He’s got the Daytona 500 and he’s got the 600-mile race at Charlotte.
Now he just needs Indianapolis and Darlington.
And Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion, is ready for another milestone win in Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
Only four drivers have won the four crown jewels and they are legends of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only guys to see the checkered flag first at the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500.
Busch has had some success at Darlington, nearly winning the spring race in 2003. In one of the most memorable finishes in NASCAR history, Busch came up .002 of a second shy of victory at the track “Too Tough to Tame” when he was nosed out by Ricky Craven in one of the closest finishes in Cup Series competition since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993.
Busch also finished third in 2010 and he won the pole position in September 2001 and April 2013.
And if Busch is to be successful, he’ll have to battle the odd shape of Darlington’s racing oval.
Darlington is an egg-shaped oval, 1.366 miles in length – the odd shape because the western portion of the oval needed a tighter radius on the turns as founder Harold Brasington promised Sherman Ramsey, who owned a farm next to the property, that he wouldn’t disturb his minnow pond when he built the track in 1949.
The odd shape also means that, to find the fast way around the track, drivers run against the outside walls in each turn, sometimes brushing up against the wall and thus earning what has affectionately become known as a “Darlington Stripe” on the right side of the car. And the black marks left on the walls by the tires rubbing up against them all race weekend have led to the track’s other nickname – “The Lady in Black.”
Busch is hoping he can get a little stripe on his car, on the road to victory, to get another of the four crown jewels of NASCAR.