Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), ended an 83-race winless streak Sunday by winning the STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Now, he has an even bigger task for this Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth – to live up to the standard of his sponsor Haas Automation, a company built to deliver high accuracy, durability and repeatability. Heavy emphasis on the latter standard, in this case.
Haas Automation, the largest machine tool builder in the western world, manufactures a complete line of CNC vertical machine centers, horizontal machining centers, CNC lathes and rotary products. The company also builds a variety of specialty machines, including five-axis machining centers, toolroom machines and gantry routers.
Haas machine tools are built to the exacting specifications of company founder and SHR co-owner Gene Haas to deliver on these standards of higher accuracy, durability and repeatability. It is now up to Busch, rookie crew chief Daniel Knost, and the No. 41 crew members to embody Haas’ repeatability mantra from Haas Automation and deliver a highly accurate and calculated performance that will earn the team back-to-back trips to victory lane, this time at Texas Motor Speedway.
It was only their sixth Sprint Cup Series start together when Busch and the No. 41 team scored their first win last weekend at Martinsville, which followed a third-place finish the week before at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The back-to-back top-five results have set the bar high for the newly formed No. 41 team.
That level of precision and accuracy, accompanied by the fact Busch already has a Sprint Cup Series win at Texas have heightened expectations for this weekend’s Duck Commander 500.
In November 2009, Busch started third and led 89 laps en route to a Sprint Cup Series win at the 1.5-mile Texas oval. Busch also qualified second and started on the front row last April at Texas for his best career qualifying effort there.
While Busch’s win at Martinsville virtually guarantees his No. 41 team a spot in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, he and his Daniel Knost-led crew certainly want to score additional wins to cement his presence in the playoffs. Busch is one of six single-race winners at the season’s opening six events, and a win this weekend would move Busch and the No. 41 team ahead of his fellow 2014 race-winning competitors in pursuit of a playoff berth.
In 22 career starts at Texas, Busch has one win, three top-five and 12 top-10 finishes with an average finish of 15th. He also has led 235 laps at Texas, most recently when he led 50 laps in April of 2011.