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RAPID REACTION: Kurt Busch Finally Gets One

The 2017 Daytona 500 was not short on excitement, with plenty of wrecks throughout the race.

Unexpectedly, the finish was decided by fuel mileage as two leaders ran out of gas, paving the way for Kurt Busch to earn his first Daytona 500 win.

Kurt Busch wins fuel mileage race

While the Daytona 500 has become known for the victor being the driver who survived and had the best move at the end, this year’s race turned out differently. With no cautions in the final 45 laps and the fuel window being 40-44 laps, it transformed into a mileage test.

Chase Elliott appeared poised to get his first victory at the biggest race of the season, but the No. 24 team was unable to stretch their fuel to make it to the end. After Elliott’s bobble, another young driver went to the top in Kyle Larson. He, too, ran out of gas, this time on the last lap down the backstretch. Kurt Busch, who was running second, inherited the lead and held off Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger for victory.

It was a long time coming for Kurt Busch, who attempted winning the 500 15 previous times. He finished second three times, but was never able to get the win until this year. This was also crew chief Tony Gibson’s first Daytona 500 victory in a 15-year career.

Pit strategies fail to pan out

In the first race under the new rules concerning race stages, teams were already testing new pit strategies to get the most points possible.

Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing stopped 18 laps into Stage 1, counting on not stopping again if the stage were to go green. However, their plan failed to give them an advantage due to errors. Rookies Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones both missed their pit stalls the first time through. When coming in the second time, Suarez also incurred a speeding penalty, putting him two laps down early on. Matt Kenseth locked up his wheels on the initial two-tire stop, meaning he also had to make a second trip.

Ultimately the day didn’t play out as they hoped as on Lap 106, Kyle Busch was running in front of Kenseth and Jones when a tire went down, triggering a six-car wreck including others like Dale Earnhardt Jr. All four Gibbs cars were involved in at least one wreck, and the highest finisher was Denny Hamlin in 17th.

Jr.’s wreck headlines Hendrick struggles

Hendrick Motorsports was another team that struggled throughout Sunday’s race. Earnhardt was the first of three drivers involved in an incident. Though Elliott recovered to compete for the win late in the race, Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson’s teams were unable to repair the cars and retired to the garage.

Kasey Kahne ended up with the highest finish at Hendrick, coming home seventh. He was one of only five cars that were not involved in any wreck, and he led seven laps.

Lots of wrecks, but not because of rule changes

Some thought the introduction of stages into NASCAR races would lead to increased wrecks at the end of each stages. There were indeed many accidents in the 500, but none were near the conclusion of Stages 1 or 2. There was only one single-car incident, when Corey LaJoie lost control coming to pit road and hit the wall on Lap 32.

The biggest wreck of the day came four laps into the final stage when Johnson spun after contact from Jamie McMurray. Seventeen cars received some damage during this incident.

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RAPID REACTION: Can-Am Duels at Daytona

Intensity was the word of the night as Thursday night’s Can-Am Duels set the field for Sunday’s 59th running of the Daytona 500.

There was a new twist to this year’s Duels as points were awarded to the top-10 finishers in each Duel which ramped up competition throughout the twin 150-mile races.

Elliott and Hamlin Were the Big Winners

Daytona 500 pole-sitter Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin captured the victories in Thursday’s duel races.

In the first race, Elliott took the lead away from Brad Keselowski on Lap 37 and never looked back, leading the final 24 segments to score the race win.

Duel No. 2 was shaping up to be the Dale Earnhardt Jr. show as he led a race-high 53 laps but Hamlin, the defending Daytona 500 Champion made his move with two laps to go passing Earnhardt to securing his third career Duel race win.

Stewart-Haas Racing Shows Early Strength

A lot was made about Stewart-Haas Racing’s move to Ford during the offseason and how they could potentially struggle out of the gate at the start of the season.

Judging by Thursday night’s Duels, it appears to be far from the case as all four SHR Ford’s finished inside the top-seven of their duel races.

Clint Bowyer finished second in Duel No. 2 as Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick finished third and seventh respectively. Kevin Harvick crossed the line third in the first Duel.

It appears that Stewart-Haas will be a major player for the win on Sunday.

Johnson’s Speedweeks Struggles Continue

Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson‘s speedweeks got off to an inauspicious start after wrecking out of last Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash.

If Johnson wants a third Daytona 500 win on Sunday, he’ll have a tall mountain to climb as he will start from the rear in a backup car after finishing 13th in his duel race. Johnson’s No. 48 suffered significant damage late in the running during the second Duel.

The task seems tall, but don’t count Johnson out for Sunday. He has a habit of pulling off the improbable.

Kennington’s 500 Dream a Reality

The feel good story of speed weeks 2017 has to be DJ Kennington and Gaunt Brothers Racing unquestionably.

The St. Thomas, Canada native will become the first Canadian to compete in the “Great American Race” in 29 years after finishing 15th in his duel to secure his spot.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2016 Recap/2017 Outlook – Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch only won one race in 2016, but his consistent finishes allowed him to advance to the Round of 8 in the Chase.

Car No.: 41

Crew Chief: Tony Gibson

Team: Stewart-Haas Racing

Wins: 1

Top-Fives: 9

Top-10s: 21

Points Finish: 7th

2016 Quick Summary: Consistency was key for Kurt Busch’s 2016 season. While he may have only got to Victory Lane oncehe had 21 top 10s, tying for the most in a season during his career. After making it through the first three rounds of the Chase, he finished the season seventh in points, which is his highest position since 2009.

Statistically, 2016 was very similar to 2015 for Busch. Both season totals in top fives, top 10s, wins, and poles were comparable, and he made it to the Round of 8 in each year’s Chase.

Through the first two rounds of the 2016 Chase, Busch’s consistent, if unspectacular, finishes were enough to advance past drivers who fell to bad luck. But a 22nd at Martinsville and a 20th at Texas couldn’t be overcome with a fifth at Phoenix, which meant, once again, he would not compete for the championship in Miami.

2016 Highlight(s): Busch’s lone win of the season came at the June Pocono race. After starting ninth, he ran in the top 10 or top five almost the entire race. He started fourth on the final restart of the day with 33 laps to go. He quickly got around the third-place car of Casey Mears and set his sights on the two Hendrick drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Chase Elliott. After Elliott made contact with Earnhardt, getting both cars loose, Busch was able to take the lead with 32 laps to go, and he never looked back.

2016 Lowlight(s): Busch’s worst finish was a 38th at Bristol in August. He had worked his way from a 14th starting position to running in the top six by lap 150. But on lap 374, when Busch was battling for the lead with Joey Logano, his No. 41 Chevy got loose and spun, causing an 11-car pile-up.

His championship hopes were ended with two finishes of 20th or worse in the third round of the Chase. Not even a fifthplace finish at Phoenix could help Busch advance to the Championship Round at Homestead.

2017 Outlook: In 2017, Stewart-Haas Racing is switching manufacturers, from Chevy to Ford. This also means it will not be receiving support from Hendrick Motorsports. This may cause the team to go through some growing pains over the 2017 season. It is entirely possible Stewart-Haas, and its drivers like Kurt Busch, will not be as competitive as in previous seasons. The first four races of the season, featuring a super speedway, two intermediate tracks and one short track, should provide a good barometer for the success of Busch and his teammates.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Monster Energy Named NASCAR’s Premier Series Entitlement Sponsor

On Thursday Afternoon at the Wynn Las Vegas, NASCAR ushered in a brand new era as Monster Energy was named the new entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s premier series replacing Sprint who will be leaving the sport at the end of 2016.

Monster Energy becomes only the third entitlement sponsor in series history. Terms of the deal were not disclosed however both parties hailed the agreement as the “perfect fit” for both brands.

“Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman, and CEO. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history.”

Monster Energy is one of the most recognizable brands in sports as they have numerous existing sponsorships with motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes, and teams. However, the NASCAR deal signals the biggest step in the company’s history.

Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Ricky Carmichael are among the most notable drivers who have carried Monster’s familiar black and green livery.

“Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America,” said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. “It’s American racing; we’re an American brand that’s a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR, it was the perfect fit for us. … NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with.”

In addition to naming rights for NASCAR’s top series, Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship for NASCAR’s All – Star Race and will become the official energy drink of NASCAR. Monster Energy will also continue to sponsor the No. 41 Ford Fusion driven by Kurt Busch.

Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture.

“We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport,” Phelps said. “They’re going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. … They’re going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It’s all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content.”

Phelps also stated more details would be announced in the coming weeks such as the name of the series, series mark, and the championship trophy.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Kurt Busch’s Last Ditch Gamble Comes Up Short

Knowing he was in a must-win situation to be part of the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kurt Busch and Tony Gibson tried all the stops at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as Busch finished fifth, coming up 37 points short.

“We got up to the front as high as third and sniffed the front to try to win because we had to win to advance. We didn’t get the job done,” Busch said. “The long run speed is where our Achilles Heel was these last few Chase races.”

Starting in the 12th position, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver was unable to make up much ground in the early stages, just running outside of the top 10. He then found himself further behind when he pitted under green before the caution fell at Lap 81, trapping him down a lap. He was able to take the wave around and began to make up ground, using a two-tire pit stop while the leaders took four with 56 laps to go to move up to fourth. He tried to make up ground, though eventually faded to the back half of the top 10.

He pitted before the first overtime attempt for two tires and was able to get through the chaos en route to finishing fifth.

Through the season, Busch was consistent on a weekly basis, knocking down solid finishes despite lacking speed and picked up the win at Pocono Raceway in June to qualify for the Chase. Once the chase started, Busch was solid through the first two rounds with some solid runs, though also found himself barely finishing inside the top-15 as the team continued to struggle to find speed.

Ultimately, a 22nd at Martinsville Speedway and 20th at Texas Motor Speedway after battling an ill-handling car sealed the fate for Busch going into Phoenix International Raceway.

“It’s a little disappointing, maybe we can pinpoint that as our exact problem and figure out how to fix that, but really proud of Tony Gibson (crew chief) and everybody that worked on these cars all year long from Stewart-Haas Racing,” he said. “Thanks to Haas Automation, Monster Energy, Chevrolet, we finished fifth today we battled hard we just didn’t have enough. You’ve got to have it all if you want to be in that championship four.”

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NASCAR Cup Series

RAPID REACTION: Edwards Delivers Under Pressure at Texas

As the pressure mounts for championship contenders with the Chase for the Sprint Cup nearing its conclusion, a wet day turned into an eventful and intense night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards prevailed in the rain-shortened race, securing his position in the championship event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For the other title contenders, Sunday’s race set up a thrilling end to the Round of 8 next weekend at Phoenix.

Delivering Under Pressure

A crash in the opening race of the third round at Martinsville left Edwards last on the Chase Grid and likely in need of a victory to compete for a championship. Despite not showing consistent speed through the first seven races of the playoffs, the No. 19 turned a corner at Texas.

Edwards ran up front for much of the AAA Texas 500 and emerged as a top challenger to the dominant Joey Logano, who led a race-high 178 laps. A quick pit stop on Lap 259 propelled Edwards to the lead where he ultimately finished the race when the rain returned.

The victory secures Edwards’ first opportunity to compete for a championship in the season finale under the current format. He last entered Homestead-Miami with a chance to win the title in 2011 but ended the race tied with Tony Stewart who took home the championship as a result of a tie-breaker.

Resilient Performance

A tough weekend for Kyle Busch seemed to get worse once Sunday’s race went green. The April Texas winner was unable to climb towards the front early in the event and then hit a brake duct, puncturing a hole in the nose of the No. 18 car.

However, Busch seemed to improve after facing this adversity and made his way to the front by the final restarts. He ended the race in fifth, capturing his fifth top-five finish of the Chase.

When he claimed the title last season, he scored five top-five finishes in the first nine races of the playoffs and brought home the championship by winning the race at Homestead-Miami. Busch now has a one point advantage over teammate Matt Kenseth headed to the Round of 8 elimination race at Phoenix.

Points Trouble

When the Round of 8 begins, title contending hopefuls often step up their performance to make the championship race. For Kurt Busch, this hasn’t been the case. Through the third round’s first two races, he finished 22nd at Martinsville and 20th at Texas.

The 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion now heads to Phoenix 34 points below the cutoff line, essentially needing a victory to compete for the championship.

His Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick finished sixth on Sunday, but still sits 18 points below the top-four drivers heading to Phoenix.

Harvick’s dominant history at Phoenix provides confidence for the No. 4 team as they look to clinch a spot in the Championship 4 for the third consecutive season. However, Busch will need a major comeback if he hopes to compete for the championship.

Strength From Eliminated Chase Contenders

Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott were among two of the strongest performers throughout the regular season and into the first round of the Chase. However, both were eliminated following disappointing performances in the Round of 12.

Despite no longer being in championship contention, both continue to excel. Truex Jr. finished third after leading 66 laps, scoring his first top-five finish since capturing the victory in the third race of the Chase at Dover.

Elliott’s fourth-place result came under difficult circumstances as he battled flu-like symptoms throughout the AAA Texas 500. It was also his first top-five finish since Dover when he came home third.

Both drivers will continue trying to play spoiler in the season’s final races as Truex Jr. eyes his fifth win of 2016 and Elliott continues to search for his first career Sprint Cup Series victory.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Stewart-Haas Teammates Harvick and Busch Struggle at Martinsville

Despite struggling to find speed during the summer, Stewart-Haas Racing has persevered and was able to put three drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with two of those drivers now a part of the Round of 8. However, following a pair of sub-par days at Martinsville Speedway, they may both be eliminated in a couple of weeks.

Kevin Harvick was solid in the beginning stages of the event, putting his No. 4 Busch Light Chevrolet SS inside of the top-five. However, an early-race speeding penalty put Harvick behind and then when the caution came out during pit stops, it left him trapped a lap down. He’d ultimately finish the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 in the 20th position.

“We were slow all weekend,” he said. “We could just never get the handle on it.”

The fourth finish for Harvick outside of the top-15 during the Chase now puts Harvick down to sixth in points, 16 points behind Kyle Busch for the fourth and final spot to transfer to Homestead-Miami Speedway.

If it’s any solace to Harvick, the previous two times he has had his back up against the wall in this year’s Chase, he has been able to score a victory (New Hampshire and Kansas) to clinch a position in the next round. He’ll now have an opportunity to do the same in the next two weeks at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Speedway. Harvick has yet to win at Texas in his career but has posted four straight top-10s in his most recent starts, including three podium finishes. Meanwhile, he is the king of Phoenix as he has won six of the last eight races, including earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Kurt Busch was not a factor throughout the entire event, struggling to find speed en route to a 22nd place finish.

“We missed it,” he said. “I don’t know where, how, why, we missed it. Even SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) as a group we didn’t perform well. That was not the day we needed. Sorry to State Water Heaters, their only race of the year and we didn’t perform well for them. We just missed it.”

Moving forward, Busch says he has “no idea” on how they’re going to bounce back, which is understandable as he has yet to show speed and actually contend for a win throughout the entire season. However, the driver of the No. 41 State Water Heaters Chevrolet added they “will figure something out” as they’re not ready to give up now. Notably, he currently heads into the next week sitting seventh in points, 18 points behind younger brother Kyle Busch.

In 27 starts at Texas, Kurt Busch has a win and 15 top-10s, including a seventh and ninth in his last two starts. Meanwhile, at Phoenix, he has finished in the top-10 in the last four races.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Busch Among Those Rubbing Budha, Hoping to Escape Elimination

Following the first two races of the Round 12 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, two drivers know they’ll advance to the Round 8 while four drivers are hoping to use Talladega Superspeedway to get in, and six drivers expect to remain in position.

Though just because they are in a position right now, those six drivers aren’t comfortable as they know anything is possible at Talladega.

Joey Logano is currently the last driver in a transfer position, earning the spot through a tie-breaker with Austin Dillon. Logano finished 36th at Charlotte Motor Speedway, followed by a third at Kansas Speedway. The Team Penske driver enters this weekend confident, though, as he won this very event last season and teammate Brad Keselowski won the April race this year at Talladega.

If a non-Chase driver, Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick win, Logano could clinch his position with a second place finish and lead the most laps. Though if one of his other fellow Chasers win, he could also transfer if one of the top-seven falter.

Martin Truex Jr. currently sits seventh in points, 13 points ahead of Dillon for the last transfer spot. He finished 13th at Charlotte, followed by an 11th at Kansas following issues getting his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota Camry full of fuel. The Funiture Row Racing driver has had success at Talladega previously, posting eight top-10s in 23 starts.

“There’s no such thing as a safety cushion when you’re at Talladega,” he said. “You could be 13 points, 20 points or more and still be on the outside looking in after Talladega. It’s the wildcard race of the Chase, and you need to stay out of trouble and take the checkered on the lead lap. We didn’t perform as we had hoped to in the past two races – we had a few mechanical glitches –but at the same time the races weren’t a disaster either. We fought hard to get the most out of what we had, which kept us in the hunt.”

If one of his fellow other Chasers win other than Harvick or Logano, he could clinch by scoring 29 points, which equals to 12th and no laps led, 13th and leading at least one lap, or 14th and leading the most laps. If a non-Chase driver or one of those two win, he could clinch by scoring 28 points, which equals to 13th and no laps led, 14th and leading at least one lap, or 15th and leading the most laps.

Kurt Busch currently sits sixth in points, 17 points ahead of Dillon for the last transfer spot. He finished eighth at Charlotte, followed by a 13th at Kansas. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has done well at Talladega previously with a top-10 in half of his 31 starts, including an eighth and 10th in his last two starts.

Busch says the key to transferring will be surviving, adding, “You rub the Buddha, you find lady luck, you say all your prayers, and you hope you can get through.”

“This one is tough because it’s a Chase race. Winning versus finding a consistent finish is such a razor-blade edge versus wrecking,” he continued. “We can’t have a wreck take us out of advancing through the Chase. One year in the Chase, I tried going for a win, got spun at the end, and I kicked myself for years afterward. In 2009, I was going for a win instead of just trying to ride it out for a better finish, and it took me from second in points back to fourth in points. Over the years, Talladega has just turned into a points-gathering race in the fall.”

If one of his fellow other Chasers win other than Harvick or Logano, he could clinch by scoring 25 points, which equals to 16th and no laps led, 17th and leading at least one lap, or 18th and leading the most laps. If a non-Chase driver or one of those two win, he could clinch by scoring 24 points, which equals to 17th and no laps led, 18th and leading at least one lap, or 19th and leading the most laps.

With the nerves which Talladega produces and the uncertainty in a possible big wreck taking you out of contention in a flash, plenty of drivers would prefer to see this event removed from the Chase entirely.

“It makes zero sense in my mind,” Busch said. “I think it would be great to have Talladega as the cutoff to get into the Chase. I think we should switch Richmond and Talladega around. They are both owned by ISC, it won’t be too much of a problem and, that way, you have all the guys all year long who have earned their right to be in the Chase by a win and then there are those two, three or four who are trying to get in by points. Well, they need to know by race 25, not race 26, and then turn race 26 into the big gamble on who is going to get into the Chase or not. That way, that gamble isn’t part of the Chase.”

Though for the fans, this is the excitement and drama they live for, knowing they’ll spend the entire event on the edge of their seat.

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Commentary

SCHULTZ: Upcoming Races Favor Chase Outsiders

As NASCAR hits its summer stretch, the intensity level will rise as fewer opportunities await drivers looking to secure a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The first 11 races of 2016 featured six different winners. However, the last four events have produced four first-time winners this season, leaving just six Chase spots open.

The next three races at Sonoma, Daytona, and Kentucky could extend this streak and leave three fewer positions open due to the wildcard nature of the events. As a result, an even more intense summer could be on the horizon for NASCAR’s premier series.

Road course racing can be wild and unpredictable. Varying strategies and the increased chances of finding trouble often lead to surprises around every corner. The competitor who can avoid trouble, stay on course and perfect the strategic element of the race will prevail.

This track often favors A.J Allmendinger, Jamie McMurray, and Clint Bowyer.

Allmendinger has yet to capture a victory at Sonoma, but has been the presumptive favorite since joining JTG-Daugherty Racing. In the last four road races, the Dinger has led the most laps of any Cup Series driver (86), and has two poles and a victory at Watkins Glen.

McMurray is winless at Sonoma but always seems to be up front. His ability to qualify well has seen him on the pole three times, and if the team can keep up with the strategy, he could eye his first victory since 2013.

While Bowyer’s equipment may not be up to par with a majority of the field, he is one of the best at Sonoma. He captured the victory in 2012 and hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in the last five years.

Kurt Busch wheeled the No. 51 James Finch car to a third-place finish in 2012 and Bowyer’s Sonoma prowess could allow him to accomplish the same feat.

The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona presents the ultimate wild card. This race is one of the most unpredictable on the schedule and has produced surprise winners, including David Ragan in 2011 and Aric Almirola in 2014.

The unknown factor of this race often means anyone who can work the draft well and put themselves in position late can contend. Who has the experience and ability to take advantage of this opportunity? Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be among the favorites.

Bayne’s victory in the 2011 Daytona 500 made him a standout at restrictor plate tracks. He had a strong performance at Talladega last month when he led 22 laps, but was unable to seal the deal late. A Daytona victory would go a long way in re-establishing Roush Fenway as a championship contending team and would provide Bayne with some much-needed confidence.

Stewart has four Daytona victories, all in the July race. He excels in this event, and a win in his last Daytona race would be one of the most meaningful of his career. It would parallel the significance of Jeff Gordon’s Martinsville victory last November that came in his final season at one of his best tracks.

Earnhardt Jr. has proven his restrictor plate prowess over the last couple of seasons, collecting three of the last nine victories at Daytona and Talladega. He’s the defending winner of the Coke Zero 400 and will hope to break his recent string of bad luck at plate tracks after crashing in both tries this year.

Kentucky Speedway’s repave and reconfiguration may provide the biggest unknown of the season. Drivers will not only have to learn the new surface, but adapt to the new rules package NASCAR is bringing for the second time after debuting it in Michigan.

This opens the door for those who quickly adapt to change. Chase Elliott has been impressive in the first half of his rookie season and has adapted well to the challenges the Sprint Cup Series presents. This could be the event where he battles for his first career victory.

With many capable cars currently winless this season, it’s only a matter of time before another new winner prevails. The summer stretch will only intensify for those on the Chase bubble with fewer positions available to non-winners. As a result, winning will be even more of a premium, setting the stage for the most exciting summer in recent memory.

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EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

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NASCAR Cup Series

Kurt Busch Takes in ‘Amazing’ F1 Experience, Test Laps

Kurt Busch has certainly made the most of the off-weekend.

The 2004 Sprint Cup Series Champion attended the Formula One European Grand Prix this past weekend in Baku, followed by testing an F3000 car on Monday.

Busch commented he’d like to have a chance to test an F1 car in the future his F3000 test on the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

On the weekend, Busch noted the impact Gene Haas and Haas F1 Team have had on Formula One interest in the United States.

“There definitely is more energy,” he told Motorsport.com. “Even when Gene [Haas] came back for one of our races and there was the recap show, or the highlight videos – and everyone poured into our team hauler and they were watching the highlights. You would not have seen that before.

“There is definitely a genuine energy and passion that he has created for all American motorsports to look up to root for.”

Busch says Formula One could grow further by providing the fans more access, and allowing drivers and teams to use social media platforms more.

“The F1 mentality and the paddock, it protects the drivers to stay as focused as possible on the racing and on performance,” he said. “So [it would be good] to take some of that away and give back to the culture and the people who are from that country to get a different feel from their driver.”

FOR MORE FORMULA ONE AND OPEN-WHEEL COVERAGE, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT POPULAR OPEN WHEEL AT http://www.popularopenwheel.com

Throughout his trip and test, Busch and Haas F1 sent out tweeted highlights for the fans. Follow along with Busch’s journey by taking a glance back at those tweets.

 

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/MonsterEnergy/status/744607889940111361

 

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