Kurt Busch Has Been Really Good At Pocono Over The Years

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch seems to like Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. And since he’s won there three times, for three different owners, he’s hoping he can score victory number four while driving the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

Busch first won at Pocono in July 2005 driving for Roush Fenway Racing, leading 131 of 203 laps after starting second. He then dominated in August 2007 driving for Roger Penske. He started second again but led 175 of 200 laps en route to victory at the 2.5-mile track known as the “Tricky Triangle.” Both those races were 500 miles in length.

In June 2016, driving for SHR, he started ninth and led 32 of 160 laps of the now 400-mile race to score his third Pocono victory.

Perhaps Busch’s success is tied to the track’s unique design. The triangular layout was designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward and remains unlike any other track in the world with three different corners each modeled after a different track.

Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the legendary Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile.

Busch’s first-ever NASCAR victory came on July 1, 2000 at Milwaukee when he started on the pole and led 156 of 200 laps to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Greg Biffle was third, while a young Jamie McMurray finished 31st. Joe Ruttman, who is the brother of Troy Ruttman, the 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner, finished 24th. Troy Ruttman competed against Ward 10 times in the Indianapolis 500 during the 1950s and 1960s.

The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion will again be serviced by crew chief Tony Gibson, who won at Pocono in June 1992 with Alan Kulwicki and in July 1998 with Jeff Gordon. He served as car chief during both events. He was not on the pit box last June when Busch scored the victory at Pocono, but lead race engineer Johnny Klausmeier called the shots. Both he and Gibson will be back for this go-around with Gibson back as crew chief.

Both Busch and Gibson are hoping that they can score another victory in the Overton’s 400 Sundayto gain more points as just five races remain after Pocono until the NASCAR playoffs begin.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
 

You’ve won three times at Pocono, but the 2007 win was so dominant. Can you describe that race?

“The win in 2007 with Penske Racing – that was the fastest car that I’ve ever driven. That car would turn, stick, drive down the straightaway – that car did everything. It didn’t have a single flaw. I knew how good that car was on the first lap of the race. I remember telling myself, ‘Don’t screw this up.’ I ran the rest of the race more nervous than I had in years prior. I’ve never dominated a race like that. We led 175 of 200 laps. That was, by far, the best car I have ever driven. It was a great race to show the balance of that team and the strength of where we were at that point. I think the 25 laps that we didn’t lead were from a bad pit stop at one point. My first win at Pocono in 2005 was pretty great, too. It’s fun to win at a racetrack that is so unique because of how different that track is compared to all the other oval tracks. Pocono is a little bit like Darlington in that all the corners are different, so you have to manage them the best that you can and not be perfect in one corner versus another.”

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you go to Pocono?

“How unique the place is. You drive in through the Tunnel Turn and that corner to me is one of the most unique corners of all the tracks that we go to. When you go to Pocono, the first thing you really think of is compromise – you have to juggle all three corners being different. It’s called the Tricky Triangle for a reason.”

Of the three turns, which is the most important to you and why?

“It’s weird, I’ve had winning cars there a few different times and turn two always feels the best when my car has a chance to go to victory lane. But, I think turn three, if you are able to pass cars and maneuver around them, you’ve got to get a good run off turn three to be ready to pass them in turn one. All of them are important. You can’t exclude one from another.”

Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 21 of 36 –  Overton’s 400 – Pocono

 

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

 

PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704) 875-3388 ext. 808 or Joe.Crowley@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. 973:
 

Busch will pilot Chassis No. 973 in the Overton’s 400 Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Built new for 2016, Chassis No. 973 debuted at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May when Busch finished third. It was scheduled to race in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, but Busch was forced to a backup car after making contact with the outside retaining wall in final practice. Chassis No. 973 was repaired and raced in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July when Busch was in position to score a top- 10 finish, but contact from behind on the final lap of the race put him 16th at the checkered flag. Chassis No. 973 next raced in August at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn when Busch rallied for a 12th-place finish after battling a loose-handling racecar from the start of the race. Chassis No. 973 next ran at Kansas in October when it was pulled off the truck as a backup car. Busch had to start from the rear of the field, but he persevered and brought home a 13th-place finish. Since then, the car has received chassis updates and the body has been updated for 2017 and was last raced in April at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, where Busch started ninth and finished eighth.

Pocono Notes of Interest:
 

 The Overton’s 400 will mark Busch’s 597th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 33rd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono.

 

● Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 127 top-fives, 252 top-10s and 8,867 laps led in 596 starts.

► His most recent Cup Series win came 19 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).

► His last Cup Series pole came 52 races ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway(March 4, 2016).

► Busch is slated to make his 600th career NASCAR Cup Series start Aug. 19 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

 

● Busch has two poles, three wins, 14 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s in 32 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. Additionally, Busch has led 538 laps, has an average starting position of 10.2, an average finish of 14.2 and has completed 95.8 percent (5,563 of 5,805) of the laps available.

 

● Busch’s two poles at Pocono came in June 2011 and June 2015.

 

● Three Times a Winner – Busch has raced his way to victory lane at Pocono three times. His first win came in July 2005 when he started second and led a race-high 128 of 203 laps before claiming his 13th NASCAR Cup Series victory. His second win came in August 2007 in record-setting fashion as he led 175 of 200 laps en route to claiming his 16th NASCAR Cup Series victory. His most-recent Cup Series victory at Pocono came in June 2016 when Busch was able to win the rain-delayed Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400.

 

● Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, two top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 20 starts.

 

● Get to the Points – With his 29th-place finish last Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Busch enters Pocono 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 463 points and is 317 points behind series leader Martin Truex Jr.

Haas Automation Partner Notes:
 

The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

Thorlabs (www.thorlabs.us) – Located at 56 Sparta Avenue in Newton, New Jersey, Thorlabs was founded in 1989. This location is home to its mechanics, optics, fiber, advanced systems technology and advanced applications teams, and is one of its three distribution warehouses. Onsite manufacturing enables the facilities to customize its products quickly and efficiently to meet specialized customer requests.

 

GPR Company, Inc., (www.gprco.com) – Located at 8 Spielman Road in Fairfield, New Jersey, GPR Company Inc., specializes in precision machining of stainless steel, aluminum and exotic materials. Highly skilled personnel in all departments efficiently handle all aspects of customer orders, from the purchase of material through inspection of the finished product. The company manages all finishing and assembly requirements to streamline the buying process. Since 1979, with its philosophy of greater precision and reliability, GPR has taken great pride in producing for customers the highest quality parts delivered on time. Its state-of-the-art equipment is a reflection of the company’s commitment to provide its customers with quality parts while being a source of answers rather than the cause of problems that many suppliers become.

 

Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) Allendale, a division of Allendale Machinery(www.hfoallendale.com) – Located at16 Park Way in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, HFO Allendale serves Haas Automation customers in New Jersey and Eastern New York with a fully-staffed service department and factory-trained personnel. It stocks an extensive inventory of Haas service and maintenance parts for quick-response service 24/7. Allendale supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Hudson Valley Community College and Lincoln Technical Institute, among others.

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

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