Kurt Busch Hopes To Return To His Winning Ways At Bristol

Kurt Busch

When Kurt Busch takes to the track at Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, his No. 41 Ford Fusion will sport a bit of a different look as Haas Automation, the largest CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine-tool builder in North America, will highlight Demo Day 2017 that will be held May 10 at local Haas Factory Outlets (HFOs) nationwide.

The annual event provides HFOs an opportunity to feature the latest CNC machines, innovations, and technology from Haas Automation. Showcased will be machine-cutting demonstrations and educational seminars to explain how the latest Haas machines and options can help make current Haas users, potential customers, and anyone in the manufacturing industry learn how the latest Haas machines can help a business be more productive, efficient, and profitable.

Fittingly, Busch will begin his promotion of Demo Days at one of the smallest racetracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tour, where races tend to include numerous accidents and have, at times, resembled a different kind of demo day. It’s been one of the best tracks on the circuit for the veteran driver over his career, having won there five times. But it’s also been a place that has seen Busch struggle to reclaim some of his past successes in his return trips.

Busch earned his first career NASCAR Cup 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 his 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 Cup Series 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 in March 2006 and he’s had runs since that could have given him his sixth victory there, but circumstances have prevented him from sealing the deal. In fact, since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, Busch has found himself on more than one occasion in position to return to his winning ways at Bristol.

In the 2015 running of the Food City 500, Busch led six times for 98 laps. But when the caution flag flew for a five-car incident on lap 482, Busch headed for pit road while most of the others up front at that point in the race did not. Busch restarted sixth but, barely a dozen laps later, was collected in a multicar accident.

In his most-recent Bristol start, Busch lined up second for a lap-372 restart. Coming off turn two, he passed Joey Logano for the lead. However, Busch got loose in front of Logano, and contact between the two set off an 11-car incident that would see the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion’s race end early.

Busch heads to Thunder Valley looking to return to the form to which he is so accustomed. Despite a string of bad luck since winning this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, Busch and his No. 41 team have scored three top-10 finishes in the first seven races. Their goals remain the same – scoring another early season victory, accumulating playoff points and returning to victory lane at Bristol.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
There’s always beating and banging at a short track. What’s acceptable and what isn’t?

“It depends on who it is. It depends what’s on the line, what time of the race it is. We’ll see. With these new segments this year, you might throw a door ding in there, a donut on somebody trying to get a stage win. But then, you can’t risk too much and you don’t want damage for the rest of the race that will hurt you long term. So, it’s a balance. But, honestly, it’s good old short-track racing. There should be no problem in it.”

If you inadvertently get into someone, do you try to right that wrong so it doesn’t come back and bite you later?

“Again, it depends upon the circumstances, but, yes. Usually you’re trying to keep your eye on the main prize, which is victory lane at the end of the day. If you have a run-in early in the race, that guy is going to be trying to find you, or you’re looking over your shoulder. If somebody did me wrong, you’re going to be after that guy. But there are still bigger prizes out there.”

Talk a little bit about returning to Bristol this weekend driving an SHR-prepared Ford Fusion.

“To me, getting around Bristol is all about low-end torque and being able to jump out of the corner with a lot of speed. Doug Yates (engine builder) seems to have the right package for that at Bristol. Joey Logano has won a couple of races there recently. Brad Keselowski has been strong, as well. The Roush cars seem to run well every time we go there.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 8 of 36 – Food City 500 – Bristol

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: Matt Schlytter

Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida

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. 933:
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 933 in Sunday’s Food City 500at 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 in April, when Busch scored a third-place finish. It next raced at Dover in May, where Busch finished fifth after a tough day of obstacles. It saw its last laps of the 2016 season at Bristol in August, when Busch had overtaken Joey Logano for the lead before getting loose and setting off an 11-car incident that would see Busch’s historic streak of lead-lap finishes end at 22 races. Since then, the car has received chassis updates and the body has been updated for 2017.
RACETRACK Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 126 top-five finishes and 246 top-10s in 583 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’sFood City 500at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. His most recent NASCAR Cup Series win came in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Sunday’s Food City 500 will mark Busch’s 33rd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol.Busch has five wins, nine top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the .533-mile oval.Additionally, the 38-year-old driver has led 1,062 laps, has an average starting position of 17.5, an average finish of 14.8, and has completed 94.8 percent (15,189 of 16,027) of the laps he’s contested there.
  • Busch scored his first career NASCAR 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.
  • The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (August 2006) at Bristol. Busch has 21 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles.
  • Busch’s five Bristol wins (March 2002 and 2003, August 2003, March 2004 and 2006) tie him with his younger brother Kyle Busch as the winningest active NASCAR Cup Series drivers at Bristol.
  • Busch completed the Bristol sweep in 2003, winning both the spring and fall NASCAR Cup Series 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 NASCAR Cup Series 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 32 career NASCAR Cup Series 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 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, one top-five finish and three top-10s in seven starts.
  • Get to the Points – With his 10th-place finish two weekends ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Busch enters Bristol 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, 164 points behind series leader Kyle Larson.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Bristol – In 42 previous NASCAR Cup Series races at Bristol, SHR has posted one pole, one win, six top-fives and 15 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 653 laps, and have completed 96.9 percent of the laps contested (22,338 of 23,062).
  • SHR in 2017 – Seven races into the 2017 season, SHR Ford Fusions have recorded one pole, one win, three top-five finishes and nine top-10s. They have completed 7,987 of 8,568 laps contested and have collectively led 421 laps.
  • The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:
  • Ø  CJ’s Machining Inc. Located at 229 McGee Road in Anderson, South Carolina, CJ’s Machining Inc. specializes in the CNC machining of small- to medium-sized precision parts. A global supplier of high-precision, close-tolerance products with exceptional quality, CJ’s 10,000-plus-square-foot machine shop contains some of the most advanced and accurate CNC milling and turning equipment available.
  • Ø  T&T Machine Shop. Located at 444 Evergreen Road in Fitzgerald, Georgia. T&T Machine Shop is a general-job shop that manufactures high-end Chaparral boat trailers and parts. Utilizing Haas machines has enabled T&T Machine Shop to expand its customer base and the ability to supply parts needed to produce boat trailers in high volume.
  • Ø  Haas Factory Outlet – Phillips, a division of Phillips Corp., an exclusive dealer for Haas Automation CNC machine tools. With its main office at 8500 Triad Drive in Colfax, North Carolina, HFO Greensboro has Haas Factory Outlets in North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama – including locations at the Spartanburg Community College Haas Technical Education Center in South Carolina, and the Barber Motorsports Museum near Birmingham, Alabama. Each location offers Haas sales, service, training, applications support, and spare parts.


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