Kurt Busch’s 2017 got off to a raucous start with a last-lap pass for the win in the Daytona 500.
The races after that weren’t nearly as good. After finishing seventh at Atlanta, Busch had four-straight finishes outside the top 20 and was as low as 19th in the points after the first six races of the season.
But Busch has rebounded recently with three top-10 finishes in the last five races. He said Friday it’s because Stewart-Haas Racing has learned some things on its Fords in the wind tunnel. The team switched to Ford in 2017 after running Chevrolets for its entire existence.
“We’ve found some things in the wind tunnel that have helped us understand the difference with our Ford versus where we were at this time last year with the GM car, and so balancing those things has helped us and I think we turned a good corner at Texas,” Busch said. “We’ve been cranking out top 10s, but we haven’t been cranking out top 5s, so I was pushing really hard last week and the car stepped out. I took it beyond its limits and it’s because we’re right there. We’re solid top-10 when things go our way, but we’re not top-5 and that’s what I’m pushing for, and [Pocono] is a great track for us to come back to because we won here last time and it’s one of my favorites.”
What Busch references last week are two incidents at Dover. He got loose racing up front for the lead and knocked Brad Keselowski into the wall before his car spun around. After his team fixed the damage, Busch crashed again after a rear tire exploded and his car careened into the wall.
Busch is the defending winner in the Pocono spring race. He led 32 laps on the way to his only win of the season. He’s already in the playoffs thanks to the Daytona 500 win and a repeat Pocono win would give him added bonus points for the title chase.
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