Kurt Busch wants to share the biggest win of his NASCAR Cup Series career with everyone he can.
He’s doing so by taking the trophy from his Daytona 500 victory on the road. That road begins this weekend in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Busch was inspired to take the Harley J. Earl Trophy on a tour last week when he learned only two versions of the trophy are given out by Daytona International Speedway and no other replicas are produced.
“I wanted to get replicas for Ford, Monster Energy, for myself and whomever is significant enough to get a replica,” Busch said last Friday. “But they only make two. That is what is so significant and powerful about this trophy.”
One copy of the trophy was taken to Haas Automation’s headquarters in Oxnard, California. Busch’s copy sits in the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in North Carolina, but that’s only temporary.
“I am going to get the nice carrying case that goes with it, and I am going to send it out on a tour,” Busch said. “I am going to turn our Harley J. Earl trophy into the Stanley Cup.”
The Stanley Cup is awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League and during the offseason each player on the team gets to spend one day with the iconic hardware.
Busch will put the trophy in his carrying case and transport it to Las Vegas this weekend, where the NASCAR Cup Series will visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400.
On Thursday, he will present the trophy at an assembly at Durango High School, where he graduated. Also present will be a replica of the No. 97 Ford Busch won the 2004 Cup Series championship with.
“I graduated 20 years ago. That is good and bad I guess,” Busch said. “I talked to the principal there, who I actually went to school with, Nate Miller. We will have a little pep rally and it will be spirit day at Durango before race weekend at Vegas. Jeff Motley gave us race tickets to give away and Pole Position Raceway gave away 97 go-kart passes for kids to come to the go-kart track and race there.”
While at his old stomping grounds, Busch will be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The moment will be marked by a replica hood from his championship car being hoisted into the rafters.
On Saturday, Busch will haul the trophy to Star Nursery, which sponsored his car when he competed in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour from 1997-99.
After that, the trophy will take up residence at Monster Energy’s headquarters Corona, California.
Busch heads to Vegas sitting second in the Cup point standings following his seventh-place finish at Atlanta. It’s the sixth time Busch has earned top 10s in the opening two races of a Cup season.
Busch will make his 16th Cup start at home track this weekend. He is still seeking his first win on the 1.5-mile track, where he has an average finish of 21.2. His only top-five finish came in 2005 when he placed third.