Kurt Busch recorded six top bristles and 15 top 10s, including his Daytona 500 win, during the 2017 season. (Photo: Getty Images)
2017 Race-by-Race Results | 2017 Detailed Statistics
The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series started off with a blast for Kurt Busch and concluded with questions surrounding the 2004 champion’s approaching with Stewart-Haas Racing.
After accepting affiliated in the off-season, Busch started 2017 with aplomb – hoping he could already afresh accost NASCAR’s bigger prize: the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Alternation championship. But he additionally joked that acceptable the sport’s bigger chase would, jokingly, account him to accede walking abroad from the sport.
“The Daytona 500, if I won it this year, I ability about cull a Carl Edwards and aloof airing way,” Busch said, referencing his above competitor who appear his retirement from NASCAR aloof weeks afore the 2017 division started.
Busch pulled off the win in Daytona in February, demography home the bigger chase achievement of his career. By acceptable the aboriginal chase of the year, he was additionally the aboriginal disciplinarian to lock himself into the NASCAR Playoffs.
“To win the Daytona 500 is adamantine to put into words,” Busch said. “It’s above belief. You watch this chase as a kid, and you alive the adventures with anniversary disciplinarian who wins and loses this race. And now, afterwards 16 years of this chase activity 16 altered means for us, it erases all those memories.”
That aplomb Busch brought into the division connected in the canicule afterward his Daytona 500 triumph. He finished seventh at Atlanta the afterward anniversary and seemed like an aboriginal blackmail to be a championship contender. But afterwards accession in his hometown of Las Vegas to alpha the western swing the afterward week, Busch’s season began to go off the rails.
Four beeline finishes of 24th or worse, including three contest area array issues bedeviled the No. 41 team, brought Busch aback bottomward to absoluteness and coiled him from additional in credibility bottomward to 19th by the alpha of April.
After endlessly his early-season drift with a 10th-place accomplishment at Texas, Busch looked like he would get aback on the appropriate clue – finishing in the top 10 six times over the abutting 10 contest as the alternation headed aback to Daytona in July.
“We didn’t accomplish any mistakes. We didn’t accept to action too adamantine on the handling,” Busch said afterwards the Texas race. “I would say we did well. I apperceive we can do better. I am blessed about a top 10.”
Busch’s constant division brought him aback to Daytona for the mid-summer Coke Zero 400 with acceptable memories of his February celebration and growing drive as the aggregation assuredly got its hands about the off-season about-face from Chevrolet to Ford.
“Once we acclimatized in and abstruse the antithesis of our Ford and how things were alteration actuality and there, I anticipate we’ve done great,” Busch said. “You can’t be too complacent. You accept to acquisition new things and put added accoutrement in your toolbox to be able to accept that advantage at the end of the race.”
A blast at Daytona and an agent abortion the afterward anniversary at Kentucky bound took abroad all the drive Busch seemed to be architecture in the aboriginal summer races. But afterwards airy in the backward summer by ascent three-straight top-five finishes starting with the August night chase at Bristol, Busch appeared to accept his bluster aback as the playoffs drew closer.
But overshadowing Busch’s up and bottomward division were assorted letters at the end of July adage Busch wouldn’t be abiding to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018 and that his approaching in the action was in question.
Stewart-Haas beneath to animadversion on the cachet of Busch’s arrangement but issued a cheep adage they accepted him to acknowledgment in 2018. Busch accepted at Watkins Glen in August that the aggregation hadn’t best up the advantage to renew his accepted arrangement and that while a acknowledgment to the aggregation wasn’t out of the question, his options for the approaching were plenty.
“I feel like there’s added options out there,” Busch said. “The buzz didn’t stop campanology all week. I’m attractive for the best accessible advantage to chase a aggressive car that’s got a adventitious to win races, win poles and attempt for a championship. There’s altered cars that are options for me, and Stewart-Haas is one of them.”
With drive on his ancillary and questions about his approaching beginning in his head, Busch entered the NASCAR Playoffs but struggled to acquisition bendability and speed. Busch accomplished 19th in the aperture chase at Chicagoland, afterward it up with a 37th-place at New Hampshire and again ultimately actuality agape out of the playoffs with a 20th-place accomplishment at Dover.
“Yeah aghast with the way that I collection through these playoff runs,” Busch said afterwards his run at Dover. “I was active at 101 percent aggravating to get every ounce of acceleration out of it. It aloof never had a breeze for three races. The bones aftermost anniversary absolutely put us in a hole. We bare a absolute day today and playoff date points. We gave it aggregate we had.”
While Busch’s hopes at a championship were over, he was still attractive to affect abeyant approaching administration by finishing the division strong. Busch would go on to account a runner-up accomplishment at Kansas and a ninth-place at Texas but ultimately concluded the division 14th in points.
Now added than two weeks afterwards the division afterpiece at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch has yet to advertise his 2018 affairs but knows his best adventitious to be aggressive abutting year is to break at Stewart-Haas Racing.
“My best adventitious to win races, to win championships is to be at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Busch said. “I’ve talked with added owners and the offers were about the aforementioned from added teams. But the offers weren’t the aforementioned as far as akin of car. We’ll see how it all plays out. I’m not afraid about it.”
Busch says he has no borderline to assurance a arrangement for abutting division and above but rather award the appropriate fit for him in the asinine division puzzle. Already Busch finds that ride, his goals for 2018, added than of advance acceptable a championship, are clear.
“I appetite to absolutely focus adamantine on the acme jewel contest such as Indianapolis. We came actual abutting at Darlington this year to win the Southern 500. That’s aerial on my list,” Busch said.
Motor Racing Network continues our attending at the 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Alternation playoff drivers in 2017 tomorrow with a epitomize of the division for 13th-place finisher Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
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