Busch Climbs aboard Crown Royal Multimatic Ford Ready for Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (February 4th, 2005) – Reigning NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch joined his Crown Royal team-mates in final practice today for his first laps this week in preparation for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

After testing his Ford Taurus NASCAR on the west coast during the week, Busch quickly adapted to the Crown Royal Multimatic Ford, setting the seventh fastest time in the morning practice session.

With the new Robert Yates-built Ford race engine now installed, Busch completed five laps in the morning practice session, before sharing the car with team-mates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle in the afternoon.

Multimatic test and development driver Scott Maxwell qualified the car 16th fastest yesterday with a time of 1:49.458.

“The guys in the Crown Royal car have done an outstanding job in the car this week and we are now ready for the race,” Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

“We haven’t put a mark on the car all week and Kurt was very pleased with the progress we have made with the car since the test day.

“The car is not as fast as we would like, but it is very driveable. It is important to work to our plan and not get too ‘racey’ out there. A lot can happen over the 24 hours.

“The Multimatic team has an outstanding history in running 24 hour races and I am confident we will put that experience to good use tomorrow.”

Multimatic won the first ever race for the Daytona Prototype class at the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team also won the 2000 LMP675 class at the 24 Hour of Le Mans.

The 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona will greet the green flag at 12.00 noon tomorrow.


Scott Maxwell

“Everything has gone very well this week with our preparation – all the guys have kept it on the road and learned a lot during the entire week. They have been asking questions all the time which is great. I don’t know whether I have all the answers but I am more than happy to help. This has been a busy weekend for me with the Mustang Grand-Am Cup program as well but I am certainly hopeful we can get another Multimatic car on the podium this weekend. If we keep our nose clean and stay out of trouble – anything can happen. There are a lot of cars out there this weekend, but I am confident we can finish strongly.”

Kurt Busch

“Everything with the Crown Royal car shook down great this morning – the engine felt strong and I was able to run competitive lap times straight away. It is now just a matter to working out what to do for 24 hours. That is where we will sit down with Scott Maxwell and the team about what to do and what to look out for. There are going to be Porsches and other GT cars out there so we have to work hard on keeping out of trouble but maintaining our pace. Jack Roush told me to run at my own pace and worry about where we are at the 23rd hour.”

Greg Biffle

“I got the best opportunity today to go out on new tires and found a lot of speed. I am really excited about the start of the race tomorrow – I really can’t wait. I feel like I am lot more prepared now for the race after a couple of days in the car and I now feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. Traffic has been a tough thing to cope with because the GT cars are so much slower and you don’t know which way they are going to go sometimes. You also don’t know who is in the car – whether the guy is quick or not. You really have to pay attention all the time in front of you and behind you at the same time through traffic.”

Matt Kenseth

“I am looking forward to getting started tomorrow. They changed engines for today and we seem to have a found a bit more speed in the Crown Royal car so I can’t wait. The engine certainly felt a little stronger today when I was scrubbing in tires. My game plan tomorrow is make laps and try not to run into anything or break anything. All the guys have been really working together well as a team. I am using the same seat insert as Greg because we are about the same size which is a help on the driver changes.”