Kurt Busch Wins at Pocono
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), overcame team and fuel challenges to win Monday’s rain-delayed Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.
The win was Busch’s 28th career Sprint Cup victory, his third ever at Pocono and his first of 2016. With the victory, Busch has virtually locked himself into a spot in the 16-driver, 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup as one of nine drivers who have scored wins thus far this season.
“It’s special anytime you win,” said Busch, who has now scored Pocono wins with three different teams. “For (crew chief) Tony Gibson to be out this week because of a lug-nut issue, we had to overcome a lot. Johnny Klausmeier – our interim crew chief – our lead engineer – he stepped up, and when you do that it makes you really feel good about that team comradery, that team chemistry and that team effort.”
“I would like to say thanks to everybody at Haas Automation, Monster Energy and Stewart-Haas for all of their support” stated Busch. “This is a wonderful win for us. We have been so close all year. It’s a matter of just putting it all together, pit crew, engine; thanks to Hendrick engines and Chevrolet and everybody that works on these bodies, the chassis, you name it. It’s just so much fun to drive and to be competitive and to be up front.”
Busch started from the ninth position and ran inside the top-10 for the first half of the race, but he steadily moved up to the top-five for the second half of the 160-lap race. However, the critical part of the race came with 40 laps to go when on lap 119, crew chief, Klausmeier took a gamble, bringing Busch to pit road for fuel in hopes it would take the No. 41 to the finish. He restarted third after the final caution of the race, then made a bold move to pass Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott as the three Chevrolets exited turn three. He eventually made the pass for the lead in turn one. From there, Busch was not only able to keep the lead, he was able to save enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag and still have enough for his celebratory burnout on the front stretch.
Next up for Kurt Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing is the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, June 12, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.