If one remembers the Boston Breakers, then that smart person has one solid memory. And we’re not talking about the women’s soccer team that played as the Boston Breakers from 2007 to 2017.
The Boston Breakers were formed in 1983 during the inaugural season of the United States Football League (USFL). They played at Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University and were coached by Notre Dame alum Dick Coury. Despite going 11-7 in 1983, they missed the playoffs and left town for New Orleans in 1984 and then eventually to Portland, Oregon in 1985.
The USFL ended after the 1985 season and now the Breakers are just a memory.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was living in Las Vegas during the USFL years and was quite young when the Breakers were in Boston.
But he has always enjoyed going back to New England and he’ll make his 35th trip to Loudon, New Hampshire for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resorts Casino 301.
Busch has three wins, two second-place finishes, seven top-threes, eight top-fives, 14 top-10s and has led a total of 541 laps in his 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at New Hampshire.
Busch’s three NASCAR Cup Series wins at New Hampshire is tied for most among active drivers with Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
And while every win is cherished, those first two New Hampshire triumphs carry significant importance.
Busch swept the Cup Series races at New Hampshire in 2004, becoming only the second driver to accomplish that feat – Johnson being the other, having swept the 2003 events. Busch overcame a 32nd-place qualifying effort in the July race to lead twice for 110 laps en route to his first Cup Series win at the track. In September, he led three times for a race-high 155 laps en route to victory lane.
Busch’s September 2004 win at New Hampshire also was historic in that he became the first driver to win a race in NASCAR’s playoffs, which debuted that year. The victory placed Busch in a tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for first place in the championship standings and he went on to win the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Busch’s most recent victory at New Hampshire came in July 2008 in a rain-shortened race. He only led 10 laps, but they were the final 10 of the 284 contested.
Heading back to New England, Busch is hoping to score victory number four at New Hampshire and that will “break” him into the NASCAR playoffs.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Your record at New Hampshire is pretty stout. Why is that?
“It’s a track that has been pretty good to me since I started racing in the top series of this sport. I raced there for the first time in the Truck Series and won that race. Then, it’s a track where I have three wins in the Cup cars and, when you’re able to go to a track where you’ve had that kind of success, it just gives you confidence. Because of the wins and everything, it’s a place we go to where I feel like I especially know what it takes from the car and the driver to be successful.”
Are the challenges at New Hampshire the same as always, or does the track change from year to year?
“It seems like it has changed a little bit toward the end of the race with a lot of aggressive restarts. That is when you gain positions, or it’s easy to lose positions. Everybody is out there elbows out, pushing hard, and you hope to not have trouble.”
What do you need your car to do really well at New Hampshire to have a chance to win?
“It’s got to be able to cut in the center of the corner, cut underneath guys, look to get to that bottom lane and drive up off the corner and get side-by-side with guys. That way, you have position on corner exit.”
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Monster Energy/Haas Automation Racing Advance – Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Page Two
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (continued):
With New Hampshire being a tight and flat mile oval, it has some short-track characteristics in that there’s close racing and sometimes contact is made. If you inadvertently get into someone, do you try to right that wrong so it doesn’t come back to bite you later?
“It depends upon the circumstances but, yes. Usually, you’re trying to keep your eye on the main prize, which is victory lane at the end of the day. If you have a run-in early in the race, that guy is going to be trying to find you or you’re looking over your shoulder. So if you can sort of hit a reset button and right a mistake, you do that, but not at the expense of taking yourself out of position for the win.”