Photo by: Stewart Haas
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 5, 2018) – The summer stretch of races has begun on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit. The speedweeks at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway are through and the series is now venturing across the northern part of the country.
Last week’s stop was at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, and this week it moves to historic Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has three wins at Michigan, which puts him in a tie with Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson for most among active drivers. And just like he’s done at Pocono, his three wins have come with three different teams.
He scored his first win at Michigan in June 2003 driving for Roush Fenway Racing, then backed it up with a victory in August 2007 with Team Penske. His last Michigan win came in a rain-shorted race with SHR in June 2015.
Busch also qualified on the pole at the 2-mile oval in June 2010 and 2011, and he’s scored five top-five finishes there.
He’ll be looking to take Ford back to victory lane at Michigan, which is about an hour from the Detroit area, where Ford is based. The blue oval has a long history at Michigan, winning nearly half the races since the track opened in 1969. Of the 97 NASCAR Cup Series races contested at Michigan, Ford and its Mercury brand have combined for 47 wins – 35 by Ford and 12 by Mercury.
Busch is credited with one of those triumphs – June 2003, when he snatched the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go to claim his seventh career Cup Series win.
The Las Vegas native has five top-12 finishes, including a win, in his last six Michigan starts. He’s hoping to score another victory as the dog days of summer get underway.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You won the June 2003 Michigan race for Ford almost 100 years after the company was formed. Can you talk about what you remember from that experience?
“It was really neat. In my office at my house, I have a letter form Edsel Ford congratulating our team on the race win. And it’s something I framed and put in a similar format to a letter that my grandfather got from Henry Ford when he was a Ford employee. And it was really neat to have that moment and the lineage of our family of letters from the Ford family.”
What does it take to be fast at Michigan?
“Michigan is a tough place because of the way the cars have a certain grip level on fresh tires versus old tires. What I mean by that is, when you put on fresh tires, your tires are cold and they don’t grab the asphalt as well. A lot of guys try to stay out at Michigan with the hot tires on and they get better restarts. Restarts at Michigan are already pretty wild with how wide the track is and how many lanes there are for options. It comes down to just trying to put yourself in the best position with the best-percentage chance according to whether you’re on fresh tires, or by staying out, as you try to make up spots on restarts.”
What’s been the key to your success at Michigan?
“The biggest thing about Michigan is respecting the speed. It’s a very fast racetrack.”
What do you feel like is the toughest part of Michigan?
“The toughest part is turn three. It seems like the cars do this weird, four-wheel, light drift getting down in there. If your car is dialed in – and I’ve won there three times – it feels like turn three is the easiest corner. Turn three to me is the challenge each time I go there.”
Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 15 of 36 – FireKeepers Casino 400 – Michigan
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
- Michigan Notes of Interest:
The FireKeepers Casino 400 will mark Kurt Busch’s 627th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 35th at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Busch has two poles, three wins, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s at the 2-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 448 laps, has an average starting position of 13.0, an average finish of 19.5, and has completed 88.9 percent (5,902 of 6,641) of the laps he’s contested there.
- Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 23 poles, 133 top-fives, 265 top-10s and 9,094 laps led in 626 starts.
- His most recent Cup Series win came 50 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).
- His last Cup Series pole came eight races ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (April 6).
- The Las Vegas native has two poles to his credit (May 2010 and 2011) at Michigan.Busch has 23 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series poles.
- Busch has two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Michigan with a best finish of third earned in June 2012.
- Busch has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Michigan with a best finish of second earned in July 2000.
- 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 currently six laps shy of 9,100.
Three Times a Winner – Busch has raced his way to victory lane at Michigan three times in the NASCAR Cup Series and is tied with Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson for the most wins among active drivers there. Busch’s first win came in June 2003, when he snatched the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go en route to claiming his seventh Cup Series victory. His second Michigan win came in August 2007. Busch took the lead at the halfway point of the race and then dominated the second half, leading 92 of 203 laps. He held off the field in overtime to claim his 17th Cup Series victory. Busch scored his most recent Michigan victory in June 2015. He overcame adversity, winning the rain-shortened event after starting 24th in a backup racecar. He led six laps en route to his 27th career Cup Series victory.
- Get to the Points – With his 19th-place finish last week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Busch is seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 447 points. He has two top-fives, seven top-10s and 10 top-15s in 14 races.
- Busch has been in the top-10 in points for nine consecutive weeks. The last time he was in the top-10 for nine consecutive weeks was when he was in the top-10 for the first 27 races of the 2016 season.
- The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion will have a these very special partners this weekend at Michigan:
Fitz Manufacturing (http://www.fitzmanufacturing.com/index.html) Located at 324 Robbins Drive in Troy, Michigan, Fitz Manufacturing was founded in 1977 with two manual machines and has grown to 40,000 square feet of shop floor, which testifies to its commitment to its craft and the quality control that guarantees its customers 100 percent satisfaction. The Fitz Manufacturing Team has more than 100 combined years of machining experience. With that knowledge comes the expertise required to get the job done right the first time.
Precision Components (http://pctooling.com) Located at 324 Robbins Drive in Troy, Michigan, Precision Components is committed to producing the highest quality machine tools. This commitment is demonstrated not only by the quality of its products and personal service, but also by its dedication to developing new products that allow its customers to take advantage of today’s rapidly advancing technologies, such as rigid tapping.
Haas Factory Outlet Flat Rock, a division of Gerotech, Inc., (www.gerotechinc.com) Located at 29220 Commerce Drive in Flat Rock, Michigan, HFO Flat Rock is the exclusive Haas Automation CNC machine tool distributor for the Michigan Lower Peninsula “mitten.” HFOs provide factory-trained technicians, training, and excellent after-sales support. Gerotech also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at Michigan State University and Henry Ford Community College, among others.