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NASCAR Cup: Kurt Busch reaches 700th start mark, Kevin Harvick near it

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA – JUNE 27: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, walks the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Pocono Organics 325 in partnership with Rodale Institute at Pocono Raceway on June 27, 2020 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

When the NASCAR Cup Series takes the green flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400, Kurt Busch will make his 700th-career series start. It’s a career mark fellow-competitor Kevin Harvick also is nearing. Both drivers have been full-time Cup Series competitors since the 2001 season.

“It’s amazing,” Busch said. “To have this opportunity and to have been blessed to have raced with so many great race teams over the years, just making it past the local track was something that I thought was an achievement, because my dad was a local racer. He won a lot. But it was like money, sponsors, and the whole challenge of even getting to like the Southwest Tour and Late Model division, that was even tough for us way back in the past. So it’s amazing. Twenty years of racing at the top series level and now having 700 starts, I never would have guessed.”

Each driver has a Cup championship on his mantel. Busch won car owner Jack Roush his second-consecutive series title in 2004. Harvick’s came 10 years later, in 2014, his first year with Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick continues as driver of the No. 4 SHR entry after moving to that organization from Richard Childress racing, the team with which he began his Cup Series career. Busch is a former teammate of Stewart’s, driving the No. 41 for Stewart-Haas from 2014 through the 2018 season before moving to Chip Ganassi Racing to replace the retiring Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the No. 1.

In addition to Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Chip Gannasi Racing, Busch also has driven for Cup Series teams including Team Penske, Phoenix Racing and Furniture Row Racing. He has 31-career wins in his first 699-series starts, most recently winning at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta last season. He claimed his first four of those 31 wins in his sophomore season of 2002. Busch’s career stats also include 146 top-fives and 307 top-10 finishes.

Sunday’s race at Indianapolis will be Harvick’s 698th-career start, putting him on schedule to reach start 700 on July 19 at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth. He already is a three-time winner this season, trailing series-leading Denny Hamlin by a single win. Harvick’s full-time Cup Series career began one race after Busch’s, as Harvick moved to NASCAR’s premier series upon the death of Dale Earnhardt at the end of that year’s season-opening Daytona 500. He claimed his first of 52-career wins in his third-career start, coming at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Harvick’s career-stats also include 214 top-fives and 374 top-10 finishes.

Kurt Busch is winless at Indianapolis, while Harvick is a two-time winner at the Brickyard. Harvick’s wins at IMS include last year’s race.

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Posted by on July 5, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,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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