The 2018 season has been an adventure for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), especially when it comes to performance. All four SHR cars have had a tour of victory lane, and most importantly they all made it to the round of eight of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Unfortunately, at this point of the season, only three SHR cars are eligible to clinch a spot to the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Joey Logano punched his ticket last weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
Texas Motor Speedway could not come at a better time for the SHR gang. Three of their cars finished in the top-10 back in the spring, ultimately giving Kurt Busch hope entering the AAA 500.
After a solid performance at Martinsville where he started and finished sixth, Busch and his fellow drivers below the cut-off line will most likely need a win in other to advance to the final round.
As we head to lone star state, Busch has three poles and is looking for a second victory.
“Texas is a good track for us and a good market,” said Busch. “I always enjoy coming out to Texas. Hopefully, the weather will look perfect for this weekend. It’s a great track and a big weekend for us as we have State Water Heaters on our car.”
Busch tasted victory at Texas back in 2009, when he raced for Team Penske. The track has changed much since he last won there, being reconfigured in 2016 with one of its significant changes being the decrease in banking in turns one and two.
The modifications have not slowed Busch down. In the fall race of 2017, he broke the qualifying record speed.
“It was an incredible qualifying run last year, and it set a track record,” said Busch. “The feel of the tire and the asphalt were better in the fall than the spring. And, what I saw last year during the playoff race at Texas was a textbook pass for the lead with Kevin Harvick passing (Martin) Truex (Jr.) going into turn one.”
As the new asphalt ages, we should start to see more competitive racing. Last season’s fall race concluded with a pass for the lead with under 10 laps to go and with high stakes going into this weekend don’t be surprised to see something similar.
Busch certainly hopes he can go into Phoenix with another win and a berth for the final four in Miami. With rumors spurring around the garage that Busch has received contract offers from various teams for 2019, capturing a victory at Texas may not only land him a shot to contend for his second championship but secure a ride for next season.
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