Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Two-time Richmond winner Kurt Busch is 50-to-1 this week

Kurt Busch is 50/1 to win at Richmond on Sunday.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Mobil 1 Advanced Protection Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

How much does a short-track move, like what Ricky Stenhouse did to Kyle Busch at Martinsville, pushing him out of the way at the end of the stage, open everybody’s eyes? 
“I think that moment at Martinsville is a perfect definition to the stage racing. It creates opportunities for many different things to happen, whether you’re a lapped car or you’re the leader. Short tracks, superspeedways, road courses – those are the three types of tracks that I thought would be impacted the most by stage racing. At the mile-and-a-half racetracks, we get a little bit spread out, yet there are still certain things you do because certain mile-and-a-halves chew up the tires, big-time, compared to other mile-and-a-half tracks, so the pit strategy still gets sprinkled in. I think what happened at Martinsville is a perfect definition of what the stage racing was meant to do.” 

Why do you like racing at Richmond so much, and why do you think it suits your driving style? “There are things you have to do on a short track to work on conserving the tires. Also, making sure you are good on the short run, making sure you are good on the long run, because restarts have become so much more important over the last couple of years. You don’t know if you are going to have a long run to finish the race or if you are going to have short run. You’ve just got to be ready for everything and, it seems like, at the short tracks, the preferred lane on restarts is becoming more and more important. You hope you are on the inside lane when it comes down to one of the final few restarts and, that way, you are able to gain positions instead of having to be on the defense. Richmond is a fun track. They used to call it the action track. That was when the groove would widen out and get to two, three lanes wide. We always hope to get back to that and it’s a matter of finding the right tire and the right downforce combination to allow the cars to race competitively, side-by-side, in safe situations. That is what we want to do – put on a good show.” 

What is the hardest thing to figure out at Richmond? 
“For me, it’s turn four. The races I’ve won there, I had a good car on the exit of turn four. Races I’ve lost or ran poorly, my exit of turn four wasn’t that good. It’s really a tough corner to get good traction put down.”

Chassis No. 973: Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 973 in Sunday’s Richmond 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Built new for 2016, Chassis No. 973 debuted at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May, when Busch finished third. It was scheduled to race in July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, but Busch was forced to a backup car after making contact with the outside retaining wall in final practice. Chassis No. 973 was repaired and raced in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, when Busch was in position to score a top- 10 finish, but contact from behind on the final lap of the race would see him take the checkered flag 16th. Chassis No. 973 next raced at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in August, when Busch rallied for a 12th-place finish after battling a loose-handling racecar from the start of the race all the way to the checkered flag. Chassis No. 973 was most recently utilized at Kansas in October, when it was pulled off the truck as a backup car. Busch had to start from the rear of the field, but persevered and brought home a 13th-place finish. Since then, the car has received chassis updates and the body has been updated for 2017.

Richmond International Raceway Notes of Interest:

 Kurt Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 126 top-five finishes and 246 top-10s in 584 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s Richmond 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. His most recent NASCAR Cup Series win came in February at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the season-opening Daytona 500.

 Sunday’s Richmond 400 will mark Busch’s 33rd career NASCAR Cup Series start at Richmond. Busch has two wins, six top-five finishes and 13 top-10s at the .75-mile oval. Additionally, the 38-year-old driver has led 806 laps, has an average starting position of 17.4, an average finish of 16.1, and has completed 98.3 percent (12,592 of 12,816) of the laps he’s contested there.

 Previous Winner – Busch owns a pair of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories at Richmond. The first came in September 2005, when Busch started fifth and led 185 laps en route to victory. Busch scored his second Richmond victory in April 2015. He turned in a dominating performance, leading six times for a race-high 291 laps, to score his first win of the 2015 season.

 In addition to his pair of victories at Richmond, he has two runner-up finishes at the Virginia short track. The first came in September 2009 while his most recent runner-up finish came in September 2013.

- True Speed Communication

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