Kurt Busch is 15th in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points. There is one race remaining before the playoff field is cut from 16 drivers to 12 and Busch is 17 points behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Austin Dillion, who are tied for 12th.
Because Busch is all in for Dover.
That’s the attitude of Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). That is also that attitude of Tony Gibson and his veteran crew.
It’s been done before – a driver on the verge of being eliminated scores a victory that propels him to the next round of the playoffs.
Busch doesn’t need to look that far as his SHR teammate Kevin Harvick has done it twice. In 2014, Harvick was in eighth place and all but eliminated but scored a huge victory at Phoenix International Raceway. Harvick locked himself into the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway and went on to win the championship.
It happened again in 2015 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway where, again, Harvick was on the verge of elimination but led 355 of 400 laps to score a victory to advance to the next round.
That’s what Busch is hoping for going into Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover.
Busch has conquered Dover once in his career – in October 2011. He pulled away from Jimmie Johnson on a pair of late-race restarts to earn his 24th NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Busch also owns nine top-10 finishes in 34 starts at the concrete oval known as the “Monster Mile,” where he’ll look to earn both his second career Dover victory and second of 2017 Sunday.
The hill is steep but Busch knows it can be climbed. Which is why they are “all-in” at Dover.