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NASCAR Cup: Bristol night race marks Kurt Busch’s 600th start

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

By AMANDA VINCENT

Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway will mark Kurt Busch’s 600th-career race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Busch’s milestone start coming at Bristol is fitting, as the Northeast Tennessee short track is Busch’s best. In 33-career starts there, he has five wins in the Cup Series, including his first-career series win in 2002. He’s also finished in the top-10 in nearly half his Cup Series starts at Bristol, with 16 top-10s in those 33 starts. That includes nine top-five finishes.

“It’s a fun number,” Busch said. “You don’t think about it when you’re racing. You don’t have it as a goal when you start out racing. I love that fact that it’s at Bristol. The 600th start happens to be at a milestone track for me because I won my first race there and I’ve won my most races there. It’s been a special place for me over the years. It’ll be nice to celebrate it there. I never thought I’d see 600, you don’t really think about it. It almost feels like 400 to me. I still feel like there is plenty more to do, more races to win. I haven’t won at Darlington or Indianapolis and those are ones I want to check off the list. But it’s a proud moment for myself. And a time to say thanks to my dad and all the different car owners I’ve raced for and raced with, and all the sponsors. It’s been a great ride. But it also feels like there is more left.”

The 2017 season is Busch’s 17th as a full-time Cup Series competitor after a limited schedule of seven races in 2000. This is his fourth season as driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing entry. He has at least one win in every season since joining SHR, most recently winning the 2017 season-opening Daytona 500 in February. Five of his 29-career wins came from behind the wheel of the No. 41.

Busch’s other 24 wins came with Roush Fenway Racing and Team Penske. He began his NASCAR national-level career with Roush, going back to his lone Camping World Truck Series season in 2000. After making the move to Cup, Busch remained with RFR through the 2005 season.

Busch drove the iconic No. 2 for Team Penske from 2006 through 2010. He remained with the Penske organization beyond the 2010 season, though, moving over to the No. 22 for the 2011 season.

Between stints at Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch ran one season each for Phoenix Racing and Furniture Row Racing. Those were the only two teams for which Busch failed to win in the Cup Series.

Busch has two top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes, including his Daytona win, through the first 23 races of 2017. Stewart-Haas Racing recently announced that it would not pick up the option of Busch’s contract, but the team has publicly expressed interest in re-signing Busch under a renegotiated contract.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 18, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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