Busch ’super excited’ about superspeedway chances
Has nine career top-10s at Talladega, but no victories.
The last time Kurt Busch was on a superspeedway, he led a race-high 95 laps. Last year, in a mostly frustrating first season in the No. 2 Dodge, Busch posted two top-10 finishes at Talladega Superspeedway.
That car returns to Talladega this weekend as he prepares for the Aaron’s 499 (1:30 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX).
“We showed strength last season and we look to have winning potential this time around,” said Busch, who ran seventh in this race last year and finished third this past October.
“They’ve re-bodied the car again, taken it through the wind tunnel and done all their homework going into this race. The guys in the engine shop are always looking for additional horsepower and I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with for this weekend.”
Busch is winless in 25 career restrictor-plate races, but does have 10 top-fives and 14 top-10s combined at Talladega and Daytona. He has five top-fives and nine top-10s in 12 races at Talladega, the most success he’s had at any one track without a victory.
“The truth is that I really enjoy plate racing. The bottom line is that I’ve never won a plate race,” said Busch, whose run of five consecutive top-10s at Talladega is the longest active streak.
“We’re coming into Talladega looking for a breakthrough weekend ... and we’re confident we’ll have a car that can get the job done.”
Busch, who stands a season-best 13th in points, had the best car for much of the season-opening Daytona 500, but a wreck involving Tony Stewart ruined his run. Still, Busch has two top-fives and three top-10s in his five plate starts for car owner Roger Penske, who also lacks a superspeedway win.
“I have really enjoyed driving our Penske Racing-prepared cars in the plate races,” Busch said. "The key to being successful at Talladega and in restrictor-plate racing in general requires the best from everyone on the team.
“In my eyes, it’s about 90 percent car and 10 percent pit strategy. You need to have the equipment capable of running up front and you must make the right calls in the pits to help keep you up there. That’s how you avoid getting caught up in the big multi-car crashes and that’s how you bring her home in one piece and with a great finish at the end of the day.”
Busch led his very first Cup lap at Talladega and has led at least one lap in nine consecutive races there, but steering clear of trouble is always foremost at the 2.66-mile track.
“It’s a different kind of challenge than what we do during the other 32 races of the season,” Busch said of the four superspeedway races. "There’s a big mental demand and it’ll wear you out, but the biggest thing about that type of racing is it truly is a total team effort.
“I’ve heard plate racing referred to as a high-speed chess match on wheels and that’s a pretty good description, I think. But at the same time, I have enough experience at the track and respect for the other competitors that I realize it can also turn into a scene that could be depicted as 190-mile-per-hour Russian roulette.”
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