Kurt Busch has been successful at road-course racing throughout his NASCAR career.
It started in 2000 as a young driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He finished second in the road-course race at Watkin Glen (N.Y.) International and 11th at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway. In his three NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Watkins Glen, he started first in each, won two (2006 and 2011) and finished third in 2007. In these three races Busch led 98 of the 250 laps available (39.2 percent).
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Busch swept the poles for both road-course races in 2006. He won his fifth career Cup Series pole at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June and sixth at Watkins Glen in August, marking the only Cup Series poles Busch has earned on a road course.
He scored his first Cup Series road-course victory at Sonoma in 2011, leading 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, leading the final 23 laps.
That means only Watkins Glen is left for Busch to score a road course victory in the Cup Series and he’s hoping the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion is up to the challenge. He has finished in the top-11 the last four years at The Glen, highlighted by a third-place drive in 2014.
Busch will have help from crew chief Tony Gibson, who was a car chief for Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon from 1999 until 2001. The team won both road-course races in 1999 (and the pole at Sonoma), won at Sonoma in 2000 and won at Watkins Glen in 2001.
Busch is hoping he can be a force on the road course as NASCAR’s summer stretch rolls on.