|Kurt Busch finished fifth in the spring races at Dover (Del.) International Raceway, second at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and fifth at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
If he repeats those finishes, he should easily advance to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR playoffs. And he is off to a good start. He finished fifth at Dover in last weekend’s Round of 12 opener and now heads to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway sixth in the standings, 21 points ahead of the Round of 8 cutoff.
While he would like another second-place finish at Talladega this weekend, he would love to find victory lane in Alabama.
Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was runner-up to Joey Logano at the 2.66-mile oval in April, and he’s finished third there four times – April 2001, 2002 and 2007, and October 2006.
He’s won a restrictor-plate race before – the Daytona 500 in February 2017 on the high banks of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. And, he’s won at every other type of racetrack on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
From the shortest racetrack – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – to a road-course victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, to Daytona, Busch has found victory. He’s won on racetracks ranging in length from .526 of a mile, .533 of a mile, .75 of a mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles, 1.99 miles, 2 miles and 2.5 miles. He’s celebrated in victory lane at the high-banked ovals and flat tracks. He even won the championship in 2004.
Busch has won at 15 of the 23 racetracks on the Cup Series schedule, but Talladega is now his focus.
Talladega is one of only two racetracks on the NASCAR circuit where restrictor plates are used. By definition, a restrictor plate is a device installed at the air intake of an engine to limit its power. The use of a restrictor plate is intended to both limit speed and increase safety with an eye toward equaling the level of competition.
Races at Talladega and its sister track at Daytona are ones literally anyone can win. Horsepower-choked engines require drivers to draft together, side-by-side, at speeds approaching 200 mph.
The key point for Busch’s crew chief Billy Scott is to give his driver a good-handling racecar, while
Roush-Yates Engines must give Busch a Ford engine with a lot of horsepower.
And hopefully, score Busch a big playoff win.