Kurt Busch is singing “Movin’ Right Along” as he heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race.
“Movin’ Right Along,” was recorded in Busch’s birth year of 1978 for the 1979 smash-hit film The Muppet Movie. Frank Oz was the voice of Fozzie Bear while the late Jim Henson was the voice of Kermit the Frog. The two-minute, 57-second song was the second song on the gold album and got as high as No. 32 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album even won a Grammy in 1980 for Best Children’s Album.
But Busch isn’t going to California, Rhode Island or Saskatchewan as they sing about in Movin’ Right Along. Instead he’s headed to Dover, Talladega and Kansas City after advancing to the upcoming Round of 12 of the NASCAR playoffs. He’s seventh in points, and in his first visits to those events in 2018, he posted finishes of fifth at Dover, second at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and eighth at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. If that happens again, Busch will transfer to the Round of 8.
Perhaps Busch should bring Kermit and Fozzie Bear along with him in his No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) at Dover.
He has one win, eight career top-five finishes and 10 top-10s at Dover. Additionally, the 40-year-old driver has led 426 laps, has an average starting position of 11.5, an average finish of 18.3, and has completed 92.7 percent (13,362 of 14,415) of the laps he’s contested there.
He finished fifth in May 2018 after starting ninth.
Busch scored a huge Dover win in October 2011, when he started second and led 90 of 400 laps. He grabbed the lead from Jimmie Johnson on the final restart and paced the final 42 circuits to win by .908 of a second over Johnson.
If Busch can score a victory at Dover this weekend, he’ll be Movin’ Right Along with an automatic bid to the Round of 8.
And he’ll probably need to bring Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear along – after a stop in Saskatchewan to celebrate, of course.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is it about Dover that makes it such a challenging racetrack, and what do you have to do to be successful there?
“The tough thing about Dover is things happen so quickly. At any moment, at any time, somebody can spin in front of you or you can lose control off the corners and you are going to wreck. There is no real forgiveness about Dover. That is what makes it tough. To be good there, you have to be good on corner exit. The track really rubbers in so you can see the concrete change to black as the weekend progresses. On corner exit, you get really tight or really loose. The time I won there, I could almost hold it wide open on corner exit. That is what you’ve got to have.”
Do you feel it has earned its nickname?
“It’s called the Monster Mile for a reason – the track can chew up cars and spit them out. It’s because of those tough transitions into the corners with the high banking and even the high-banked straightaways. It’s tough to do that sharp of a turn on a mile racetrack. It’s like you literally jump down into the corner and then jump back up out of the corner onto the straightaway, and so those points of the track are the toughest part – the transition from straightaway to corner. It’s a fun track to drive.”
How physically demanding of a racetrack is Dover?
“You’re just on edge there and, the speed that you have to carry on corner exit, you’re right there at the wall every corner exit and you do it 800 times with 400 laps and two corner exits. That makes it tough. This race will wear you out, for sure, and you have to pace yourself.”