Kurt Busch has been to Chicago several times in the last calendar year. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver is a big Chicago Cubs fan and he’s taken in several games, including some in the World Series. Now, he returns to Chicago in the playoffs himself, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
The Chicagoland Speedway is the host of the opening round of the 10 race playoff, and Busch is hoping his recently found success during the season translates well over to another top 10 finish on Sunday afternoon.
In fact, I would say at this point of the season, the biggest realistic sleeper to win this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship would have to be Busch himself. Yes, the former Cup champion and this year’s Daytona 500 winner would be a sleeper.
Busch, hasn’t won a race since his season opening win at Daytona. Plus, through the first 21 races of this season, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver had just three total top six finishes in his No. 41 Ford.
Busch, has four top six finishes over the last five races on the season.
The Las Vegas native finished fourth in last Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at the Richmond Raceway for his third straight top five effort. He came home third in last Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington and fifth the race before that at Bristol.
He was also sixth at the beginning of August at Watkins Glen. In fact, since that sixth place finish on the upstate New York road course, Busch’s worst finish in an 11th place result Michigan.
He doesn’t want to end that streak in the opening race of the playoffs. That momentum, mixed with a great run on the 1.5-mile track this weekend, would certainly boost this teams confidence even more. With literally half of the 10 playoff races being on 1.5-mile circuits, seven straight top 11 finishes, including one on a 1.5-mile track in the playoffs, would give this No. 41 Ford team the confidence it takes to win this season’s championship.
Busch, has led 104 laps during the course of his career at Chicago and has an average finishing spot of 15.44. But, over the last six Chicagoland starts, Busch has one finish worse than 13th. His results are, sixth, 32nd, fourth, eighth, third and 13th respectively.
This is a huge race for him and his race team.