Kurt Busch will start on the outside of the front row for Sunday’s Pocono 400. Busch’s second-place qualifying run was the best of the year for the No. 41 team.
Entering Pocono, Busch is 27th in points, but his results do not show how strong he has been throughout the year. Although his average finishing position is 26th with five DNFs, he has run inside of the top-15 on a weekly basis.
Now, Busch believes there is light at the end of the tunnel. After having just two top-10s to this point, Busch is poised to run well at Pocono – a track which he has two victories at in 25 starts. Last year, he nearly captured the checkered flag as he finished third behind Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, but this weekend might be different.
“It has speed again and now the track is warming up, so now we just need to make adjustments to the track warming up,” Busch told Speedway Digest after the first practice session on Saturday morning.
In Saturday’s first practice, Busch put up a time of 51.070 seconds which was good enough for ninth on the speed charts. His teammates, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick were each fast in practice as well. All of the Stewart-Haas Racing cars were each in the top-16 during the first practice. Harvick and Stewart were first and third, respectively, out of the nine drivers which ran 10 consecutive laps.
“If we win one more race, then we are definitely locked in. But it’s a matter now of developing the No. 41 team into a championship contender, not just a Chase contender.”