Photo: Stewart Haas Racing
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (April 18, 2018) – Many folks in the NASCAR garage know that Kurt Busch is a huge fan of the three-time World Series-champion Chicago Cubs.
Wrigley Field was built in 1914, when Woodrow Wilson was in his first term as President of the United States. The Cubs began playing there in 1916, replacing the Chi-Feds from the Federal League. There have been renovations and adjustments – the addition of an upper deck in 1928, bleachers in 1937, lights in 1988 and suites in 1989.
By the time the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs in 2009, it was time for a massive renovation to the old ballpark, and now, the completion of the historic 1060 project is near, which is intended to maintain the charm of Wrigley, but also upgrade it.
The same can be said for Richmond (Va.) Raceway as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series goes to the .75-mile track for Saturday night’s Richmond 400. Some drivers may even say, “Dude, what happened to Richmond?”
Racing began in Richmond in 1946 and, in 1988, officials redesigned the track from a half-mile to a .75-mile. But it has been 30 years, and the infield is due for an upgrade. As part of a $30 million dollar renovation, the infield will be completely rebuilt with new garages, media center, victory lane and other amenities.
In 34 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond, Busch owns a pair of victories. The first came in September 2005, when Busch started fifth and led 185 laps en route to the win. Busch scored his second Richmond victory in April 2015 driving a Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR)-prepared racecar. He turned in a dominating performance, leading six times for a race-high 291 laps and holding off his teammate Kevin Harvick to score his first win of the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series season.
In addition to his success in NASCAR’s top touring series, Busch also has a NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Richmond, scoring the victory in April 2012.
Busch is hoping to take the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for SHR to victory lane for a third time at Richmond in the Cup Series.
That would be a nice “upgrade” for Busch.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Talk about the upgrades to Richmond Raceway.
“It’ll be great. Every track that redoes the garage area – places like Daytona and Vegas – they seem to make it very fan friendly. The way our atmosphere around our races has changed, everyone wants to be in the pits and, yet, you don’t want too congested of a workspace and so, to create the viewing areas and the different platforms and different places to get food and drink, it’s great for our fans to be near our workspace.
Your thoughts about the track since you starting running there in 2001?
“It’s a cool short track. It really challenges you to make sure you have the drive off as far as the forward bite off corner exit. But, there are a lot of restarts where you just have to haul the mail and cut through the center of the corner hard and lay down the hard lap times, those fast lap times. It’s a fun, challenging track. You have to be ready for a lot of things at Richmond.”
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.”
Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 9 of 36 – Richmond 400 – Richmond Raceway
Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion
PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388, ext. 808, 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 Cardamone
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: Larry Lush
Hometowns: Waynesville, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Austin Greco subbing for Nathan McGuire
Hometown: Harrisburg, N.C. and 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
Richmond Raceway Notes of Interest:
· The Richmond 400 will mark Kurt Busch’s 621st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 35th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Richmond. Busch has two wins, seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10s at the .75-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 806 laps, has an average starting position of 16.7, an average finish of 15.5, and has completed 98.4 percent (13,396 of 13,620) of the laps he’s contested there.
· Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 23 poles, 131 top-fives, 261 top-10s and 8,991 laps led in 620 starts.
· His most recent Cup Series win came 44 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).
· His last Cup Series pole came two races ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (April 6).
· 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.
· Busch has never won a pole at Richmond. His best start there is second in September 2013.
· In two starts in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition at Richmond, Busch has one win (April 2012) and two top-five finishes.
· Get to the Points – With his 22nd-place finish last week at Bristol, Busch is 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 241 points. He has three top-10 finishes in eight races.