It took an extra day and 22 fewer laps than planned, but Kurt Busch set a NASCAR record in the fog-shortened Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Busch, who won the June race at Pocono and finished 10th Monday, became the first driver in Sprint Cup history to complete every lap through the first 21 races of the season.
Busch entered the weekend having completed all 5,673 laps. With the race made official after 138 laps, Busch has now recorded 5, 811 laps. Busch had been tied with Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose streak reached 20 races in 2012.
“It’s nice to be in position to have completed all the laps,” Busch said. “That is done with a lot of teamwork. It’s not just one person. It starts at the shop with the quality of cars and congratulations to everybody that has helped be part of this sequence. All-in-all, we are finishing on the lead lap, we are finishing top 10 every week. We just know that we need to find a little bit more to be competitive once the Chase starts.”
Through 21 races, Busch is third in the point standings, 51 points behind Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick. Busch has a 16 top 10s to Harvick’s 17, the season’s most.
Busch’s win at Pocono is his only victory of the season with five races before the playoffs start.
“I felt like we were making all the right calls and all the right sequences on when to pit and we just had one adjustment go astray,” said Busch, who started at the rear of the field for an unapproved adjustment before the race. “We tried to loosen up the car with a left-rear wedge change and we ended up getting tighter. Sometimes that has happened to us this year and we just need to not fall into that pitfall and make sure we steer clear of wrong adjustments or adjustments that are questionable until we have a better handle on it.”
Busch takes his NASCAR record to Watkins Glen International for the second road-course race of the season. In 15 starts at the 2.45-mile circuit, Busch has three top fives and seven top 10s. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of the last three seasons, including two top fives.