Photo by: Stewart Haas Racing
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 17, 2018) – If one remembers the Boston Breakers, then that smart person has one solid memory. And we’re not talking about the women’s soccer team that played as the Boston Breakers from 2007 to 2017.
The Boston Breakers were formed in 1983 during the inaugural season of the United States Football League (USFL). They played at Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University and were coached by Notre Dame alum Dick Coury. Despite going 11-7 in 1983, they missed the playoffs and left town for New Orleans in 1984 and then eventually to Portland, Oregon in 1985.
The USFL ended after the 1985 season and now the Breakers are just a memory.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was living in Las Vegas during the USFL years and was quite young when the Breakers were in Boston.
But he has always enjoyed going back to New England and he’ll make his 35th trip to Loudon, New Hampshire for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301.
Busch has three wins, two second-place finishes, seven top-threes, eight top-fives, 14 top-10s and has led a total of 541 laps in his 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire.
Busch’s three NASCAR Cup Series wins at New Hampshire is tied for most among active drivers with Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
And while every win is cherished, those first two New Hampshire triumphs carry significant importance.
Busch swept the Cup Series races at New Hampshire in 2004, becoming only the second driver to accomplish that feat – Johnson being the other, having swept the 2003 events. Busch overcame a 32nd-place qualifying effort in the July race to lead twice for 110 laps en route to his first Cup Series win at the track. In September, he led three times for a race-high 155 laps en route to victory lane.
Busch’s September 2004 win at New Hampshire also was historic in that he became the first driver to win a race in NASCAR’s playoffs, which debuted that year. The victory placed Busch in a tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for first place in the championship standings and he went on to win the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Busch’s most recent victory at New Hampshire came in July 2008 in a rain-shortened race. He only led 10 laps, but they were the final 10 of the 284 contested.
Heading back to New England, Busch is hoping to score victory number four at New Hampshire and that will “break” him into the NASCAR playoffs.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Your record at New Hampshire is pretty stout. Why is that?
“It’s a track that has been pretty good to me since I started racing in the top series of this sport. I raced there for the first time in the Truck Series and won that race. Then, it’s a track where I have three wins in the Cup cars and, when you’re able to go to a track where you’ve had that kind of success, it just gives you confidence. Because of the wins and everything, it’s a place we go to where I feel like I especially know what it takes from the car and the driver to be successful.”
Are the challenges at New Hampshire the same as always, or does the track change from year to year?
“It seems like it has changed a little bit toward the end of the race with a lot of aggressive restarts. That is when you gain positions, or it’s easy to lose positions. Everybody is out there elbows out, pushing hard, and you hope to not have trouble.”
What do you need your car to do really well at New Hampshire to have a chance to win?
“It’s got to be able to cut in the center of the corner, cut underneath guys, look to get to that bottom lane and drive up off the corner and get side-by-side with guys. That way, you have position on corner exit.”
With New Hampshire being a tight and flat mile oval, it has some short-track characteristics in that there’s close racing and sometimes contact is made. If you inadvertently get into someone, do you try to right that wrong so it doesn’t come back to bite you later?
“It depends upon the circumstances but, yes. Usually, you’re trying to keep your eye on the main prize, which is victory lane at the end of the day. If you have a run-in early in the race, that guy is going to be trying to find you or you’re looking over your shoulder. So if you can sort of hit a reset button and right a mistake, you do that, but not at the expense of taking yourself out of position for the win.”
Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 20 of 36 – Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 – New Hampshire
Car No.: 41 – Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion
PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704) 875-3388 ext. 808 or Joe.Crowley@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Billy Scott
Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida
Car Chief: Tony Cardamore
Hometown: Bristol, Virginia
Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina
Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples
Hometown: Hudson, Illinois
Spotter: Tony Raines
Hometown: LaPorte, Indiana
Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois
Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Jewell, Iowa
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Tim Hussey and Larry Lush
Hometowns: Asheboro, North Carolina, and Waynesville, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire
Hometown: Palmyra, New York
Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn
Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut
Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee
Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Mechanic: Nick McIntosh
Hometown: Harve, Montana
Mechanic: Joe Zanolini
Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania
New Hampshire Notes of Interest:
- The Foxwoods Resort Casino 400 will mark Kurt Busch’s 632nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 35th career NASCAR Cup Series start at New Hampshire. Busch has three wins, two second-place finishes, seven top-threes, eight top-fives, 14 top-10s and has led a total of 541 laps in his 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire. His average start is 11.6, his average finish is 16.2 and his lap-completion rate is 94.7 percent – 9,556 of the 10,088 laps available.
- Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 24 poles, 134 top-fives, 268 top-10s and 9,206 laps led in 631 career starts.
- His most recent Cup Series win came 55 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).
- His last Cup Series pole came five races ago at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 8).
- Before Red Sox Swept Cardinals, Busch Swept New Hampshire – In 2004, the Boston Red Sox ended the “Curse of the Bambino” and won their first World Series since 1918 by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals. Well before this October classic of all classics, Busch swept the NASCAR Cup Series races at New Hampshire in 2004. He overcame a 32nd-place qualifying effort in July 2004 to lead twice for 110 laps en route to his first Cup Series win at New Hampshire. His second win came in September, when he led three times for a race-high 155 laps. Busch went on to win the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
- When Busch won at New Hampshire in September 2004, he became the first driver to win a race in NASCAR’s playoffs. The victory placed Busch in a tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for first place in the championship standings.
- Busch is one of only two drivers to have swept the slate of NASCAR Cup Series races at New Hampshire. The other is Jimmie Johnson, who swept the pair of Cup Series races in 2003.
- Busch’s most recent win at New Hampshire came in July 2008 when he won the rain-shortened NASCAR Cup Series race. He only led 10 laps, but they were the final 10 of the 284-lap contest.
- Busch’s three NASCAR Cup Series wins at New Hampshire ties him for the most among active drivers, joining Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
- New Hampshire is one of 10 racetracks where Busch does not have a NASCAR Cup Series pole. He has, however, earned two second-place starting positions (July 2007 and 2013).
- Busch’s first career start at New Hampshire came on July 8, 2000 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. It was a fantastic first race as Busch qualified his Ford F-150 fifth and then led the final 35 laps en route to the win. It remains Busch’s only Truck Series start at New Hampshire.
- 9,000 and counting – By leading 98 laps in the April race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, Busch became just the 21st driver to lead 9,000 laps in his NASCAR career. He is now 20th in the laps-led standings, having led 9,206 laps, and he’s 538 laps behind Buddy Baker while he is 124 laps ahead of 21st-place Denny Hamlin. Busch is fifth among active drivers in laps led.
- Get to the Points – With his sixth-place finish Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Busch is seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 601 points. He has three top-five finishes, 10 top-10s and 13 top-15s in 19 races.
- Busch has been in the top-10 in points for 14 consecutive weeks. The last time he was in the top-10 for 14 consecutive weeks was when he was in the top-10 for the first 27 races of the 2016 season.