Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kurt Busch using same road course chassis from 2015

Kurt Busch is 6/1 favorite to win at Sonoma.
Chassis No. 942: 
Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 942 in Sunday’s Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Built new for 2015, Chassis 942 debuted last June at Sonoma, when Busch started second and led 43 laps en route to a second-place finish. It was last raced in August 2015 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, where Busch overcame a pit-road penalty to finish fifth. 

Sonoma Raceway Notes of Interest: 
 Kurt Busch has career totals of 28 wins, 21 poles, 121 top-five finishes and 235 top-10s in 555 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. His most recent Sprint Cup win came June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. 
 The Save Mart 350k will mark Busch’s 16th career Sprint Cup start at Sonoma. Busch has one win, one pole, seven top-five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.99-mile road course. Additionally, the 37-year-old driver has led 197 laps, has an average starting position of 9.2, an average finish of 14.8, and has completed 99 percent (1,642 of 1,659) of the laps he’s contested there. 
 Previous Winner – Busch started 11th in the 2011 Sonoma race and took the lead for the first time on lap 13, where he stayed for the next 19 circuits around the 1.99-mile road course. He relinquished the lead twice for green-flag pit stops but took over the top spot for the final time on lap 88. He would lead the final 23 laps for a total of 76 laps led en route to the victory – his first Sprint Cup win on a road course.
 The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (June 2006) at Sonoma. Busch has 21 career Sprint Cup poles. 
 Road-Course Averages – In his 30 Sprint Cup Series starts at road-course facilities – Sonoma and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International – Busch has accumulated one win, 10 top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. He has led 259 laps in those races and has completed 2,892 of 3,013 possible laps. 
 Thus Far in 2016 … Busch has accumulated one win, two poles, five top-five finishes and a series-leading 13 top-10s in 15 starts. Busch is also the only driver to have completed every lap this season. 
 Get to the Points – With his 10th-place finish two weeks ago in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Busch enters Sonoma second in the Sprint Cup driver standings. 
 SHR at Sonoma – In 19 overall starts at Sonoma, SHR-prepared Chevrolets have earned four top-five finishes and five top-10s, have been atop the leaderboard for 82 laps, and have completed 99 percent of the laps contested (2,078 of 2,100). 
 SHR in 2016 – 15 races into the 2016 season, SHR’s four Sprint Cup entries have recorded two wins, two poles, 12 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s. SHR Chevrolets have completed 18,369 of 18,656 laps contested and collectively have led 935 laps

Kurt Busch favored to win at Sonoma in Las Vegas for good reason
While Busch would not consider himself a road-racing ace, he has developed a solid skill set for the tracks that feature both left- and right-hand turns. Busch is hoping to add to his already impressive Sonoma resume by scoring his second win of the season in this weekend’s 110-lap event.

Having already found victory lane in 2016 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway earlier this month, winning this weekend at Sonoma would show the depth of the team and its ability to win at a variety of racetracks. Busch and the Monster Energy/Haas Automation team have little to worry about in terms of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

They can head to Sonoma feeling less pressure and welcome the opportunity to race aggressively for additional wins. The 28-time Sprint Cup race winner will look to earn additional points for the postseason as the 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their points total reset to 2,000 and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per win – earned prior to the start of the Chase. 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Talk about racing at Sonoma. 
“Sonoma will be fun this year. A new tire, lower downforce, we are already sliding around out there a ton. This will definitely challenge the teams to build a quality car that all the fat has to be trimmed off. You are trying to run it as light weight as possible to not chew up the tires. It will be a tough race this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how that one plays out. I’ll be headed there after the off week, which I spent enjoying some time in the Middle East with Haas F1.” 
What is the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about racing at Sonoma? 
“Sonoma has always been a sentimental favorite to me – I think that track helped put me on the map when I won there in a Southwest Tour race in 1999. The garage area sometimes grumbles when we go to road courses. I think that mentality has changed. Everybody has to accept that road courses are part of the NASCAR culture. There are the few who still think Sonoma is a tough track and they don’t find it quite as appealing as Watkins Glen. For me, I grew up racing there, so it’s easy for me to see it as part of the NASCAR culture.” 
How did you learn to drive on a road course? 
“It might sound odd, but I learned to road-course race by driving a Legends car. That was big in the mid-’90s in the Desert Southwest and they would let us run on the infield road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as the exterior road course there. We also raced road-course races at Buttonwillow, they had a street-course race at Los Angeles, and they raced up in Sonoma. I was just kind of thrown into the fire with road-course racing, but I loved it from the first time I jumped on track.” What do you like about road-course racing? “I just like the rhythm. I like how you use one corner to help you in the next corner. You have to be thinking three corners ahead, sometimes. Plus, it’s a compromise on the setup. You’re never going to be perfect on all the corners, so you have to shoot for the middle in all of them.”

- True Speed Communications

Sonoma Raceway Data

Season Race #: 16 of 36 (06-28-15)
TV: FS1 at 3 p.m. ET
Track Size: 1.99-miles
Number of Turns: 12
Race Length: 110 laps / 219 miles / 350 Kilometers

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Sonoma
Kurt Busch................................ 109.3
Jimmie Johnson........................ 101.0
Tony Stewart.............................. 98.1
Clint Bowyer............................... 96.7
Ryan Newman............................ 88.5
Kyle Busch................................. 88.3
Carl Edwards.............................. 88.3
Jamie McMurray......................... 87.1
Kevin Harvick.............................. 86.9
Kasey Kahne.............................. 86.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (11 total) among active drivers at Sonoma Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2015 pole winner:
AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet
96.310 mph, 74.385 secs. 06-27-15

2015 race winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
74.774 mph, (02:55:39), 06-28-15

Track qualifying record:

Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
96.568 mph, 74.186 secs. 06-27-15

Track race record:

Clint Bowyer, Toyota
83.624 mph, (02:39:55), 06-24-12

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