Everyone enjoys the number 21. People who are 20 years old can’t wait to turn 21. Those playing blackjack also love the number 21.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is hoping he can lead nine laps – and hopefully many more – during Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
If he leads nine laps, he will become just the 21st driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to lead 9,000 laps in his career. Names like Petty, Allison, Earnhardt, Pearson, Gordon, Waltrip and Isaac are on that list.
Busch’s boss, Tony Stewart, is 13th on the list, while one of Busch’s teammates, Kevin Harvick, is 16th.
And there would be no better place for Busch to accomplish the mark than at Bristol.
He’s led 1,062 laps at high-banked, .533-mile oval and has collected five trophies since his rookie year in 2001. His Bristol wins in March 2002 and 2003, August 2003, and March 2004 and 2006 put him one victory behind younger brother Kyle Busch as the winningest active NASCAR Cup Series drivers at Bristol. Kyle Busch has six victories at Bristol.
Kurt Busch scored his first career Cup Series win at Bristol in March 2002. He started 27th and led 89 laps en route to his first victory. It was only his third visit to Thunder Valley, making him the only driver to record his first win at Bristol in fewer than four attempts.
Busch is one of four drivers to win three or more consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Bristol. Fred Lorenzen won three in a row starting with the fall race in 1963, followed by a sweep of both 1964 events. Cale Yarborough won four in a row with sweeps in 1976 and 1977. Darrell Waltrip won seven in a row, including sweeps in 1981, 1982 and 1983, then a win at the March 1984 race.
Everyone loves the number 21. But Busch is also hoping for number 30 – as in his 30th career win.