Photo by: Stewart Haas
KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (June 19, 2018) – Kurt Busch has found victory lane on nearly every type of circuit the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series offers.
From the shortest racetrack – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – to the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) had won at almost every type of track. He’s won on racetracks ranging in length from .526 of a mile, .533 of a mile, .75 of a mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles, 1.99 miles, 2 miles and 2.5-miles. He’d celebrated in victory lane at the high-banked ovals and flat tracks.
He’s found his way to victory lane at 15 of 23 active racetracks and one of those 15 is Sonoma, site of Sunday’s Save Mart 350k.
And has he been good at Sonoma. Busch has one pole, one win, four top-threes, seven top-fives, eight top-10s and has led a total of 197 laps in his 17 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Sonoma.
His average start is 9.4, his average finish is 14.1 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.1 percent, completing 1,862 of the 1,879 laps available.
Busch’s seven top-fives at Sonoma puts him in a tie with his SHR teammate Clint Bowyer for the most of all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
Busch’s only road-course win in the Cup Series came at Sonoma in 2011 and it was a dominant victory as he led a race-high 76 laps. He passed Denny Hamlin for the lead on lap 13 and stayed out front for the next 19 circuits around the 1.99-mile track. He relinquished the lead twice for scheduled, green-flag pit stops and took over the top spot for the final time on lap 88, then led the final 23 laps.
He’s even had success at Sonoma in the NASCAR Southwest Tour Series, finishing third in 1998 after starting 19th and winning the 1999 race after starting third.
Busch is coming off a historic 1-2-3 finish for SHR two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Bowyer won the event with Kevin Harvick second and Busch third.
Busch is hoping he can score his first victory of 2018 this week at Sonoma.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
We used to see supposed road-course ringers show up at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, but that’s pretty rare now.
Why do you think that is?
“If you’re a good driver and you want to be in the top tier of NASCAR, you’ve got to drive well everywhere. The road courses were a bit more of a specialty back in the day and you used to be able to take advantage of the guys who didn’t put forth the full effort in the road courses, but not anymore.”
You’ve proven to be a pretty good road-course driver. Was it something you took to right away or did you really have to work at it to enjoy the success you’ve had?
“I really enjoyed it right off the bat. I thought it was fun and different and I worked at it to develop the skills that I have in Legends car races and Late Model races. I even went to the Bob Bondurant Driving School. My first professional type of road-course race was in the Truck Series. I jumped right in there. (Greg) Biffle won that day and I beat Ron Fellows.”
You mentioned that racing Legends cars was how you were first introduced to road-course racing. Where did you race?
“Legends racing 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 ran road-course races at Buttonwillow (Raceway Park) and they had a street-course race in 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.”
You won the 1999 NASCAR Southwest Tour race at Sonoma. Was that your first road-course win in a stock car? Was it a pivotal victory considering NASCAR teams were there and you were able to showcase your talents to Cup Series car owners and crew chiefs?
“That was my first win in a stock car at a road course. I’ve always believed that Saturday race was the most important stage to stand on because there wasn’t a Truck Series race or an Xfinity Series race. Back in the day, the Southwest Tour race was the support race, and my race was live on ESPN. I’ve always thought Sonoma helped springboard me into the spotlight, and I’m very thankful for that chance.”
How important is it to have a positive mindset when you come into a road-course race?
“I love road racing and I think it’s fun. It’s important to have a positive mindset everywhere, but it’s not problem for me at the road courses.”
What do you like best 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.”
Is there more opportunity on a road course because mistakes are magnified and because the race is more in the driver’s hands?
“Everything seems to have a larger consequence because track position is so important. So, as soon as you have a flat tire or a fender rub or you go off track, it’s very difficult to get back the track position you once had.”
Haas Automation Racing Team Report
Round 16 of 36 – SaveMart 350 – Sonoma Raceway
Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation 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 and Tim Hussey
Hometowns: Waynesville, North Carolina and Asheboro, 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
Sonoma Notes of Interest:
- The SaveMart 350K will mark Kurt Busch’s 628th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 18th at Sonoma Raceway. Busch has one pole, one win, four top-threes, seven top-fives, eight top-10s and has led a total of 197 laps in his 17 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Sonoma. His average start is 9.4, his average finish is 14.1 and he has a lap-completion rate of 99.1 percent, completing 1,862 of the 1,879 laps available.
- Busch has career totals of 29 wins, 24 poles, 134 top-fives, 266 top-10s and 9,140 laps led in 627 starts.
- His most recent Cup Series win came 51 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26, 2017).
- His last Cup Series pole came two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. (June 8).
- Busch’s seven top-fives at Sonoma ties him with his SHR teammate Clint Bowyer for the most of all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers.
- Busch’s only road-course win in the Cup Series came at Sonoma in 2011. It was a dominant victory as he led a race-high 76 laps. Busch passed Denny Hamlin for the lead on lap 13 and stayed out front for the next 19 circuits around the 1.99-mile track. He relinquished the lead twice for scheduled, green-flag pit stops and took over the top spot for the final time on lap 88, and he led the final 23 laps.
- 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 lap led standings having led 9,140 laps and is 604 laps behind Buddy Baker, while he is 62 laps ahead of 21st-place Denny Hamlin. Busch is fifth among active drivers in laps led.
- Busch swept the poles for both road-course races during the 2006 NASCAR Cup Series season. He won the pole at Sonoma in June to score his fifth career Cup Series pole and kept his quick pace at the series’ second and final road-course stop at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in August to earn his sixth career pole. They are the only two Cup Series poles Busch has earned on a road course.
- Busch has led laps in four of his last seven races at Sonoma, highlighted by the 76 laps he led en route to winning in 2011.
- In Busch’s last seven races at Sonoma, he has earned two top-twos, three top-threes, four top-fives and six top-10s. His only finish outside the top-10 was 12th in 2014.
- Between Sonoma and Watkins Glen, Busch has 34 road-course starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. Collectively, he has two poles, a win, 10 top-fives and 17 top-10s with 262 laps led (197 laps led at Sonoma and 65 at Watkins Glen).
- Busch has two NASCAR Southwest Tour starts at Sonoma (1998 and 1999). He finished third in 1998 after starting 19th and he won the 1999 race after starting third.
- Busch has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Watkins Glen (2006, 2007 and 2011). He started first in each of them, won two of them (2006 and 2011) and finished third in 2007. In these three races, Busch led 98 of the 250 laps available (39.2 percent).
- Busch has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts on road courses – Portland (Ore.) International Raceway and Watkins Glen. Both starts came in 2000, with Busch finishing 11th at Portland and second at Watkins Glen.
- Get to the Points – With his third-place finish two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Busch is seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 493 points. He has three top-fives, eight top-10s and 11 top-15s in 15 races.
- Busch has been in the top-10 in points for 10 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 Haas Automation Ford Fusion will have some very special partners this week at Sonoma:
Benchmark Electronics California – 42701 Christy Street in Fremont, California 94538 – www.bench.com
Benchmark provides worldwide integrated electronics manufacturing services (EMS), engineering and design services, and precision machining services to original equipment manufacturers in the following industries: industrial controls, aerospace and defense, telecommunications, computers and related products for business enterprises, medical devices, and test and instrumentation. Benchmark’s global operations include facilities in eight countries, and its common shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BHE.
CHawk Technology International, Inc.– 1256 San Luis Obispo Street in Hayward, California 94544 – www.chawktechnology.com
CHawk Technology was established in 2005 by a group of managers and technologists coming from the plastic manufacturing industry. As a management owned company, CHawk focuses its philosophy around five principles; global presence, advanced technology, operational excellency, respect for human talent and management commitment to customer satisfaction. CHawk Technology’s headquarters is in Hayward, California, the heart of Silicon Valley, with its fully owned subsidiary in Singapore, China (Suzhou), and Malaysia. CHawk Technology’s core competencies are in low to medium volume plastic component manufacturing and module assembly. The company serves equipment manufacturers in semiconductor, electronics, medical, biomedical, solar, green energy, oil and gas, testing instruments and other industrial equipment. CHawk Technology’s manufacturing processes include plastic thermoforming (vacuum, pressure and drape forming), plastic fabrication, hot gas welding, fusion and diffusion bonding, contamination free and high precision CNC machining (3-5 Axis) and module assembly.
Tesla– 1 Electric Avenue in Sparks, Nevada 89434 – www.tesla.com/gigafactory.com
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products. To achieve its planned production rate of 500,000 cars per year by 2018, Tesla alone will require today’s entire worldwide supply of lithium-ion batteries. The Tesla Gigafactory was born out of necessity and will supply enough batteries to support Tesla’s projected vehicle demand. Tesla broke ground on the Gigafactory in June 2014 outside Sparks, Nevada. The name Gigafactory comes from the word “Giga,” the unit of measurement representing “billions.” The factory’s planned annual battery production capacity is 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh), with one GWh being the equivalent of generating (or consuming) 1 billion watts for one hour. This is nearly as much as the entire world’s current battery production combined.
Zoox– 325 Sharon Park Drive, #909 in Menlo Park, California 94025 — www.zoox.com
Zoox is a robotics company founded by Tim Kentley-Klay and Dr. Jesse Levinson to create autonomous mobility. Operating at the intersection of design, computer science, and electro-mechanical engineering, Zoox is a multidisciplinary team working to imagine and build an advanced mobility experience that will support the future needs of urban mobility for both people and the environment.
Plantronics– 345 Encinal Street in Santa Cruz, California 95060 – www.plantronics.com/us
Plantronics helps provide the clearest audio while enjoying distraction-free environments with a broad range of headsets for businesses and consumers. Differentiated by the company’s innovative software, leading-edge solutions for managing noise, and the industry’s best customer support, Plantronics can be found in every company in the Fortune 100. For more than 55 years, Plantronics has been committed to helping the world’s airline pilots, call center agents, mobile professionals, music lovers, and gamers perform at their best.
Snowline Engineering– 4261 Business Drive in Cameron Park, California 95682 – www.snowlineengineering.com
Snowline Engineering is a state-of-the-art manufacturing business enterprise that specializes in precision machining, sheet metal, fabrication and assembly. Snowline Engineering was awarded Fastest Growing Company in the Sacramento (Calif.) region in 2009, 2012 and 2014 by The Sacramento Business Journal. The company is also one of the largest employers in El Dorado County. The manufacturing campus is divided into two separate buildings. Its administrative offices, some engineering and the machine shop are housed within the 35,000 square feet of Building 1. Building 2 measures 40,000 square feet and houses its fabrication departments, including engineering support for fabrication. Each building and their disciplines are supported by assembly capabilities.
Haas Factory Outlet Union City– 29250 Union City Blvd. in Union City, California 94587 – www.selwaytool.com
Haas Factory Outlet Union City, a division of Selway Machine Tool Companyis the sales and service distributor for U.S.-made Haas Automation CNC machine tools in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Haas Factory Outlets are well known for their after-sales support, terrific service, and U.S.-made Haas machine tools that offer the industry’s best overall value. Selway also supports manufacturing education through the Haas Technical Education Centers at UC Berkeley, University of Nevada Las Vegas and the University of Washington, among others.