Kurt Busch Needs To Hoist The Hardware At Texas

Kurt Busch

The situation Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finds himself in entering Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is one he’s quite familiar with.

For the second consecutive season, Busch heads to Texas on the heels of a less-than-desired finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. While those Martinsville finishes came in different fashion, the end result has him in the hole once again following the opening race in the Round of 8. Last year, he looked to be a lock for a top-five finish but, 66 laps shy of the checkered flag, contact with another car sent Busch airborne and into the backstretch wall, relegating him to a disappointing 34th-place finish. Sunday, Busch and his SHR team simply “missed it,” as he said afterward, having struggled with an ill-handling race car that led to a 22nd-place finish.

Busch now heads to Texas once again ranked seventh among the eight remaining Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers. He is 25 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson and 18 points behind fourth-place driver Kyle Busch. While he isn’t in as deep a points deficit as he was this time last year, he needs strong performances in the next two races if he is to continue his quest for his second Sprint Cup championship.

Busch arrives at the 1.5-mile Texas oval as a former winner there, having visited victory lane during the track’s November race in 2009. He started that race third and led 89 laps en route to the win. In 27 career starts at Texas, Busch has 15 top-10 finishes, including three of the last four Sprint Cup races there. Busch hopes this is the weekend he’ll be able to bring home his second Texas win in NASCAR’s top series. Should he be able to pull that off, it would essentially delete his 22nd-place finish at Martinsville and automatically make him one of the four drivers who will comprise the Championship 4, where the winner-take-all race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will determine the 2016 champion.

With Texas serving as the penultimate event of the 2016 season on a mile-and-a-half racetrack, the importance of this weekend’s 334-lap race will be two-fold for Busch and his No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy team. They’ll race not only for the win and the continuation of their championship pursuit, but also to dial in their efforts for the final mile-and-a-half race at Homestead in order to be ready to either race for the championship or play the role of spoiler by winning the race should they find themselves on the outside looking in.


KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about your mindset heading into Texas this weekend. 

“We didn’t have the best of results at Martinsville but we’re going to continue to give it our best and go after it. A win would be wonderful. But still, at the same time, guys like Carl Edwards had trouble last weekend. My teammate Kevin Harvick, we all struggled at SHR. But, you never know what’s going to happen when you go into the next race. You go business as usual, but not too much stress.”

Talk about racing at Texas. 

“Texas has been one of those bread-and-butter racetracks for us where we expect to go there and get a good, solid finish. The way we can improve and get better with the Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy is to be able to do better on like a two-tire sequence. Right now, our car wants four tires every time we pit and, when we do two tires, our handling really goes off. That limits our ability to spend less time on pit road. We lose some spots on pit road by putting four tires on each time, but we can work our way back up. We just can’t hold onto those positions later in the race when we are trying to do two tires. That is one thing we are going to try to work on in practice.”

What makes Texas different from the other mile-and-a-half racetracks where the Sprint Cup Series races? 

“It just seems faster, I don’t know why. Bigger, faster, better – that is what Texas always does. It seems like the racing there gets better each and every year with the track widening out. But, man, it just feels fast all the time.”

What do you need to improve upon at Texas?

“It just seems like restarts keep getting crazier and crazier. You’ve got to be in the right lane – inside or outside – but you just don’t know because of who is going to get a good jump when they drop the green. When somebody doesn’t get a good jump, you’ve got to find holes and make things happen to not lose spots.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 34 of 36 – AAA Texas 500 – Texas

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


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

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 TaxACT Chevrolet SS

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 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. 1032
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 1032 in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Built new for 2016, Chassis No. 1032 will see its first laps of competition in Sunday’s 500-mile race.
Texas Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 28 wins, 21 poles, 124 top-five finishes and 242 top-10s in 573 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. His most recent Sprint Cup win came at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June. With the win, Busch moved into a tie for 25th on the all-time series wins list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Rex White.
  • The AAA Texas 500 will mark Busch’s 28th career Sprint Cup start at Texas. Busch has one pole, one win, three top-five finishes and 15 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval.Additionally, the 38-year-old driver has led 295 laps, has an average starting position of 15th, an average finish of 15.3, and has completed 98.3 percent (8,885 of 9,042) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Previous Win – Busch has one career Sprint Cup win at Texas, which came in November 2009. It was his second victory that season and the 20th of his career and came by a nearly 26-second margin. Busch led six times for 89 laps.
  • Busch has led laps in 12 of his 27 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas for a combined total of 295 laps led. Busch has led 50 or more laps in a race twice at Texas. In addition to his 89 laps led in the November 2009 win, he led 50 laps in April 2011 en route to a 10th-place finish.
  • A Win in Other Series at Texas – In April 2006, Busch scored the victory in his first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series start. He became the fifth driver to win the race in their first start in NASCAR’s second-tier series. He also earned the distinction of becoming the 16th driver to record a victory in all three of NASCAR’s top-tier series – Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck.
  • The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (April 2015) at Texas. Busch has 21 career Sprint Cup poles.
  • Thus Far in 2016 – Busch has one win, two poles, eight top-five finishes and 20 top-10s in 33 starts.
  • Busch has wins at each of the remaining Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship tracks. He has one apiece at Texas, Phoenix International Raceway and at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
  • Get to the Points – With his 22nd-place finish Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Busch enters Texas ranked seventh in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship point standings. He is 18 markers behind fourth-place driver Kyle Busch. Following the ninth race of the Chase Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway, only the top four drivers will advance to the final, winner-take-all Championship 4 at the Nov. 20 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Texas – In 42 overall starts at Texas, SHR-prepared Chevrolets have earned three poles, one win, six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 535 laps, and have completed 95.1 percent of the laps contested (13,388 of 14,082).
  • SHR in 2016 – 33 races into the 2016 season, SHR’s four Sprint Cup entries have recorded six wins, three poles, 28 top-five finishes and 53 top-10s. SHR Chevrolets have completed 37,558 of 38,552 laps contested and collectively have led 1,609 laps.


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