Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International by finishing third in the Cheez-It 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Busch started fifth and raced inside the top-10 – spending the majority of his time in the top-five – for the first half of the 90-lap race. Just past the halfway point of the race on lap 51, Busch gave up the second position to visit pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop, dropping him to ninth as he rejoined the field. At lap 57, a multicar incident resulted in a red flag that halted the race for more than an hour while NASCAR safety crews made repairs to the turn-5 guardrail. Once the red flag was lifted, the Haas Automation Chevrolet visited pit road for a splash of fuel before restarting fifth on lap 59.
Busch moved from fifth up to the third on the restart and maintained his position, battling with Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger, until the next caution on lap 79. The No. 41 team decided to stay out during the caution to save track position, and Busch restarted third again on lap 85. Another caution soon followed on lap 88, while Busch was battling Carl Edwards for position. NASCAR again displayed a red flag to clean up debris and ruled that Edwards was ahead of Busch at the last timing line. Busch restarted fourth on lap 88, but he picked up a position in the final two laps as he raced hard against Allmendinger and Ambrose to the finish line.
“It was a hell of a day with the Haas Automation Chevy,” Busch said. “We gave it a good battle. Ambrose was strong. Allmendinger was strong. We battled with those guys all day long. On one of the restarts I got some left-front damage. Ambrose was trying to cut underneath Allmendinger, and I was there. He ran right over us, but I tried not to spin him because I was using Ambrose to go take out Allmendinger. I thought the two were going to take each other out, and we were sitting in the catbird seat. All in all a great day with the No. 41 car. With all that went on, just a nice steady day to stay focused. I’m just real proud of this team. Thanks to Chevrolet, Monster Energy and State Water Heaters it’s been a good battle here; we are getting better for the Chase.”
Busch recorded his fifth top-five this season and his second top-five and sixth top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen. It was also his 195th top-10 in 493 career Sprint Cup starts.