Could Kurt Busch Compete The Memorial Day Trifecta?

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch has competed in 17 Coca-Cola 600s at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He finished an impressive sixth in the 2014 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. All that’s left is the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco and he will have the Memorial Day weekend trifecta.

The latter iconic race might be rather difficult, but Busch may take in the Monaco circuit in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup when he retires. If it sounds strange, did anyone see Busch’s performance in the 2014 Indianapolis 500? Anything is possible.

While Busch will be watching Monaco and Indianapolis, his focus Sunday will be the longest race of 2018 season – a 600-mile, 400-lap affair that has been contested since 1960.

Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has had some success at Charlotte as he started second and led 252 of 400 laps there en route to his 22nd NASCAR Cup Series victory on May 30, 2010.

He held off a hard-charging Jamie McMurray to score his only points-paying victory at the 1.5-mile oval. He won the non-points-paying NASCAR All-Star Race the week before, becoming just the seventh driver to win both events in the same year.

Along with the victory, Busch has seven points-paying top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at Charlotte.

Busch finished 18th in last weekend’s Monster Energy All-Star Race, but a Coca-Cola 600 win after finishing 18th in the All-Star Race has happened before. Casey Mears finished 18th in the 2007 All-Star Race, then came back one week later to score a win in the Coca-Cola 600.

A triumph Sunday would put Busch in elite company with drivers Richard Petty, Fred Lorenzen, Neil Bonnett, Jim Paschal, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick as a two-time Coca-Cola 600 winner. And it would give Ford its first Coca-Cola 600 win since 2002.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about the Coca-Cola 600.  

“It’s a big, marquee event. There’s The Masters, the Grand Slams in tennis – there are those big marquee events and this is one of them for us here in NASCAR. Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect on our military and to give thanks and honor those who have served. It’s also a huge weekend of motorsports and the platform of motorsports shines because of Monaco, Indy, and Charlotte. And when you have a chance to be the last guy standing at the end of that weekend with a trophy in your hands, it’s big. It’s a huge event to win.”

 

What do you remember about competing in the 2014 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race?

“The action, the atmosphere and the people of Indiana love their racetrack. The Kentucky Derby is a few weeks before and that’s a chance for the horse racing people to be recognized. And that’s what I saw at Indianapolis. The people of Indiana have their track on a global world stage for the day. And everyone is proud of their track. The electricity, the atmosphere, the pageantry and then after all that, to take the green flag and go into turn one three wide, I’d never done that before in my life. And it’s like you snap into race mode. We’ve got 500 miles to do. And it was an incredible day that I will never forget.”

 

You’ve done Charlotte and Indy. Is Monaco next?

“There is that chance, but the clock is ticking on me (laughs). I look at Formula One as something I’ll never be able to do, but there are some support series – the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is one. It’d be great to get on track at Monaco but, if I can’t, it’d be great to get on a boat in Monaco or on top of an apartment building in Monaco to experience the race.”

 

Talk about the 2010 Coca-Cola 600, when you had such a dominant car.

“Well, to start, we just missed out on the pole. That’s one thing that sticks in my mind. You know how racers are – we want to win them all. That race, we were so good in the daytime that I was afraid of what was going to happen when the sun went down and the track started to change and how the race would play out. I mean, you never really have a good car at the beginning and have it stay underneath you for the nighttime. It’s just the way you’ve always seen that race play out. But that car was that good. It was what we saw with it in the All-Star Race the week before. It was fast during both of those weekends. So it’s amazing how you can stumble across little things that make all of the difference in the world. Again, I was leading the beginning of the race just pacing myself. The car was so good in the daytime and I literally thought we would end up a lap down at night because cars never stay the same as the race goes on. But it worked out and we got the win in the 600.”

Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 13 of 36 –  Coca-Cola 600 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

 

Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation Ford Fusion

 

PR Contact: Dakota Hunter, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388, ext. 813, Dakota.Hunter@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Billy Scott
Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida
Car Chief: Tony Cardamone
Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples
Hometown: Hudson, Illinois

 

Spotter: Tony Raines
Hometown: LaPorte, Indiana

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois
Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Jewell, Iowa
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:

Truck Driver: Larry Lush and Tim Hussey

Hometowns: Waynesville, North Carolina and Asheboro, North Carolina

Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire
Hometown: Palmyra, New York
Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn
Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut
Engineers: Scott Bingham andWilliam Lee
Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Mechanic: Nick McIntosh
Hometown: Harve, Montana

 

Mechanic: Joe Zanolini
Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania
Charlotte Notes of Interest:
· The Coca-Cola 600 will mark Kurt Busch’s 625th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 36th at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Busch has one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 624 laps, has an average starting position of 19.1, an average finish of 17.7 and has completed 92.3 percent (11,555 of 12,525) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 23 poles, 133 top-fives, 264 top-10s and 9,094 laps led in 624 starts.

 

· His most recent Cup Series win came 48 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).

 

· His last Cup Series pole came six races ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth(April 6).

 

· Previous Winner – Busch started second and led 252 of 400 laps at Charlotte en route to his 22nd NASCAR Cup Series victory on May 30, 2010. Busch held off a hard-charging Jamie McMurray to score his only points-paying victory at Charlotte. He won the non-points-paying NASCAR All-Star Race the week before, becoming just the seventh driver to win both races in the same year.

 

· The Las Vegas native has 23 career NASCAR Cup Series poles. Busch has never won a pole at Charlotte. His best start there is second, where he has started three times (October 2005, and May 2010 and 2013).

 

· In two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte, Busch has a best finish of second in May 2006.

 

· 9,000 and counting – By leading 98 laps in the April race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, Busch became just the 21st driver to lead 9,000 laps in his NASCAR career. He is currently six laps shy of 9,100.

 

· Get to the Points – With his eighth-place finish two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Busch is fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 393 points. He has two top-fives, six top-10s and nine top-15s in 12 races.

 

· Busch has been in the top-10 in points for six consecutive weeks. The last time he was in the top-10 for six consecutive weeks was at the end of the 2016 season, when he was in the top-10 for the last eight weeks.

 

· Kurt Busch finished 18th in last weekend’s Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte. The last driver to finish 18th in the All-Star race and win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte the next week was Casey Mears in May 2007.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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