Thursday, February 22, 2018

Kurt Busch goes for fourth Atlanta win

Kurt Busch is 30/1 to win at Atlanta.
Three Times a Winner at Atlanta 
Busch won his first race at Atlanta in October 2002. He had the strongest car of the afternoon, leading a race-high 84 laps and holding the point when rain stopped the race after 248 of a scheduled 325 laps. His second Atlanta win came in March 2009, when he again had a dominant car, leading 235 of the eventual 330 laps to claim the victory in a green-white-checkered finish. His most-recent Atlanta win came in 2010 when, for the second year in a row, he won the spring race. He was in the lead when a horrific accident sent the race into overtime. He was in the lead during the first green-white-checkered finish, when another accident involving seven cars sent the race into another extended period. He was able to hold on and score the win in the second green-white-checkered finish.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

How do you switch gears from all that is Speedweeks at Daytona and go about your business on a normal race weekend like you will at Atlanta? 
“Atlanta is the first mile-and-a-half track, the regular season kicks off there and you have that feel of, alright, this is the repetition of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Daytona was different this time around because of the new ride-height rule and how stiff the rear springs are. So this really gets us into the regular season and all of the R&D work that went on during the offseason. It really comes into play at Atlanta.” 

What do you think about the decision by Atlanta Motor Speedway management to continue racing on the old track surface rather than repave it after last year’s event? 
“The decision was made and I think it was primarily based on the drivers’ comments. The drivers don’t have a union, so to speak, or a race driver alliance like the teams do so, ultimately, Bruton Smith, Marcus Smith and the staff at Atlanta Motor Speedway had to make a decision and they went off what the drivers had to say. I’m hoping the old surface continues to make it where it’s about tire management and you see the multiple lanes and the grooves widen out, and the race is going to come down to that last pit stop. While it’s about which lane you’re in and how well you’ve done on tire management at the point, it also could be a 30- or 50-lap run at the end where it’ll be obvious who saved their tires. I applaud Atlanta’s effort and we’ll have to make sure the asphalt doesn’t tear up too much and hurt the cars, but we are going to be slip-sliding around and it’s going to be pretty neat.”  

We saw at Daytona that finishing position at the end of each stage seems to be more important than ever. Do you expect that trend to continue? 
“I think this whole season in 2018 we’re going to see each of the stages a bit more aggressive where people are going to try to gain those points and to win those stages because you need those bonus points to help cover you or protect you in the playoffs. If you don’t have them, you’re now working from behind in the playoffs. We’ll see it probably right away – guys will be out to win those first and second stages early in the season and on through the rest of the regular season.”

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