Kurt Busch is fourth in the point standings and 30 markers ahead of the next cutoff in this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
If he performs well in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, he will advance to the Round of 8 for the first time since 2016.
And he has the most experience at Kansas.
He’s one of only four drivers who competed in the inaugural race at the track Sept. 30, 2001 and have competed in all 25 Kansas races. Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth are the others.
Busch drove the No. 97 Ford to a ninth-place finish in that first Kansas Speedway race in 2001.
It’s one track where Busch has never found victory lane, but he has had some success. He finished second there in October 2013 and again in October 2017. He won the pole in June 2011. Busch has three top-five finishes and nine top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval.
Additionally, the 40-year-old driver has led 263 laps, has an average starting position of 15.7, an average finish of 16.0 and has completed 94.7 percent – 6,275 of 6,625 – of the laps he’s contested there.
Busch’s car will have a bit of a different look this week it will be the No. 41 Haas Automation/Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Mobil 1 plays an integral role in SHR’s success. Its lubricant technology helps to reduce frictional loss in the team’s Ford engines to maximize fuel mileage, increase horsepower and turn more rpm, providing an advantage over his competitors. Mobil 1 also helps reduce friction in suspension components to provide maximum tire grip, as well as helping to reduce steering compliance, to give its teams an edge behind the wheel. Not only does Mobil 1 help improve the on-track efficiency of SHR, but the on-track testing helps lead to new lubricant technology developments such as Mobil 1 Annual Protection, which allows drivers to travel up to 20,000 miles, or one full year, between oil changes.
In its 16th consecutive season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of teams throughout NASCAR’s top three series.
Busch is hoping he can finish strong and find himself in the final eight as he exits Kansas City.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Thoughts on Kansas?
“Kansas has been a good track as of late for us at Stewart-Haas and, for me, I think the outside groove is really going to come into play more so than it has in years past. But I just always check the weather coming into one weekend and forecast the next week – it’s going to be cold. It’s going to be very cool next week and, when you have cool temperatures, that brings up the speed and it really pushes us back to the bottom groove because the bottom groove will have the speed in it. We’ll see how it plays out, but a track like Kansas is a track where you just have to execute the fundamentals. Big weekend for us, too, with a new look on our car as we have Haas Automation and Mobil 1 with us. Mobil 1 is not just a sponsor but a partner for all of us at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
What has been the key to your recent good finishes at Kansas?
“I think it’s a matter of being on the right pit strategy and understanding when to pit for the final time. Track position becomes so important at these fast, mile-and-a-half tracks that, if you are stuck around 10th or 12th, there is no way to crack that top-five. You’ve got to be there before the final sequences start.”
What is one part of the racetrack or your driving style that you’ve had to work on at Kansas over the years?
“It always seems like turn four is the toughest part about Kansas, whether it’s the wind angle or the sharper corner exit with the SAFER Barrier jumping out at the cars. You either lose a lot of time or gain a lot of time in turn four at Kansas.”
BILLY SCOTT, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
How important is Mobil 1 at a place like Kansas?
“Our partnership with Mobil 1 beneficial everywhere we go. We saw it last week at Talladega with all the lubricants they provide us. That carries over to Kansas, as well. Love having Mobil 1 on board – a great partner.”
It seems like Mobil 1 is more of a technical partner than a sponsor. Is that true?
“Oh yeah, absolutely. And that is the best kind to have. They’re not there just to have their name on the car, but to bring a product to us that can help us perform better each and every week.”