Kurt Busch Bonus Points

For Kurt Busch and the No. 41 Haas Automation Racing team, their goal for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway is pretty simple.

Having all-but clinched a berth in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship thanks to their wins at Richmond in April and in June at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Richmond won’t be the pressure-filled, high-stakes race that it will be for other teams still fighting to make their way into the 10-race playoff that will crown the 2015 champion. There’s no win-to-get-in or Chase-clinching scenario for Busch’s No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team to study, plan for or worry about heading into the weekend.

Busch will make his ninth career and third consecutive appearance in The Chase once he attempts to qualify for Saturday night’s race. Knowing that once this formality has been completed, the Haas Automation team will formally become part of the championship picture. That leaves them with just one goal for Saturday night. Win.

A win at Richmond would move Busch ahead of the three other two-time race winners of the 2015 season thus far. The 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their point totals reset to 2,000, and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per regular-season win. That would enable Busch, currently seeded seventh, to jump to fifth.

So, it’s all about the three bonus points for Busch this weekend. In 29 Sprint Cup starts at Richmond, Busch has 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 when the Sprint Cup Series last visited the .75-mile short track in April. He turned in a dominating performance, leading six times for a race-high 291 laps, to score his first win of the 2015 Sprint Cup season. Busch also has a NASCAR Xfinity Series win there, which came in April 2012.

There’s no doubt Busch has the know-how and the determination needed to put his No. 41 Haas Automation Chevy in victory lane at the .75-mile oval known as “The Action Track” and collect the valuable bonus points in advance of the Chase.

This weekend, Busch hopes to repeat his April performance, collecting another win and adding some more bonus points to his tally in preparation for the playoffs. After all, winning is what it is all about.