*Sweep Success: Kurt Busch looks for his third straight victory at New Hampshire DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 12, 2005) -- As the only track in both the "Race for the Chase" and the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup", New Hampshire International ...
*Sweep Success: Kurt Busch looks for his third straight victory at New Hampshire
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 12, 2005) -- As the only track in both the "Race for the Chase" and the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup", New Hampshire International Speedway may provide the answers to many teams' questions.
Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford), the only driver to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at New Hampshire last year, already may know those answers.
He led a combined 265 of 600 laps in both wins, and his July victory bumped him from ninth to sixth in the point standings. It also gave him some breathing room as he secured a spot in the inaugural "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup".
Back to 2005. Eight races remain in the current "Race for the Chase" -- a 10-race stretch that began with the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway and ends with race No. 26 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10. Following the Richmond event, the top 10 drivers -- and any driver within 400 points of the leader -- are eligible to compete for the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" over the last 10 races of the season. The "Chase" begins when the series returns to New Hampshire on Sept. 18.
"Our second trip here in September marks the start of the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," Busch said. "This is a track where our team feels it is vital to run well."
Entering Sunday's New England 300, Busch, the defending series champion, sits 10th in the point standings. He leads 11th-place Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) by 33 points. And based on last year's performance at New Hampshire, Busch may extend that lead.
"We're in contention right now, but not where we want to be to feel comfortable," Busch said. "But we're only 50 points or so out of fifth place, so the points are extremely competitive right now, and Loudon would be a great place to gain some ground."
In last year's Siemens 300, Busch started 32nd and did not take the lead for the first time until Lap 171. After losing the lead during yellow flag pit stops, Busch regained the top spot for good on Lap 233. He held off Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) by 0.607 seconds to claim his second victory of 2004.