Kurt Busch was struggling in dirty air early in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The solution? Trade the dirty air for clean air at the front of the pack.
Busch and crew chief Matt McCall opted to stay on track as long as possible during the second stage of the race, pitting for tires and fuel with 15 laps left in the segment. That enable Busch to keep his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet on the track while others came to pit road for the stage break.
Busch led the field to green on Lap 168 and held the top spot on older tires despite huge pressure from Kevin Harvick. It took 20 laps for Harvick to grab the lead from Busch, who held on for a fifth-place finish in his third race with his new team.
“We got really tight in traffic, and our pit strategist was saying that, if we stayed long in the second stage, then we could stay out,” Busch said. “It played out to where we got clean air, and it completely changed the complexion of the car…
“It gave us a lot to learn from today, and I’m really proud of everybody to get a top five. Now we’ve got two top fives to year, but we know we’ve got some more work to do.”
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.