Kurt Busch had an uneventful night in the 30th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), started 18th and finished 11th in the annual non-points race featuring drivers who met one of the following criteria:
- Won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2013 or 2014.
- Is a past All-Star Race winner.
- Is a Sprint Cup champion from the past 10 years.
- Won Friday night’s Sprint Showdown.
- Was the runner-up in the Sprint Showdown.
- Won the Sprint Fan Vote.
The 90-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval was broken up into five segments of 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps and featured a 22-driver field.
Busch qualified with the ninth-fastest time but was assessed a five-second penalty for a loose lugnut, which dropped him back to the 18th starting position. Busch, who missed all of Sprint All-Star practice on Friday, raced in the 18th position until the end of the first 20-lap segment. During his first pit stop at the end of segment one, the No. 41 team made a two-tire change that moved them from 18th to fourth.
In the second 20-lap segment, Busch radioed the team that he was a little tight rolling the center of the corners, yet he was able to hold on and finish the second segment in the fifth position. The No. 41 made a four-tire pit stop following the second segment and moved from fifth to 10th position to start the third segment.
In the third 20-lap segment, a tight handling condition dropped the No. 41 Chevrolet back to the 15th position. But crew chief Daniel Knost again ordered a two-tire pit stop that moved the team from 15th position up to fourth for the start of the fourth segment.
In that final 20-lap segment, Busch was able to maintain fourth-place despite a tight handling condition. Busch had the 10th-best average finishing position for the first four segments, which meant that he was moved to the 10th position before the final pit stop.
Busch took four tires on the final pit stop and started in ninth for the final 10-lap dash for the $1 million prize. Unfortunately, the No. 41 Chevrolet continued to struggle with a tight condition that dropped Busch back to 11th by the checkered flag.
“We just didn’t have the balance we needed tonight to get the job done,” Busch said. “We had a decent night, and I thought our average finish in the first four segments would have been better than 10th, but we did the best with what we had tonight. I would have loved to have a chance at that $1 million prize, but hopefully we learned some things for next week and we’ll be ready to go.”