Kurt Busch Is Getting Hot Heading To Martinsville

Kurt Busch

While the weather is cooling down as the fall season is in full swing, Kurt Busch is getting hot on track as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this weekend.

Last week at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Busch finished just 2.248 seconds behind race-winner Martin Truex Jr., to finish an impressive second. It was Busch’s sixth top-five of 2017 and his best finish since he won the Daytona 500 to start the year.

Busch now looks to Martinsville, were he will drive the No. 41 State Water Heaters Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). It’s a different look for the No. 41 Ford this week, but State has long been associated with NASCAR and SHR.

In 1946, State Water Heaters was founded by Herbert Lindahl, Sr., as a small entrepreneurial company in a garage in Nashville, Tennessee producing coal- and wood-burning stoves. By 1948, one year before Red Byron won the very first NASCAR race at Martinsville, the company produced its first water heater.

In the years that followed, State expanded and became a leader in the water heating industry through steadfast commitments to seeking new materials, new technology and innovative engineering techniques.

Busch has had success at Martinsville in the past, winning the fall race in 2002 and the spring race in 2014 for SHR.

He also won the pole positon for the fall race in 2006.

Busch is feeling hot coming off that runner-up finish at Kansas and is hoping he can keep the energy flowing with a solid run at Martinsville Speedway this Sunday.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 State Water Heaters Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
You had a solid run at Kansas. Talk about your day there.

“For us, we had a really adventurous day. Actually, I brushed the wall early on, got a lap down, had to dig out of that hole all day. The early calls to stay out and then to put on scuffed tires to limp it home through one of the stages, those were gutsy decisions by Tony Gibson. I have to say hats off to Gibson for that because that put us back on the same sequence with the leaders and the tires. That gave us the same amount of (tire) sets of stickers that we could use toward the end of the race.”

What is the toughest part about racing at Martinsville?

“To me, the toughest part about Martinsville is you just never have a moment to breathe. You have to be on your game nonstop for 500 laps because somebody’s on you, or you are on top of somebody the whole time, and there’s just no room for error.”

How much does pit strategy become a factor at Martinsville?

“It’s definitely something that comes into play. You may gamble early to pick up some positions on the track, especially if you’ve had trouble in qualifying. It’s just one of those things, though, where you always hope you’re on the right one (strategy) and, if you get caught on the wrong one, then you’re kicking yourself the whole time.”

How much more important is track position at a place like Martinsville?

“Track position is everything, everywhere, but at Martinsville it is just so easy to lose it. It doesn’t take much to find yourself going backward, whether it’s a situation with someone bumping you out of the way or you get too high on the track and up in the marbles. Then, deal with what that does to the tires and, boom, next thing you know, you may have had a 10th-place car and now you are 18th. It’s a goal all day to work your way forward and then just to have smooth pit stops to carry you through those midpoints of the race. Then, at the end, when everything is on the line, you have to be aggressive and you can’t be afraid to use the fenders on people to get that solid finish.”

State Water Heaters Team Report
Round 33 of 36 –  First Data 500 – Martinsville


Car No.: 41 – State Water Heaters Ford Fusion


PR Contact: Catlin Berry, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388, ext. 813, Catlin.Berry@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. 828:
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 828 iSunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Formerly a No. 10 chassis for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Danica Patrick, Chassis No. 828 debuted in November 2013 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Patrick started 24th and finished 20th. It was then put to use in March 2014 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she started 22nd and finished 21st. It raced two weeks later at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, where Patrick started 27th and finished 14th. Chassis No. 828 last raced at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May 2014, where Patrick started seventh and finished 10th. Chassis No. 828 was prepared and carried numerous times throughout the rest of the 2014 season as a backup car but didn’t see its first laps of action until May 2015 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Busch was on his way to scoring a top-10 finish at Dover, but it wasn’t meant to be when, with just 14 laps remaining, contact between Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin proved unavoidable. The No. 41 was clipped by the spinning car of Hamlin and sent hard into the outside retaining wall, resulting in a 31st-place finish. Since then, Chassis No. 828 was fitted with a new body and front clip. Chassis No. 828 was utilized in a preseason tire test at Las Vegas and saw its first laps of 2016 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in July, when Busch had a strong run, but his 22nd-place finish didn’t reflect the effort of the No. 41 team. The last time Chassis 828 was used was in September 2016 at New Hampshire, where Busch started 23rd and finished 22nd. Since then, it has been re-bodied to a Ford and has been a back-up car at several races in 2017. ​
Martinsville Notes of Interest:
·   The First Data 500 will mark Busch’s 609th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 35th at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Busch has two wins, one pole, three top-five finishes and five top-10s at the .526-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 464 laps, has an average starting position of 19.6, an average finish of 21.7, and has completed 96.1 percent (16,378 of 17,034) of the laps he’s contested there.


·   Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 131 top-fives, 257 top-10s and 8,877 laps led in 608 starts. His most recent Cup Series win came 32 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26). His last Cup Series pole came 64 races ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway(March 4, 2016).


·   The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (October 2006) at Martinsville. Busch has 21 career NASCAR Cup Series poles.


·   Busch has led laps in 11 of his 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville for a combined total of 464 laps led.


·   Busch has made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Martinsville. He started 22nd and finished 23rd in 2000.


·   Twice a Winner at Martinsville – Busch won his first race at Martinsville in October 2002. It was his second NASCAR Cup Series victory and a record-breaking one, at that, as he took the green flag from the 36th starting position – the deepest in the field a Martinsville winner had ever started. His most recent Martinsville win came in March 2014. He held off six-time Cup Series champion and nine-time Martinsville race-winner Jimmie Johnson to win the Martinsville 500.


·   A Place of Firsts – Busch’s March 2014 win at Martinsville was the first for Haas Automation as a primary sponsor in the NASCAR Cup Series. Prior to Martinsville, Haas Automation was winless as a primary sponsor for 11 different drivers and 115 races since 2002. Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western World, is owned by Stewart-Haas Racing founder and co-owner Gene Haas.


·   Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s in 32 starts.


·   Get to the Points – With his second-place finish last Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Busch is 13th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 2,124 points.



·   The No. 41 State Water Heater Ford Fusion will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:


Barrett Machine Inc. – 399 McGhee Road in Winchester, Virginia 22603 –www.barrettmachine.com

Barrett Machine, Inc., was established in 1991 and has well-trained employees with more than 25 years of experience. The company provides its customers with turnkey manufacturing services in every aspect. Its methods of manufacturing include turning, milling, boring, grinding, CNC milling, CNC lathe, shearing, braked, rolled, cutting to include waterjet, fitting, and welding. Materials that it works with are mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum, stainless steel, brass, bronze, copper, tool steel, and all types of plastics. Barrett Machine, Inc., produces fabricated structural metal, plate work manufacturing, ornamental and architectural metal work, rubber and plastic fabricated items, and components. It generates its own computer-aided drawings, as well as reverse engineered existing parts. It also offers design and build services.


Haas Factory Outlet Greensboro – 8500 Triad Drive in Colfax, North Carolina 27235 –www.hfophillips.com

Haas Factory Outlet – Phillips, a division of Phillips Corp., is an exclusive dealer of Haas Automation CNC machine tools, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern New Jersey and Tennessee. Phillips offers outstanding Haas sales, service, training, applications, and spare parts. Phillips also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at the University of North Carolina, Greensville Technical College, Midlands Technical College, Lanier Technical College, Tennessee College Applied of Technology, Arkansas State University, Central Alabama Community College, Johns Hopkins University, Delaware Technical and Community College, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, and Pennsylvania College of Technology, among others.


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