise that will go into getting its setup right - and it's clear we're in for a repeat of last season.
Were Busch still at Roush, he'd adapt to the COT quite well. This organization, however, is a different story.
Busch and crew will be tough at Bristol (as always) and should be stout at Pocono, Daytona and on the road courses. Daytona is the real sleeper track here. He looked very strong last season in Penske sheet metal and always ran well there when at Roush.
A little communication with teammate Ryan Newman would go a long way. Any notion that Newman's let's-play-together problem with Rusty Wallace was due to personality differences is long gone. He's just not a good teammate, which hurts the entire organization. A few personality issues within the Miller Lite team don't help either.
It's hard to envision this team making up the ground it will take to contend for a championship. A couple wins and another mid-teen points finish is the best it can hope for.
2006 Recap The first 187 laps of the season were promising for Kurt Busch and his new Miller Lite team. He ran in tandem with teammate Ryan Newman and the leaders until Jamie McMurray spun him into the backstretch wall, ending his bid for a Daytona 500 crown.
The Dodge aero issues had Penske Racing South scratching its head through the three ensuing intermediate events, where Busch averaged a 23rd-place finish.
Then came Bristol. Busch took checkers in Thunder Valley for his fifth win in 10 races. However, more intermediate tracks awaited and the team once again slumped, falling as low as 19th in the point standings.
A mid-summer upswing followed. Busch moved up to as high as 12th in the standings on the strength of seven top-12 runs in eight races. Watkins Glen was stolen from him after he was penalized on a judgment call by NASCAR in a race he clearly had in the bag. He was rarely heard from again, averaging a 22.4-place finish over the season's final 14 events.
• The Good: The win at Bristol was the glaring bright spot in the season. Kurt Busch had to fight for the win, leading only 33 laps after Tony Stewart dominated the race.
• The Bad: There were a lot of bad on-track performances, but the worst may have been the victory snow angels. Maybe he should start climbing catchfences - oh, wait...
• The Ugly: Two wrecks in the first nine laps at Homestead were not the way to finish an already subpar season. Whether he was not focused, not prepared or was just a victim of bad luck, he may have been better off staying at home.