Kurt Busch Striving for Five at Bristol

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has been looking forward to Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for weeks.

Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, has a history of success at the .533-mile bullring, starting with his first-career Sprint Cup win in the Food City 500 in March 2002. It came in only his third start at Bristol, making him the driver with the fewest starts at Thunder Valley ever to record his first win there.

But his successes didn’t stop there. He went on to win in three of his next four visits by sweeping both the March and August Sprint Cup races in 2003, and winning again in March 2004.

His incredible three-race win streak makes him one of just four drivers to have accomplished the feat at the half-mile, high-banked oval. Fred Lorenzen was the first, winning the fall race in 1963 and following that with a season sweep in 1964. Cale Yarborough is the second driver to record three straight wins – and he added a fourth for good measure – sweeping both the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Darrell Waltrip became the third to win three or more races in a row when he reeled off seven consecutive wins by sweeping the 1981, 1982 and 1983 seasons, as well as the spring race in 1984.

Busch’s most recent win at Bristol came in March 2006 and also put him on another elite list.

His five career victories at Bristol place him in a four-way tie for third on the all-time winner’s list at the track. The group of drivers ahead of Busch on that list is an elite group featuring former champions and drivers who already have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Former champion and Hall of Famer Waltrip tops the all-time list with 12 career Bristol wins. Hall of Famer Yarborough is in a three-way tie for second with nine wins, along with former Sprint Cup champions and Hall of Famers Rusty Wallace and the late Dale Earnhardt. Busch, his brother Kyle Busch, Hall of Famer David Pearson and Jeff Gordon share third-place honors on the list. The five wins each by the Busch brothers and Gordon top all active drivers.

While the Las Vegas native hasn’t visited victory lane at Bristol in nine years, his success at the track continues to speak for itself. He continues to be a favorite for a Bristol win with each visit to the track that is famously dominated by fast-paced, door-to-door action. He’d like nothing more than to become the winningest active driver this weekend, reaching Bristol’s victory lane for a sixth time.

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Speedway Digest Staff

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