For Kurt The Texas Reconfiguration And Repave Is The Great Unknown

Kurt Busch

Typically when a racetrack undergoes a repave or reconfiguration, officials from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will schedule an organizational test to give race teams the opportunity to gather information that will be used for the upcoming race.

That is typically.

Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth underwent a complete repave and reconfiguration of its 1.5-mile oval that annually plays host to a pair of NASCAR Cup Series races, a process that began in January. The project featured a four-degree reduction of the banking in turns one and two to 20 degrees, and a 20-foot widening of the racing surface to 80 feet in those turns in an effort to create more passing opportunities.

It’s the second full repave since Texas Motor Speedway made its NASCAR debut in 1997, and the first since the summer of 2001. But the timing of this repave, which came during the winter between NASCAR’s November race and Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, meant that the project schedule was so tight that it didn’t leave time to hold a test session.

When an organizational test session is held, teams are permitted to run data-capturing equipment on their racecars that is not allowed during race weekends. Engineers are able to dissect aerodynamic data, engine data, miscellaneous mechanical data, tire data and more. That data is shared amongst the teams in-house, but is also implemented in simulators.

Simulation programs are used to help determine which setups to bring to the racetrack each week. Ford Performance, Stewart-Haas Racing’s (SHR) manufacturer partner, took that idea and ramped it up when it opened its Technical Support Center in Concord, North Carolina three years ago. Ford Racing teams are able to access a full-motion platform simulator that allows them to optimize their setups for individual track configurations, and for drivers to practice driving a track ahead of an upcoming race weekend. But, in order to gather the data needed for the simulator, track mapping and accurate tire data needs to be accessible.

So, this weekend, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for SHR, and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series drivers will head into the weekend facing a great unknown. Their first laps on the track will be just that.

Fortunately for Busch, the last time he faced a situation like this was at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta just last year. The racetrack was repaved, underwent banking changes in turns one and two and a reduction in the racing surface in those turns. While there was enough time to hold a two-day organizational test, he was not among the drivers who participated. However, Busch was able to score a top-five finish in that race, his first at the 1.5 mile speedway, and in doing so earned top-five finishes at each of the active racetracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Since opening 2017 by winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Busch and his No. 41 team have struggled. They’ve been challenged by mechanical and handling issues alike. So as they head to Texas this weekend not knowing what they’ll face, they’ll hope to experience a similar result to the last time they were in this situation. And they’ll do it at a track where Busch knows how to get the job done.

Busch is a former winner at Texas, 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 28 career starts at Texas, Busch has finished in the top-10 a total of 15 times, including a ninth-place finish in this race last year. Busch hopes this is the weekend he’ll be able to bring home his second Texas win in NASCAR’s top series and get his 2017 season back on track.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about heading to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with the unknowns that you will face.

“I think the trend in NASCAR is to keep all of us on our toes as much as possible, it seems like. Practice sessions here and there, moving things to the next day as a result of weather. To head into Texas with no formal tire test, no official track mapping, let ’er rip. This is new territory for our sport. I think it shows how much we’re having to adapt on the fly. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? It doesn’t matter. It’s what it is, and it’s unique the way we’re headed in there to go 215 mph with no track time.”

Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 7 of 36 – O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Texas

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


At-Track PR Contact: Rory Connellan, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 811,

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. 993:
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 993 in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Built new for 2016, Chassis No. 993 debuted in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where Busch earned his seventh top-five finish in the annual non-points NASCAR All-Star Race. Chassis No. 993 saw its first points-paying laps of the 2016 season in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, when Busch struggled with an ill-handling racecar and finished 13th. Since then, Chassis No. 993 was outfitted with a new front clip and body in preparation for the 2017 season. It made its first start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month, when Busch finished 30th after experiencing electrical issues that caused him to lose several laps under green-flag conditions.
Texas Motor Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 126 top-five finishes and 245 top-10s in 582 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’sO’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. His most recent NASCAR Cup Series win came in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will mark Busch’s 29th career NASCAR Cup Series 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 14.8, an average finish of 15.5, and has completed 98.3 percent (9,177 of 9,335) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Previous Win – Busch has one career NASCAR Cup Series 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 28 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 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 – NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity and Camping World Truck.
  • The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (April 2015) at Texas. Busch has 21 career NASCAR Cup Series poles.
  • Thus Far in 2017 Busch has accumulated one win, one top-five finish and two top-10s in six starts.
  • Get to the Points – With his 37th-place finish Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Busch enters Texas 19th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, 149 points behind series leader Kyle Larson.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Texas – In 46 overall starts at Texas, SHR-prepared racecars have earned three poles, one win, six top-five finishes and 15 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 535 laps, and have completed 95.4 percent of the laps contested (14,552 of 15,254).
  • SHR in 2017 – Six races into the 2017 season, SHR Ford Fusions have recorded onepole, one win, two top-five finishes and seven top-10s. They have completed 6,652 of 7,232 laps contested and have collectively led 344 laps.
  • The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:
    • HTEC | Excellence in Manufacturing Education.The Haas Technical Education Center Network (HTEC) is an industry- and education-led initiative that enables manufacturing technology educators and their schools to acquire the latest CNC machine tools and related CNC ancillary equipment, software and educational materials. Network members can contact, collaborate, share, and network with over 2,000 schools, colleges, and universities that use Haas CNC machines throughout the Americas. Members also have the opportunity to work with more than 95 CNC Technology Partners, who are pledged to support CNC Education. Its mission is to promote and advance manufacturing and productivity through excellence in manufacturing education, while its vision is to develop, deliver, and disseminate collectively the best educational methods and techniques for advanced manufacturing education. The goal is to provide students with a relevant, high-tech and hands-on educational experience and graduate work-ready CNC machinists, programmers and engineers for today’s industrial employers and the manufacturing challenges of the future.


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