Kurt Busch: Delivering higher accuracy, repeatability.
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), ended an 83-race winless streak Sunday by winning the STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Now, he has an even bigger task for this Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth – to live up to the standard of his sponsor Haas Automation, a company built to deliver high accuracy, durability and repeatability. Heavy emphasis on the latter standard, in this case.
Haas machine tools are built to the exacting specifications of company founder and SHR co-owner Gene Haas to deliver on these standards of higher accuracy, durability and repeatability. It is now up to Busch, rookie crew chief Daniel Knost, and the No. 41 crew members to embody Haas’ repeatability mantra from Haas Automation and deliver a highly accurate and calculated performance that will earn the team back-to-back trips to victory lane, this time at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was only their sixth Sprint Cup Series start together when Busch and the No. 41 team scored their first win last weekend at Martinsville, which followed a third-place finish the week before at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The back-to-back top-five results have set the bar high for the newly formed No. 41 team.
That level of precision and accuracy, accompanied by the fact Busch already has a Sprint Cup Series win at Texas have heightened expectations for this weekend’s Duck Commander 500.
In November 2009, Busch started third and led 89 laps en route to a Sprint Cup Series win at the 1.5-mile Texas oval. Busch also qualified second and started on the front row last April at Texas for his best career qualifying effort there.
While Busch’s win at Martinsville virtually guarantees his No. 41 team a spot in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, he and his Daniel Knost-led crew certainly want to score additional wins to cement his presence in the playoffs. Busch is one of six single-race winners at the season’s opening six events, and a win this weekend would move Busch and the No. 41 team ahead of his fellow 2014 race-winning competitors in pursuit of a playoff berth.
In 22 career starts at Texas, Busch has one win, three top-five and 12 top-10 finishes with an average finish of 15th. He also has led 235 laps at Texas, most recently when he led 50 laps in April of 2011.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 HAAS Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Does momentum from Martinsville carry over to Texas? “The adrenaline of winning and accomplishing something special as a team carries over, but Martinsville is a half-mile track that is very different from the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. The way we struggled at Las Vegas earlier this year, we know that we definitely need to rebound on the 1.5-mile tracks. We need to use this adrenaline and momentum from Martinsville last week to help us at Texas. It’s a very different track and anything can happen as far as speed. The key to winning at Texas in my mind is carving through the bumps in the corners. If you can do that and hold it wide open through there, you are going to be the car to beat.”
What makes Texas Motor Speedway unique? “I just love the speeds at Texas Motor Speedway. They say that bigger is better, and everything is that way in Texas. That racetrack has that mentality. It’s big, it’s fast and it’s a fun track when you are dialed in.”
Do you have an NCAA Final Four prediction since they are playing in Texas while we are there? “I was hoping I’d get to go to the Arizona game on Saturday while we were there, but they lost by one point last weekend to Wisconsin. It’s kind of a bummer. Now, for me, college basketball season is over since my team lost. I just wadded up my bracket and threw it away. Florida has been dominant all through the tournament and that’s the only Final Four team I picked that’s still alive and competing. It’s an exciting time to watch college basketball and watch how all the games have developed and how they’ve gotten to the point they’re at now, but it just seems like the big-name programs always seem to prevail.”
Haas Automation Racing