It’s A Home Race For Gene Haas, Haas Automation, And SHR

Kurt Busch & Kyle Larson

Racing in Southern California has always been exciting, dating back more than 100 years. Jimmy Murphy, winner of the 1922 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and 1921 French Grand Prix, went to high school at Huntington Park High School in Los Angeles.

Rodger Ward, winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 1959 and 1962, and Phil Hill, the 1960 F1 World Champion were both raised in the Los Angeles area.

Southern California was home to Ontario Motor Speedway, Riverside International Raceway and world famous Ascot Park. Now, it’s home to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, site of this weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400, which is an important race for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Kurt Busch.

The driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for SHR would love to win on the outskirts of the second-largest city in the United States. He also would like to win for local companies Haas Automation and Monster Energy.

Haas Automation headquarters are just 105 miles from Fontana in Oxnard, California, while Monster Energy’s headquarters are only 21 miles away in Corona, California.

So, it’s a huge weekend for Kurt Busch at Fontana, where he has tasted a good bit of success in his career. He has one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 25 starts at the 2-mile oval.

Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 298 laps, has an average starting position of 14.9, an average finish of 12.8, and has completed 99.9 percent – 5,551 of 5,556 – of the laps he’s contested there.

He can also push the throttle as four of his 22 career poles have come at Fontana – February and September 2006, September 2007 and March 2015. It’s more Fontana poles than any other active driver.

As if this year’s race wasn’t big enough, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of Haas Automation’s very first vertical machining center – the industry-leading VF-1. The “V” in the model name stands for vertical – an industry standard designation for a vertical mill – and company founder Gene Haas added “F1” to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.”

Introduced at IMTS 88 in Chicago, the Haas VF-1 established an industry milestone by being the very first American-built vertical machining center to sell for less than $50,000, an unheard-of price at that time. With a published price of $49,900 – another industry first – the Haas VF-1 quickly became the industry benchmark for affordable CNC technology.

Today, the Haas VF-1 still sells for less than $50,000 – in fact, it’s only $46,995 – and Haas Automation is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of CNC machine tools, with an extensive lineup of more than 100 high-value, high-performance products.

Busch knows the stakes are high. But so did Murphy, Ward, Hill and every other great driver who’s ever hailed from or drove in Southern California.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Overall thoughts on Auto Club Speedway?

 

“The track is out in the Desert Southwest and it just feels like home. Growing up there and racing, it was cool as heck to go to California Speedway for the first time as a fan because of how big the track is and how fast everything is there. Then, to go there as a racer, it was incredible. I got to race in the Truck Series. Over the years, it’s just one of those tracks that’s been really good to me. I like the racing surface because of how much you slip and slide around. It’s tire management at its finest. When you have a track like that, it really goes toward the driver’s hands more than the technology of aerodynamics and the setups. It’s a lot of fun to go there knowing the responsibility is in the driver’s hands.”

 

What is your favorite part about the track?

 

“It’s unique because you have to build the car and keep in mind with the setup that the straightaways are super long. But the corners are sort of flat and they are a little tighter than you think. So you have to have the setup right for both ends of the racetrack. Really long straightaways and tight flat corners.”

 

Is there anything you don’t like about the racetrack?

 

“The bumps on the back straightaway are super rough and we’re bouncing pretty rough off them because we’re trying to keep our car low in the corners. The straightaways seem to get more unsettled each year. But, no biggie. It’s just part of the experience.”

 

How big is this weekend for you, Haas Automation, Monster Energy and Ford?

 

“As far as sponsor weekends go, this is the ultimate. Monster is headquartered just down the road in Corona, California. Haas Automation is headquartered out in Oxnard, California. Even Ford really wants to beat Toyota, which has TRD out there. So, it’s a lot of responsibility to run well there.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 5 of 36 –  Auto Club 400 – Auto Club Speedway

 

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

 

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

Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Billy Scott
Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida
Car Chief: Tony Cardamore
Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples
Hometown: Hudson, Illinois

 

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
Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Jewell, Iowa
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Wayne Anderson and Larry Lush
Hometowns: West Covina, California, and Waynesville, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire
Hometown: Palmyra, New York
Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn
Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut
Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee
Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Mechanic: Nick McIntosh
Hometown: Harve, Montana

 

Mechanic: Joe Zanolini
Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania
Auto Club Speedway Notes of Interest:
· The Auto Club 400 will mark Kurt Busch’s 617th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 25th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Fontana. Busch has one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at the 2-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 298 laps, has an average starting position of 14.9, an average finish of 12.8, and has completed 99.9 percent (5,551 of 5,556) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 22 poles, 131 top-fives, 260 top-10s and 8,951 laps led in 616 starts.

 

· His most recent Cup Series win came 40 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).

 

· His last Cup Series pole came seven races ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth(Nov. 3, 2017).

 

·  Previous Winner – Busch started 16th and led 27 laps at Fontana in April 2003 en route to recording his sixth NASCAR Cup Series victory. Busch won in only his third attempt at the 2-mile oval.

 

·  The Las Vegas native has 22 career NASCAR Cup Series poles, four of which have come at Fontana – February 2006, September 2006 and 2007, and March 2015. He has earned the most poles of any active NASCAR Cup Series driver at the 2-mile oval.

 

·  A Pole and a Win in Another Series at Fontana – Busch recorded a pole in his lone NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Fontana in 2000. It was his fourth Truck Series pole. He went on to lead 20 of 100 laps en route to his fourth series victory.

 

· Thus Far in 2018 – Busch has accumulated two top-10 finishes in four races.

 

· Get to the Points – With his 10th-place finish Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, Busch is 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 117 points.

 

·  Home Game: Haas Automation is located in Oxnard, California, which is 108 miles from Auto Club Speedway, while Monster Energy is based in Corona, California, which is just 20 miles from the 2-mile oval.

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

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