[media-credit name=”http://www.richmondinternationalraceway.com” align=”alignright” width=”253″][/media-credit]MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 24, 2012) – Many things are fine when they stand alone. But sometimes, some things are just so good they have to be experienced again. For some people, it’s the encore performance at a really great concert. For others, it may be the experience of a double date. For some, twice the fun is the baseball doubleheader. Others may find pleasure at the double-feature film event during a Sunday matinee. Then, for some, it is something as simple as seconds at the dinner table.
NASCAR is a sport in which doubles abound. A pair of races takes place on any given weekend at racetracks around the country. More often than not, two of the top three NASCAR touring series are competing in tandem on a weekly basis, whether it’s a combination of the Sprint Cup Series with the Nationwide and/or the Camping World Truck Series, or the latter two joining forces for a weekend event.
Driver Kurt Busch will double up this weekend at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, where he’s scheduled to compete in both Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings Plan 250 and Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series Richmond 400. It marks the third time this season Busch has doubled up by competing in the Nationwide Series in conjunction with the Sprint Cup Series events. Busch participated in Nationwide Series races during the opening weekend in February at Daytona and at Texas two weeks ago. This weekend, however, is the first of many to take place in succession. In fact, the weekends in which Busch won’t be performing double duty are now few and far between.
This season is not Busch’s first to compete in multiple series. It is the first, however, in which he’ll participate in such a rigorous schedule with plans to compete in select Nationwide Series events for both Phoenix Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports. As the schedule stands, Busch will compete in approximately 20 of the scheduled 33 Nationwide Series events in 2012. Busch’s proposed schedule includes weekends when the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are competing in different locations. The first of these takes place next month. After participating in the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 19, Busch will hop on a plane to Newton, Iowa, where he’ll compete in the May 20 Pioneer Hi-Bred 200 at Iowa Speedway.
Friday night marks Busch’s 15th Nationwide Series appearance since he began making occasional appearances in the series in 2006. Although in his previous 14 career Nationwide Series starts, Busch has yet to compete at Richmond. That’s in direct contrast to the 22 starts Busch has made there in Sprint Cup competition. In those 22 Sprint Cup starts, Busch has made it to victory lane one time, scored four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. Busch scored his lone Richmond victory in September 2005 to catapult himself into the second annual Chase for the Championship. In keeping with his record for consistency, Busch has been running at the end of each of those 22 Sprint Cup races at Richmond aside for one, which was the result of an accident during the track’s May race in 2010.
While he has a lone Sprint Cup win at the three-quarter-mile track, Busch considers Richmond to be one of his tougher challenges. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion looks to change that this weekend, and he’s doubled his chances of doing just that.
KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing:
What are your thoughts about racing at Richmond this weekend?
“Richmond is rather unique for a short track. It’s kind of hard to compare it to a Martinsville or Phoenix because it’s fairly wide. It’s almost like a 1.5-mile track that has been packaged into a three-quarter-mile track. It’s a place where you can get caught in the outside lane on restarts but you won’t necessarily fall back 10 or more positions like you would at a Martinsville. If your car is handling, you are able to maintain because of how wide the track is. The last few times we’ve been there, though, the bottom is the place to be. Aside from it being the shortest way around the track, you can get more aggressive on the bottom lane and, if you have to, you can move people to advance your position.”
How will your routine change for your succession of double-duty weekends that start this week?
“It’s about staying ahead during those weekends. This weekend’s race at Richmond, in particular, we have to stay ahead. It’s a one-day show. You’re in for practice early on Friday morning. Then we have impound qualifying and we race that night. Meanwhile you’re practicing and qualifying the Cup car because all of that takes place in one day, as well. That makes for a long Friday. You have to do the work in advance to get yourself ready for that kind of race weekend. You have to hydrate beforehand and be up on your nutrition. It’s a tough day and you just kind of have to grind your way through it. The best way to look at it is that, come Saturday, you don’t have to do anything until 3 o’clock, when we start making our hospitality rounds.”
What’s the toughest part about racing at Richmond?
“For me, the toughest part of that track has always seemed to be the exit of turn four. It’s really hard to get the traction put down just right to not be just flat-out dead sideways all the way to the start-finish line. It’s really hard to get the speed through three and four and carry the traction off of turn four. So, going into this weekend, that’s something I know I’ll be looking for right from the start of practice on Friday.”
The team had a strong run going in Kansas until engine problems started. What does that say for the team’s progress?
“For me, personally, it was one of my better Kansas races. The finish didn’t show it but it was one of our better races when it comes to the whole package. We qualified well. We had a good car, good pit stops and we really were in position for a top-10 finish. I think we ran in the top-10 all day. With about 50 laps to go, we just lost power. The power came back about seven-eighths of the way later in the race. We’ve been pretty good in the engine department this year and these things happen. They’re still looking into what the issue was and I know they’ll figure it out. It was a disappointing result but I can’t complain about what we had for the weekend. We were able to take away a lot of positives from the weekend and we can build on what we learned.”
KURT BUSCH’S RICHMOND PERFORMANCE PROFILE
|2011||Crown Royal Matthew Hansen 400||36||22||Running, 397/400||0||
|Wonderful Pistachios 400||11||5||Running, 400/400||0||
|2010||Crown Royal Heath Calhoun 400||16||18||Running, 400/400||0||
|Air Guard 400||21||18||Running, 399/400||0||
|2009||Crown Royal Russ Friedman 400||17||12||Running, 400/400||8||
|Chevy Rock & Roll 400||13||2||Running, 400/400||0||
|2008||×Crown Royal Dan Lowry 400||21||42||Accident, 229/410||0||
|†Chevy Rock & Roll 400||20||10||Running, 400/400||0||
|2007||Crown Royal Jim Stewart 400||33||5||Running, 400/400||27||
|Chevy Rock & Roll 400||14||9||Running, 400/400||0||
|2006||Crown Royal 400||13||29||Running, 397/400||0||
|Chevy Rock & Roll 400||18||27||Running, 398/400||0||
|2005||Chevy American Revolution 400||4||17||Running, 400/400||11||
|Chevy Rock & Roll 400||5||1||Running, 400/400||185||
|2004||Chevy American Revolution 400||23||31||Running, 386/400||6||
|Chevy Rock & Roll 400||17||15||Running, 399/400||94||
|2003||*Pontiac Excitement 400||7||8||Running, 393/393||17||
|Chevy Rock & Roll 400||25||24||Running, 398/400||0||
|2002||Pontiac Excitement 400||37||27||Running, 395/400||0||
|Team Monte Carlo 400||22||19||Running, 398/400||0||
|2001||Pontiac Excitement 400||31||18||Running, 399/400||0||
|Team Monte Carlo 400||40||24||Running, 399/400||0||