Kurt Busch expects performance pickup in season’s second half

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 13: Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, walks to his car during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 13, 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season moves into its second half, Kurt Busch hopes to build on the notebook he and crew chief Billy Scott have been building during their initial visits to the Cup tracks.

Scott worked with Danica Patrick on the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford last year but moved to Busch’s No. 41 when Patrick departed at the end of the season. He and Busch have spent the first half of 2018 getting to know each other’s nuances and idiosyncrasies, a process of acclimation Busch expects to bear fruit as the Playoffs approach.

“It’s definitely what we need timeline-wise on going back to tracks to capitalize on the upgrade, so to speak, on the notebook and on the things we keep track of during the race,” Busch said on Friday, after winning the pole for Sunday’s Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“He was with the 10 car last year, I was on the 41, and when you look at notebooks, it’s different with the human experience in it. Now the two of us have been through half of the season. We’ve got a great lead engineer with Will (Lee), a great car chief, great tire guy. Everybody is now meshing and jelling at the best level that we can get, and now we go back to these tracks and capitalize on little things we saw we left out from the first time.”

The winner of three poles this season, Busch has yet to sign a contract extension with SHR.

“For me, I’ve just been racing, driving, performing and doing all the things that I can do to exceed in all categories,” Busch said. “And so, whether it’s teammate things, things on the track with performance, communication with Billy Scott, and then I don’t know many drivers that have a primary sponsor with them.

“Monster Energy has been very loyal to me, and that’s what they’ve told me, so it’s just a matter of when the time is to start talking about contract. Last year, it went long just because I felt like I deserved more, but the landscape is changing in NASCAR on primary sponsorship values, teams with the purse and the guarantee that they get off the historical performance. There are a lot of things that move, so we’ll see how it all comes together.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.