Kurt Busch Needs To Grab A Victory At Michigan

Kurt Busch & Kasey Kahne

Kurt Busch may not remember the 1980s Michigan television commercials that ended with the theme “Yes, Michigan!”

But as the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series rolls into historic Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, he is thinking “Yes, Michigan!”

Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has three wins at Michigan, which puts him in a tie with Matt Kenseth for most among active drivers. And just like at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, he’s won three times, with three different teams.

He scored his first win at Michigan in June 2003 driving for Roush Fenway Racing, then backed it up with a victory in August 2007 with Roger Penske. His last Michigan win came in a rain-shorted race with SHR in June 2015.

Busch also qualified on the pole in June 2010 and 2011 and has scored five top-five finishes at the 2-mile oval.

He’ll be looking to take Ford back to victory lane at Michigan, which is about an hour from the Detroit area, where Ford is based. The blue oval has a long history at Michigan, winning nearly half the races since the track opened in 1969. Of the 96 NASCAR Cup Series races contested at Michigan, Ford and its Mercury brand have won 47 of them – 35 wins by Ford and 12 by Mercury.

Busch is credited with one of those triumphs – June 2003, when he snatched the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go to claim his seventh career Cup Series win.

The Las Vegas native has four top-12 finishes, including a win, in his last five starts at the 2-mile oval. He’s hoping to score another victory this weekend so he can once again proclaim, “Yes, Michigan!”

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
You won the June 2003 Michigan race for Ford almost 100 years after the company was formed. Can you talk about what you remember from that experience?

“It was really neat. In my office at my house, I have a letter form Edsel Ford congratulating our team on the race win. And it’s something I framed and put in a similar format to a letter that my grandfather got from Henry Ford when he was a Ford employee. And it was really neat to have that moment and the lineage of our family of letters from the Ford Family.”

 

Any difference in track temperature between the first Michigan race and the second one?

“I would say it’s usually warmer in the second race, but there isn’t that much of a difference. It’s very similar to Pocono. The temperatures are just very similar each time we go. It’s just a matter of if you catch cloud cover or a cold front.”

 

You’re back with Ford, with whom you won your first 14 NASCAR Cup Series races. But in this go-round, there’s a One Ford mentality instead of a team-by-team philosophy. How is it working out?

“Right away, at Daytona, everybody from Ford was there, and there was a big meeting with all the Ford teams about how we need to all work together at the restrictor-plate tracks. Then, as we moved forward to the mile-and-a-halves and the short tracks, there are little things that we’ve been doing at SHR versus what Penske has been doing or Roush or RPM (Richard Petty Motorsports), and so we want to try to share the information but, at the same time, you’ve got to keep the technology in-house. So, Ford has a nice balance of what they’ve asked us to do and how we’re all sharing information moving forward. Really, it’s a unique situation with having Doug Yates as our engine builder. He’s really smart. He’s on top of everything. So whether it’s the oiling system, the water cooling system, different gear ratios and things, we’ve been working closely together on those.”

 

What does it take to be fast at Michigan?

“Michigan is a tough place because of the way the cars have that grip level on fresh tires versus old tires. What I mean by that is, when you put on fresh tires, your tires are cold and they don’t grab the asphalt as well. A lot of guys try to stay out at Michigan with the hot tires on and they get better restarts. Restarts at Michigan are already pretty wild with how wide the track is and how many lanes there are for options. It comes down to just trying to put yourself in the best position with the best-percentage chance of whether it’s fresh tires, or it’s staying out, or it’s making spots up on restarts.”

Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 23 of 36 –  Pure Michigan 400 – Michigan

 

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

 

PR Contact: Dakota Hunter, True Speed Communication (704) 875-3388 ext. 813 or Dakota.Hunter@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. 1040:
 

Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 1040 in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. He raced it in March at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California and finished 24th. He then raced the chassis in May at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and finished 19th.

Michigan Notes of Interest:
 

·   The Pure Michigan 400 will mark Busch’s 599th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 34th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan.

 

·   Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 127 top-fives, 253 top-10s and 8,867 laps led in 598 starts.

* His most recent Cup Series win came 22 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International             Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).

* His last Cup Series pole came 54 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.

 

·   Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 will mark Busch’s 34th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Michigan.Busch has two poles, three wins, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s at the 2-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 448 laps, has an average starting position of 12.9, an average finish of 19.7, and has completed 88.5 percent (5,700 of 6,439) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

·   The Las Vegas native has two poles to his credit (May 2010 and 2011) at Michigan.Busch has 21 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles.

 

·   Three Times a Winner – Busch has raced his way to victory lane at Michigan three times in the NASCAR Cup Series and is tied with Matt Kenseth for the most wins among active drivers at Michigan. Busch’s first win came in June 2003 when he snatched the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go en route to claiming his seventh NASCAR Cup Series victory. His second Michigan win came in August 2007. Busch took the lead at the halfway point of the race and then dominated the second half, leading 92 of 203 laps. He held off the field in overtime to claim his 17th NASCAR Cup Series victory. Busch scored his most recent Michigan victory in June 2015. He overcame adversity, winning the rain-shortened event after starting 24th in a backup racecar. Busch led six laps en route to the win, which marked his 27th career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

 

·   Busch has two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Michigan with a best finish of third earned in June 2012.

 

·   Busch has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Michigan with a best finish of second earned in July 2000.

 

·   Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, two top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 22 starts.

 

·   Get to the Points – With his sixth-place finish last Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Busch enters Michigan 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 528 points and is 353 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:

 

Classic Turning Inc., (www.classicturning.com)  For more than 30 years, Classic Turning, Inc., located at 3000 East South Street in Jackson, Michigan, has been serving a multitude of industries including aerospace, medical, precision industrial, high performance automotive, industrial machine building, and military. The company’s goal is to provide customers with high-quality, precision-machined components and assemblies. It is committed to providing products that exceed the expectations of its customers, investing in technology and striving for continuous improvement in everything it does.

 

TA-Systems (www.ta-systems.com) TA-Systems, located at 1842 Rochester Industrial Drive in Rochester Hills, Michigan, brings more than 30 years of expertise in the design and manufacture of automated and secondary assembly equipment for any plastic welding, inspecting and assembly needs. The company is known for fully integrated assembly systems, stand-alone assembly machines and specialized machines. Its quality management system is certified under ISO 9001:2008.

 

Haas Factory Outlet Flat Rock, a division of Gerotech, Inc., (www.gerotechinc.comLocated at 29220 Commerce Drive in Flat Rock, Michigan, HFO Flat Rock is the exclusive Haas Automation CNC machine tool distributor for the Michigan Lower Peninsula “mitten.” HFOs provide factory-trained technicians, training, and excellent after-sales support. Gerotech also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Michigan State University and Henry Ford Community College, among others.

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

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