Kurt Busch Is Hoping To Capture A Win In His Owner and Sponsor’s Backyard

Kurt Busch

For Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), this weekend’s Auto Club 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is one for bragging rights as he and the team converge on Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California looking to claim the victory in the backyard of both primary sponsors.

Headquartered is in Oxnard, California approximately 100 miles from Fontana is Haas Automation, the largest CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine tool builder in North America. Founded by Gene Haas in Sun Valley, California in 1983 to manufacture machine tools, Haas Automation entered the industry with the first fully automatic, programmable collet indexer – a device used to position parts for machining with high accuracy. Haas moved the company to its current purpose-built facility located on 86 acres in Oxnard in 1997. By then, the company had shipped its 10,000th CNC machine and, less than 10 years later, had installed its 75,000th machine. To date, more than 175,000 Haas CNC machines have been put into service worldwide.

Based in Corona, California is Monster Beverage Corporation. Its subsidiaries develop and market energy drinks, including the brand that adorns the quarterpanels of the No. 41 Ford – Monster Energy. A company that typically passes on traditional forms of advertising and instead earns significant brand exposure through its roster of extreme athletes, Monster Energy made the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series with Busch in 2015. Renowned for a tenacious driving style that has earned him 29 wins and the 2004 Cup Series championship in a career spanning more than 17 years, Busch fit the bill as a Monster Energy athlete. Located approximately 20 miles due south of Fontana, this weekend’s race will be a home one for Monster’s more than 2,000 employees.

While Busch may downplay that there is added pressure to perform well this weekend, he’d like nothing more than to return to his winning ways at the 2-mile oval and give both Haas Automation and Monster Energy the trophy from their home track. While it’s been a number of years since he won there – 14 to be exact – his recent performances there make him difficult to overlook.

Augmenting Busch’s Fontana win are four poles, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 23 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts there. Two of those top-fives and four of those top-10s have come in his last five starts.

Busch heads to Fontana this weekend having posted two less-than-desired finishes due to electrical issues that plagued his No. 41 Ford. He’s looking to get back to his winning ways this weekend at Fontana by scoring both his second win at the 2-mile racetrack and of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about heading to Auto Club Speedway this weekend and racing in the backyard of your primary sponsors Haas Automation and Monster Energy. Do you feel any extra pressure to perform there?

“It’s a lot of fun to race at Auto Club Speedway with both Haas Automation and Monster Energy headquartered nearby. I’m going to both headquarters to visit, to see all the employees. It’s a busy week. Then you want to go to the racetrack and have a good run because everybody’s there, and they’re that close to the action one time a year. So, of course you want to do well. There’s some added pressure. We want to come away with the win. We almost got it a couple of years ago but, last year, we missed the setup. You’re going to be hot, you’re going to be cold – we hope it’s a race we’re going to be hot for.”

What’s the key to success at Auto Club Speedway?

“I think the key to success is short-run speed. It always seems to come down to a green-white-checkered finish or a quick pit stop at the end to put four tires on. You’ll be five-, six-wide going down into turn one and off of two, you’ve got to find the right holes at the end of the race even though you’ve been out there for 400 miles.”

What’s the difference between the asphalt at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway?

“They’re really similar, it’s just that there’s no banking at Auto Club Speedway compared to what we have at Atlanta. You’re really slip-sliding around and the pace drops off a ton at Auto Club.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 5 of 36 – Auto Club 400 – Fontana

Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion

 

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: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Todd Hamm
Hometown: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

 

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

Second Gas Man: Scott Barnette

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

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: J.D. Frey
Hometown: Ferndale, California

 

Mechanic: Andy Spenner
Hometown: Hoyleton, Illinois

 

Chassis No. 1040:
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 1040 in Sunday’s Auto Club 400at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Built new for 2017, Chassis No. 1040 will see its first laps of competition in Sunday’s 400-mile race.
Auto Club Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 126 top-five finishes and 245 top-10s in 580 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. His most recent NASCAR Cup Series win came last month at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Sunday’s Auto Club 400 will mark Busch’s 24th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Fontana. Busch has one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at the 2-mile oval.Additionally, the 38-year-old driver has led 298 laps, has an average starting position of 14.9, an average finish of 12.3, and has completed 99.9 percent (5,350 of 5,354) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Previous Winner – Busch started 16th and led 27 laps at Fontana in April 2003 en route to recording his sixth NASCAR Cup Series victory. Busch won in only his third attempt at the 2-mile oval.
  • The Las Vegas native has 21 career NASCAR Cup Series poles, four of which have come at Fontana – February 2006, September 2006 and 2007, and March 2015.He has earned the most poles of any active NASCAR Cup Series driver at the 2-mile oval.
  • A Pole and a Win in Another Series at Fontana – Busch recorded a pole in his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Fontana in 2000. It was his fourth Truck Series pole. He went on to lead 20 of 100 laps en route to his fourth series victory.
  • Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, one top-five finish and two top-10s in four starts.
  • Get to the Points – With his 25th-place finish Sunday Phoenix International Raceway, Busch enters Fontana ninth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, 79 points behind series leader Kyle Larson.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Fontana – In 27 previous NASCAR Cup Series races at Fontana, SHR has posted two wins (Tony Stewart 2010, 2012), 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 358 laps, and have completed 96.6 percent of the laps contested (5,446 of 5,638).
  • SHR in 2017 – Four races into the 2017 season, SHR Ford Fusions have recorded one pole, one win, one top-five finish and five top-10s. They have completed 4,053 of 4,424 laps contested and have collectively led 344 laps.

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

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