Kurt Busch Is Prepared And Focused On Indy

Kurt Busch

 

The opportunity to be a spectator at any major sporting event can be an awe-inspiring occasion. Surrounded by tens of thousands of like-minded fans cheering for a common goal creates an adrenaline-filled experience for competitors and spectators alike. Elite events such as the Super Bowl and the World Series inspire an even more electric atmosphere for the simple reason that they are historic.

 

Now, take that major sporting event and place it on the hallowed grounds of one of the world’s most revered venues and the atmosphere becomes more than just a game. It’s a moment in time. While a handful of such venues have fallen by the wayside, many older venues continue to thrive in the modern sports world. A simple Google search yields a variety of lists featuring some of the nation’s most storied locations. From Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, these historic sites could be considered national landmarks for what they have meant to sports history and the competitive landscape that fans know today.

 

Certainly a fixture in most all listings of top historic sports venues is Indianapolis Motor Speedway – site of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The famed, 2.5-mile oval has been in existence for more than 100 years and has hosted more than 250 races since 1909. For most of its existence, Indianapolis had been a track for open-wheel racecars, but that changed when the Sprint Cup Series began contesting its annual Brickyard 400 there in 1994.

 

Driver Kurt Busch competed in his first Brickyard 400 during his rookie season in 2001. An avid sports fan himself, the significance of competing at Indianapolis is not lost on the 2004 Sprint Cup champion. Having been to Indianapolis as both a competitor and a fan, the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) understands the importance of being able to compete at the iconic facility.

 

Busch has made 15 career starts at Indianapolis and scored his best result there during his very first Indy start, finishing fifth after starting 34th in 2001. He has scored a total of five top-10 finishes during that 15-year stretch and has been running at the end of all but two races – the first in 2002 when he was sidelined due to an accident, the other in 2012 when his day ended prematurely due to an engine failure.

 

Busch’s experience at Indianapolis isn’t limited to just to competition at the speedway – be it in NASCAR, IndyCar or otherwise. He’s sat in the stands as a fan, taking in the sights and sounds from the other side of the fence, watching the famed Indianapolis 500. In 2014, he added his name to the list alongside only three other drivers who have attempted “The Double” – racing in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. In an Indy car fielded by Andretti Autosport, Busch finished an impressive sixth, earning Indy 500 rookie of the year honors. After completing all 500 miles at Indy, Busch jetted off to Concord, North Carolina to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 that evening at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He raced competitively but, 271 laps into the longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule, engine problems sent Busch to the garage 129 laps short of the race distance. In all, Busch completed 906.5 miles, leaving Tony Stewart, co-owner with Gene Haas at SHR, as the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles in the grueling feat. Robby Gordon and John Andretti are the only other drivers to attempt The Double on the same day.

 

A win at the Brickyard this weekend would not only give Busch’s page of history at the 2.5-mile speedway a little more prestige, it would do so in fantastic fashion as the driver of the Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet is looking to finally score a win at Indianapolis and kiss the famed “Yard of Bricks” in celebration.

 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Give us your thoughts on heading to Indianapolis this weekend.

“Indianapolis has been tough on me over the years. I don’t know what it is about it. The diamond-cut surface, the way that the asphalt is very fresh when we first get there and then how it glazes over and gets slick at the end. I have struggled with that over the years. Just got to pace ourselves and find the right combination that will give us the grip once the track is rubbered in.”

 

What makes Indy so iconic?

“Indy is Indy. It is the coolest racetrack that we get to race on, other than Daytona. The history, the prestige, the value of Indianapolis – it is defined by the number of decades they have produced races there and the atmosphere. It’s very electric at Indianapolis. For me to actually get to run the Indy 500 in the month of May is a little different than when we race there in July-August because of the fact it is their backyard, it is their stage. Those Indiana natives love their track. What makes Indy special is the people.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 20 of 36 – Brickyard 400 – Indianapolis

Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet

 

Teammates: Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevrolet SS

At-Track PR Contact: Rory Connellan, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 811, Rory.Connellan@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Tony Gibson
Hometown: Daytona Beach, Florida
Car Chief: Chad Haney
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia
Engine Builder: Hendrick Motorsports
Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina
Engine Specialist: Stephen Raynor
Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Spotter: Rick Carelli
Hometown: Denver
Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois
Second Gas Man: Justin Wilson
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Front Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Holland, Michigan
Windshield: Jay Guarneri (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Naples, Florida
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Rear Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Todd Cable and Rocky Boggs
Hometowns: Shelby, North Carolina, and Burlington, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Jeff Zarrella
Hometown: Southington, Connecticut
Shock Specialist: Brian Holshouser
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Engineers: Johnny Klausmeier and Mike Cook
Hometowns: Perry Hall, Maryland, and Annapolis, Maryland
Mechanic: Shawn Warren
Hometown: Concord, North Carolina
Mechanic: Andy Spenner
Hometown: Hoyleton, Illinois
Chassis No. 973
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 973 in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Built new for 2016, Chassis 973 debuted at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May, when Busch finished third. It was scheduled to race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta earlier this month, but Busch was forced to a backup car after making contact with the outside retaining wall in final practice. Since then, Chassis No. 973 has been repaired in preparation for this weekend’s Brickyard 400.

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 28 wins, 21 poles, 122 top-five finishes and 237 top-10s in 559 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Brickyard 400at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His most recent Sprint Cup win came June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
  • The 23rd Annual Brickyard 400 will mark Busch’s 16th career Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis. Busch has one top-five finish and five top-10s at the 2.5-mile oval. Additionally, the 37-year-old driver has an average starting position of 16.3, an average finish of 19.2, and has completed 91.6 percent (2,202 of 2,405) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Indianapolis is one of 10 racetracks of the 23 on the Sprint Cup circuit where Busch has never captured a Sprint Cup pole. Busch’s best starting position is third, where he started in 2006. His best finish of fifth came during his rookie season in 2001. Busch started 34th that day.
  • Doubling Up at Indy – Busch’s 2014 season wasn’t all about NASCAR. Busch did what only three other drivers have attempted – competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. In an Indy car fielded by Andretti Autosport, Busch finished an impressive sixth, earning Indy 500 rookie of the year honors. After completing all 500 miles at Indy, Busch jetted off to Concord, North Carolina to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 that evening at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He raced competitively, but 271 laps into the longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule, engine problems sent Busch to the garage 129 laps short of the race distance. In all, Busch completed 906.5 miles, leaving Tony Stewart, co-owner with Gene Haas at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), as the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles in the grueling trek known as “The Double.” Robby Gordon and John Andretti are the only other drivers to attempt The Double.
  • Thus Far in 2016 – Busch has accumulated one win, two poles, five top-five finishes and is tied with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Kevin Harvick for a series-leading 15 top-10s in 19 starts. Busch is also the only driver to have completed every lap this season.
  • Get to the Points – Busch enters Indianapolis third in the Sprint Cup driver standings, 34 points behind series leader and SHR teammate Harvick. With his win at Pocono in June, Busch and his No. 41 team are virtually locked into the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Busch will make his 10th career and fourth consecutive appearance in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff.
  • SHR at Indianapolis – In 19 overall starts at Indianapolis, SHR-prepared Chevrolets have earned one win (Ryan Newman in 2013), two poles, five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 144 laps, and have completed 98.4 percent of the laps contested (3,007 of 3,056).
  • SHR in 2016 – 19 races into the 2016 season, SHR’s four Sprint Cup entries have recorded three wins, two poles, 17 top-five finishes and 36 top-10s. SHR Chevrolets have completed 21,608 of 22,012 laps contested, and collectively have led 1,105 laps.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.