Kurt Busch Is Looking For His Sixth Victory At Bristol

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, tying him with his younger brother Kyle and Jeff Gordon, interim driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, as the winningest active drivers at the .533-mile bullring heading into Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.

Kurt Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, earned his first career series win at Bristol in March 2002. It came in only his third outing there, making him the driver with the fewest starts at “Thunder Valley” to record his first win at the high-banked, concrete oval.

But the older Busch’s Bristol success didn’t stop there. He went on to win in three of his next four visits by sweeping both the March and August Sprint Cup races in 2003, and winning again in March 2004.

His incredible three-race win streak made him one of just four drivers to have accomplished the feat at Thunder Valley. Fred Lorenzen was the first, winning the fall race in 1963 and following that with a season sweep in 1964. Cale Yarborough is the second driver to record three straight wins – and he added a fourth for good measure – sweeping both the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Darrell Waltrip became the third to win three or more races in a row when he reeled off seven consecutive wins, sweeping the 1981, 1982 and 1983 seasons, and also winning the spring race in 1984.

Busch’s most recent win at Bristol came 10 year ago, in March 2006. It’s not to say he hasn’t had the runs that could have given him his sixth victory there, it’s just that circumstances have prevented him from sealing the deal. He came up just short when the series last visited Bristol in March, rebounding from a tough start to finish third.

With the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoffs just four races away, Busch and the Monster Energy/Haas Automation team are determined to race their way back to victory lane, and there’s no better place to do that than at Bristol this weekend. While there’s still plenty of racing left before the 16-driver field that will compete for the Sprint Cup championship will be locked in, Busch knows he will be one of them.

Already having scored a victory earlier this season, at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June, Busch now has accumulated enough points to mathematically guarantee a spot in the top-30 in the driver standings through the regular-season finale Sept. 10 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The 28-time Sprint Cup race winner will look to earn additional points for the postseason as the 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their point totals reset to 2,000 and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per win – earned prior to the start of the Chase.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Is there a sense of excitement for you when you think about Bristol?

“Yes. Bristol is one of those tracks I get a little extra pumped up for. For me, I think that feeling gets a little stronger when you’re talking about the night race at Bristol. There’s just something special about that race. I knew it before I ever made it to the big-league level of the Sprint Cup Series but, the first time I was able to experience the night race as a competitor, it’s almost indescribable. It’s a place that gives you a big adrenaline rush. You can literally feel the energy around the track from the competitors and the fans who are just excited for 500 laps of racing at Bristol. There’s really nothing quite like it.”

With the way Bristol has been the last few years, what has been the most difficult part?

“For me, the most challenging aspect is getting into those long, green-flag runs. It’s about being able to settle into a steady groove and making the best lap times you can. It’s tough at that place because it’s so fast for a short track and you can get dizzy there pretty quickly. It’s a physical track but it’s also mentally taxing, and you really have to be on your game when it comes to the concentration that is required to run well at Bristol.”

You earned your first Sprint Cup win at Bristol. You’ve got four wins in the spring race there and one in the night race. Talk about heading to Bristol.

“Bristol really seems to fit my driving style. Ever since they polished the outside groove, you have to wait for it to come in. But, when it comes in, it’s fast up there. So, I expect a lot of the fast cars to be up there on the high side.”

Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 23 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race – Bristol
Car No.: 41 – Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet

Teammates: Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS

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

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation 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. 933
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 933 in Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Built new for 2015, Chassis No. 933 debuted at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, when Busch finished 10th. It was next raced at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where Busch again finished 10th. Chassis No. 933 was utilized again at Charlotte in October, when Busch recorded a fifth-place finish. Chassis No. 933 made its first start of the 2016 season at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last month, when Busch scored a third-place finish. Chassis No. 933 was most recently utilized in May at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where Busch finished fifth after a tough day of obstacles.
Bristol Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 28 wins, 21 poles, 122 top-five finishes and 238 top-10s in 562 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts heading into Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. His most recent Sprint Cup win came June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
  • Busch scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win at Bristol in March 2002. He started 27th and led 89 laps en route to his first victory. It was only his third visit to the .533-mile, high-banked oval, making him the only driver to record his first win at Bristol in fewer than four attempts.
  • Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will mark Busch’s 32nd career Sprint Cup start at Bristol. Busch has one pole, five wins, nine top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the .533-mile concrete oval. Additionally, the 38-year-old driver has led 1,062 laps, has an average starting position of 17.6, an average finish of 14.1, and has completed 95.4 percent (14,817 of 15,527) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (August 2006) at Bristol. Busch has 21 career Sprint Cup poles.
  • Busch’s five Bristol wins (March 2002 and 2003, August 2003, March 2004 and 2006) tie him with his younger brother Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon as the winningest active Sprint Cup drivers at Bristol.
  • Busch completed the Bristol sweep in 2003, winning both the spring and fall Sprint Cup events. He started ninth and led 116 laps in March while starting fifth and leading 121 laps in August. In March 2004, Busch went on to record his third consecutive win at Bristol when he started 13th and led 119 laps on his way to victory lane.
  • Busch is one of four drivers to win three or more consecutive Sprint Cup races at Bristol. Fred Lorenzen won three in a row starting with the fall race in 1963, followed by a sweep of both 1964 events. Cale Yarborough won four in a row with sweeps in 1976 and 1977. Darrell Waltrip won seven in a row, including sweeps in 1981, 1982 and 1983, then a win at the March 1984 race.
  • Busch has led laps in 15 of his 31 career Sprint Cup starts at Bristol for a combined total of 1,062 laps led. Busch led 278 laps in March 2010 and finished third. He has led more than 100 laps four times, including three consecutive races – March 2003 (116), August 2003 (121) and March 2004 (119).
  • Thus Far in 2016 – Busch has accumulated one win, two poles, six top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 22 starts. By completing all 138 laps at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month, Busch has now set a NASCAR record for 100-percent lap completion through 22 races, eclipsing the 20-race streak that Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted in 2012. Busch also has an overall streak of 25 consecutive races of finishing on the lead lap, the best streak since Carl Edwards had a 28-race streak from July 2015 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta through May 2016 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
  • Get to the Points – With his 11th-place finish when the Sprint Cup Series last raced at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International two weekends ago, Busch enters Bristol third in the Sprint Cup driver standings.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Bristol – In 42 previous Sprint Cup races at Bristol, SHR has posted one pole, five top-fives and 14 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 525 laps, and have completed 97.3 percent of the laps contested (20,499 of 21,062).
  • SHR in 2016 – 22 races into the 2016 season, SHR’s four Sprint Cup entries have recorded three wins, two poles, 20 top-five finishes and 41 top-10s. SHR Chevrolets have completed 23,192 of 23,604 laps contested, and collectively have led 1,126 laps.



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