One good thing to come out of Kurt Busch’s eventful 2015 is that he has had cars strong enough to compete with teammate Kevin Harvick on a weekly basis. Considering Harvick has been the driver to beat this season, that says a lot. With Busch’s No. 41 has been at or near the front since his return at Phoenix, it’s safe to say he’ll win multiple times this season.
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A lot of that can be attributed to the fact that the Stewart-Haas Racing camp has improved greatly over the past year. Busch’s 2015 has been much more fruitful than his 2014, while Harvick has been carrying the momentum from his championship-winning 2014 season well into the first quarter this year. Even Danica Patrick has performed well in 2015, scoring two top-10s at Martinsville and Bristol. Three out of the four SHR teams have performed admirably in 2015, and it’s obvious that this is a step up from 2014.
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One thing to take into consideration is that for Busch, this is something of a last chance for him. Over the years he’s had his fair share of controversy, from berating ESPN announcer Dr. Jerry Punch to threatening violence against reporter Bob Pockrass to allegedly engaging in a violent domestic dispute against his ex-girlfriend. The last of those three ended up with Busch being suspended for the first three weeks on 2015, before a court decided not to press charges against Busch regarding the alleged incident.
As a result, NASCAR seems to have gotten the message across to Busch that they’ve had it with his dramatics, and that if he doesn’t shape up they could very well drop the curtain on his NASCAR career. Therefore in 2015 Busch has been driving like he has something to prove, and he’s been doing just that by winning two poles to go along with his Richmond win as well as earning three top-fives and three top-10s, all in six starts this season. He’s batting .500 so far, but that number will go up.
How? Simple. He’s been lightning fast on all types of tracks this year, from short tracks, to the mile speedways, to the mile-and-a-half speedways. He’s a decent restrictor plate racer, so he could be just as big a threat at Talladega and Daytona this year. He’s also a decent road racer, so Sonoma and Watkins Glen are just as susceptible to a Kurt Busch assault this season. The point is, he’s a threat week after week and he’ll gain another win in 2015.
With Busch’s streak of strong runs in 2015, it’s safe to say that although the pressure to win is there, it isn’t as strong as it was at this point a year ago. That could be attributed to the idea that now that Busch has gone through troubles more serious than most this year, it’s added a bit of perspective to his life. According to John Oreowicz of ESPN.com, Busch said of his win:
"“It’s an unbelievable feeling when you pull deep from within and you go through troubles. When you’re accused of something and things go sideways, your personal life doesn’t need to affect your business life.”"
Keeping that in mind, Busch will continue to have a strong season, and look for him to win multiple times in 2015 on a variety of tracks. He happens to drive for the hottest organization in the Sprint Cup Series right now, and if he keeps up this hot pace he could very well be sitting in the same spot his teammate Harvick was sitting in at Homestead a year ago.
What’s your take? Do you believe Busch’s win was much deserved? Do you think he’ll win multiple races in 2015? Comment below to weigh in.