Even if he is forced to settle for a top-five finish Saturday, it would put Kurt Busch in a rather elite class – having earned at least one top five at every Sprint Cup track.
“I haven’t been able to find that winning balance, yet, but I’ve had some good runs with a couple of top 10s,” Busch said in a team release. “To be able to break through for the wins, I’ll have to get the front of the car to absorb the bumps and be able to keep my foot on the floor.”
Busch knows what to expect in this weekend’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway – one of the roughest tracks in the series.
“Kentucky is a tough, 1.5-mile circuit … (with a) unique set of bumps that makes it different from a lot of the typical 1.5-mile tracks we see,” Busch said. “It’s kind of a one-off race with its own setup issues. You can overthink Kentucky a little bit because there’s nothing similar to it
“They aren’t the sharp, quick, abrupt bumps. They are the big, wavy movements and the car is always moving around.
“You are trying to keep the car with an aggressive setup to get the speed but, at the same time, you have to allow the tires to breathe and go over the bumps to absorb the energy. The car is constantly moving around and you never find that perfect setup.”
Busch has been coming to Kentucky for more than a decade, starting during his days with Roush Fenway Racing, which undertook considerable testing there.
Busch also has two Xfinity Series starts there, including a runner-up finish in spring 2012.
He also has one Truck Series start there (in the track’s inaugural NASCAR event back in 2000, when he crashed and finished 29th).
Since the Sprint Cup Series came to Kentucky four years ago, Busch has amassed a decent track record there. He started third and finished ninth in the first Cup race there in 2011. He placed a career-best sixth in 2013. He was 12th last season.
Busch has two wins (Richmond, Michigan) in 14 starts this season despite missing the first three races of the season because of NASCAR suspension.