When Kurt Busch left behind his hometown of Las Vegas to pursue his NASCAR dream, his first stop was not the typical move to North Carolina. Instead, Busch moved to southeast Michigan to drive the No. 99 entry for Roush Racing in the Camping World Truck Series and work out of Roush Racing’s Truck Series shop.
As the Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400, Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), remembers enjoying his Michigan summer and trips to Houghton Lake with his Roush Racing teammate Greg Biffle.
Since those days in the Truck Series, Busch has enjoyed success at Michigan.
In June 2003, he won the Sprint Cup race at Michigan when he led 24 of 200 laps and crossed the finish line .774 of a second ahead of runner-up Bobby Labonte.
Busch was far more dominant in his second Sprint Cup win at Michigan in August 2007, when he led 92 of 203 laps and beat Martin Truex Jr., by .495 of a second.
Besides his two wins at Michigan, Busch also has two pole awards at the 2-mile oval.
His June 2010 Michigan pole was at 189.948 mph. His June 2011 pole was at 188.699 mph.
This weekend, Busch is hoping to do only slightly better than he did in his last visit to Michigan. Last August, he scored a third-place finish driving for Furniture Row Racing. He would love to score his second win of the season in this weekend’s 200-lap event.
Busch knows the No. 41 team’s win at Martinsville in March virtually guarantees a spot in the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Adding a second win would cement the team’s place in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff. SHR teammate Kevin Harvick, Team Penske driver Joey Logano and Hendrick Motorsports drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson are the only drivers to score multiple wins this season. Busch is one of six single-race winners as the series heads to race 15 of 36.
In 26 career starts at Michigan, Busch has two wins, two poles, as well as four top-five finishes and nine top-10s with an average start of 12th and an average finish of 21st. He also has led 423 laps.