CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chrysler's auto sales may have fallen 44% last month, but NASCAR driver Kurt Busch is giving the beleaguered company something to cheer about.

Busch's recent victory in the Kobalt Tools 500 -- a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- provided a lift to the maker of the Dodge he was driving.

For Chrysler workers "up there in Michigan, I was hoping to give them the peace of mind to know their Dodge product is out there winning, just to ease the pain for a moment," Busch said in an interview with

Kurt Busch celebrates recent victory.

And for potential customers, "the old cliché is 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday,' and the impact we like to make on our race fans is to mention to people that this (car) helped me to get to victory lane and it was a good-handling car," he said.

"If that doesn't inspire anybody to go out and buy a Dodge Charger, I don't know what will," Busch said. He had said those same words on Fox TV immediately after the race, which was the No. 1 sporting event of the March 7 weekend, with 6.2 million households tuned in.

That comment thrilled Mike Accavitti, director of brand marketing for Chrysler. "After all the time he spent in that car, Kurt got out and gave one of the best product endorsements I've ever seen any driver give," Accavitti says. The immediate results included a spike in traffic at as well as calls or emails to Accavitti from about 50 Chrysler dealers.

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