Kurt Busch Trigonometry

Anyone who paid attention in math class knows that a triangle has three sides. Most NASCAR fans know that most racetracks have four corners. So it’s a little unusual for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track to mirror the aforementioned triangle as opposed to the aforementioned four-cornered track configuration.

But that’s exactly what happens this weekend when the teams and drivers converge upon Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, otherwise known as the “Tricky Triangle.” Designed in 1965 by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward, it features three different corners, each modeled after a different track, and one of the longest straightaways on the circuit.

Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the legendary Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile.

Kurt Busch is one driver who not only has plenty of experience at the 2.5-mile triangle, he’s experienced plenty of success along the way. The driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) heads into the race weekend a two-time Pocono winner, along with a pole, 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s, to augment his impressive stats in 27 career starts at the 2.5-mile triangle. Busch has led laps in 17 of those races, including a record-setting 175 circuits spent atop the leaderboard en route to his win in August 2007. He also finished third in this event a year ago.

Additionally, Busch’s solid performance statistics extend beyond tradition and into some pretty stout loop data numbers as he ranks in the top-five in a several categories, including laps led, fastest laps run, speed in traffic, green-flag speed and average running position. Add it all up and it equates to a third-place driver rating, placing Busch behind only six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who’s second, and perennial Pocono favorite Denny Hamlin, who’s first.

The Haas Automation team will look to improve upon last year’s third-place finish by getting Busch his third Pocono victory and their second of the 2015 season. While Busch and the No. 41 team are virtually guaranteed a spot in the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoffs thanks to their win earlier this season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, additional victories would move Busch ahead of the six other single-race winners of the 2015 season. The 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their points total reset to 2,000 and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per win – earned prior to the start of the Chase.