Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing: Kurt Busch Kansas Advance and Team Report

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
PRESS RELEASE

 

KURT BUSCH

Conquering Kansas

 

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (May 10, 2017) – For Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), there are racetracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule to which he’s been able to quickly adapt. There are others that took time to master. Then, there’s Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

He’s found his way to victory lane at 15 of 23 active racetracks on the circuit for a total of 29 career NASCAR Cup Series triumphs. His first came at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Driving the No. 97 Ford, he found his way to the winner’s circle in just his third start at the .533-mile oval. It took 32 attempts at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to find his way to victory lane, but he was finally able to do so in the 2017 season-opening Daytona 500.

At the eight mile-and-half venues where the NASCAR Cup Series competes, Busch has earned a total of six victories. They’ve come at four tracks – three at Atlanta Motor Speedway and one apiece at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch is still searching for victory lane at four – Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Kansas.

Kansas has been a racetrack for Busch that has been complicated and vexing, but since being paired with crew chief Tony Gibson in 2015, he’s seen marked improvement. In the four races with Gibson atop the pit box, Busch has scored finishes of eighth, sixth, third and 13th for an average finish of 7.5. His average finish prior was 19th. So, while he has yet to find victory lane there, he has been able to compete at the track with the kind of consistency that could see him continue that trend of marked improvement this weekend.

Busch has been running at the end of all but two of the races he’s competed in at the 1.5-mile oval, the first DNF ending prematurely with an engine failure in 2003, the other due to an accident in October 2014. And in addition to a pair of top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 22 starts there, Busch owns one pole at Kansas, having scored the top starting spot in June 2011. The Kansas pole was the first of three consecutive poles Busch scored that month.

So, while a breakthrough victory at Kansas would add to the list of successes the Las Vegas native has experienced in his career, it would do much more than that for his 2017 championship hopes, as it would give Busch and his No. 41 team a second victory in 2017 and another five valuable bonus points for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. With his postseason eligibility already in place, they can head west and look to finally conquer Kansas.

 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about racing at Kansas this weekend. How important is this race considering that this racetrack is part of the NASCAR Playoffs?

“Anytime we have a track that’s in the spring portion of our schedule and it matches up with a Playoff race in the fall, it’s very important. We’ll definitely have a full run log of what we want to accomplish and understand. And Kansas is in a unique spot, too, because it’s the week before we head to Charlotte for the All-Star and for the 600, so you’re trying to gather as much data through those few weeks because Charlotte is a very important race in the Playoffs, as well.”

Kansas hasn’t always been a strong racetrack for you but, as of late, that seems to be changing. Do you agree?

“Kansas has been a good track and a tough track. It’s fun to go race there and, with the way the tires change and the downforce has changed, I haven’t quite found that perfect combination to win. But, as of late, we consider it one of our strong tracks.”

What has been the key to your three top-10 finishes in three of your four most recent starts at Kansas?

“I think it’s a matter of being on the right pit strategy and understanding when to pit for the final time. Track position becomes so important at these fast mile-and-a-half tracks that, if you are stuck around 10th or 12th, there is no way to crack that top-five. You’ve got to be there before the final sequences start. But, honestly, a big part of it has been having this great car setup by Tony Gibson and everyone on the Haas Automation/Monster Energy team.”

What is one part of the racetrack or your driving style that you’ve had to work on at Kansas over the years?

“It always seems like turn four is the toughest part about Kansas, whether it’s the wind angle or the sharper corner exit with the SAFER Barrier jumping out at the cars. You either lose a lot of time or gain a lot of time in turn four at Kansas.”

 

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 11 of 36 – Go Bowling 400 – Kansas

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

 

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 Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Built new for 2017, Chassis No. 1040 debuted in March at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, when Busch battled an ill-handling racecar to a 17th-place finish.
Kansas Speedway Notes of Interest:
  • Kurt Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 126 top-five finishes and 248 top-10s in 586 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Saturdaynight’s Go Bowling 400at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. His most recent NASCAR Cup Series win came in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Sunday’s Go Bowling 400 will mark Busch’s 23rd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Kansas. Busch has two top-five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval.Additionally, the 38-year-old driver has led 260 laps, has an average starting position of 16.5, an average finish of 16.9, and has completed 94 percent (5,474 of 5,824) of the laps he’s contested there
  • Busch’s best finish at Kansas came in October 2013, when he came home second. Busch started from the back of the field in a backup car.
  • The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (June 2011) at Kansas. Busch has 21 career NASCAR Cup Series poles.
  • In his last four starts at Kansas, Busch owns one top-five finish and three top-10s.
  • Testing, Testing – Busch and the No. 41 team spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta participating in a Goodyear tire test in preparation for the July 8 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
  • Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, one top-five finish and five top-10s in 10 starts.
  • Get to the Points – With his sixth-place finish Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Busch enters Kansas 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, 201 points behind series leader Kyle Larson.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Kansas – In 42 overall starts at Kansas, SHR has earned two wins, eight top-five finishes and 13 top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 498 laps and have completed 94.2 percent of the laps contested (10,582 of 11,232).
  • SHR in 2017 – 10 races into the 2017 season, SHR Ford Fusions have recorded one pole, one win, six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. They have completed 12,142 of 12,932 laps contested and have collectively led 471 laps.
  • The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:
    • Ø  Kraft Tool Co. Founded in 1981, Kraft Tool Co. continues to maintain high standards of manufacturing only quality products made in the USA. As a trusted name in the hand tool industry, Kraft Tool is proud of the “Hand Krafted” workmanship attributed to every product. The company’s goal is simple: Maintain quality, provide good service and offer new innovative products.
    • Ø  Haas Factory Outlet, Kansas City, a division of NYMAT Machine Tool Corporation. Located at 15661 South Mahaffie in Olathe, Kansas, HFO Kansas City serves all of Kansas and Western Missouri. They are dedicated to providing the best service possible, to ensure the Haas machines they sell provide the best overall value of any machine tool brand.

Courtesy: True Speed Communication

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