Kurt Busch running strong, but still yet to reach Victory Lane in 2016

Kurt Busch quietly crept into the top-five in the standings with his podium finish at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.

Kurt Busch running strong, but still yet to reach Victory Lane in 2016
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, Tony Gibson, crew chief
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

There was nothing flashy about the No. 41 Haas Automation team’s performance. And there was nothing out of the ordinary about Busch’s solid drive. He simply capitalized on another solid qualifying effort (fourth), then wheeled his car to a third-place finish — matching his best run (Bristol) of the year.

“We battled hard,” Busch said after his third top-five finish of 2016. “I was trying to find all the different lines on the track to find speed. We did a lot of things good and to win you’ve got to be great.  We are right there, we are knocking on the door.”

Quiet, but fast

Busch is still looking for his first win in 2016. Yes, he’s been close this season. Consistent runs have enabled Busch to be in striking distances in the first 11 races. He’s earned two poles and is just one of three drivers on the tour with only two finishes outside of the top 10.    

Only Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Harvick, who currently leads the standings, have completed every lap raced. Busch has led 189 circuits. He just hasn’t led the final lap.

“We are good, we are doing everything right we just have to find that last little step to be great,” Busch said. “Tony Gibson (crew chief) really knows how to lead these guys and we are just knocking on the door in all the right areas.  We just have to put it together for that total piece.  

“We are so far the best car that hasn’t won a race and I know if we keep this effort up it will come to us.”

Looking for a win at the Monster Mile

Busch is the top driver in the standings without a win. But with only six drivers earning all 11 races, it’s been difficult for the field to break through this season. Busch will try to change that this weekend at Dover International Speedway. 

Gibson and crew have prepared chassis No. 933 for Busch. The car debuted at Charlotte last May and has since posted two top-fives — including third at Bristol last month and four top-10 finishes. 

Busch, who won the fall race at Dover in 2011, says the key to taming the Monster Mile is pacing oneself.

“You’re just on edge there and, the speed that you have to carry on corner exit, you’re right there at the wall every corner exit and you do it 800 times with 400 laps and two corner exits,” Busch said. That makes it tough. This race will wear you out, for sure.

“Things happen so quickly. At any moment at any time, somebody can spin in front of you or you can lose control off the corners and you are going to wreck. There is no real forgiveness about Dover. To be good there, you have to be good on corner exit. The track really rubbers in so you can see the concrete change to black as the weekend progresses. On corner exit, you get really tight or really loose. The time I won there, I could almost hold it wide open on corner exit. That is what you’ve got to have.”

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Dover
Location Dover International Speedway
Drivers Kurt Busch
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Author Lee Spencer
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