After getting eliminated in the first round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs last season, Kurt Busch is back in the Round of 8 for the fourth time since the elimination format began in 2014 and now has some of his best tracks ahead since joining Chip Ganassi Racing.
Busch is the latest winner at a 1.5-mile track when he won the 2020 Playoff opener at Las Vegas and he hopes that plays to his favor when the second round kicks off at Kansas Speedway with Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (MRN, 1:30 p.m. ET).
"Looking forward to it," Busch said. "We got a couple mile-and-a-halves here in the Round of 8. Those are our strengths at Chip Ganassi Racing. So we’re in a great spot right now."
After Kansas, Texas Motor Speedway will mark the 11th and final 1.5-mile track of the season. Busch finished ninth and eighth, respectively, at those tracks earlier this summer. Last season, he finished ninth or better in the fall races at all three tracks that are in the Round of 8 this year that includes Martinsville.
Since joining Ganassi to start the 2019 season, Busch has posted average finishes of 6.7, 8.7 and 9.0 at Kansas, Texas and Martinsville, respectively. His only finish outside the top 10 in that nine-race span was a 12th in the 2019 spring Martinsville race.
Busch’s first win at his home track to start the Playoffs was his fourth consecutive top 10 at a 1.5-mile track. Playoff points leader Kevin Harvick is the only other driver to finish in the top 10 in those four events that date back to Kentucky in July.
"Having fun with this team and we’re championship eligible right now," Busch said. "So that’s a cool part to have in my career is to be in the twilight of my career and have a shot at the championship. That’s important to me."
Heading into Kansas, Busch is the eighth seed and trails fourth-seeded Chase Elliott by 21 points for the final transfer spot to the Championship 4 round. The 2004 champion is in the midst of his eighth straight Playoff appearance and his highest finish in the standings in the elimination format is seventh in 2016 and 2018.
Kurt Busch will be the featured one on one interview in Sunday’s MRN pre-race show for the Hollywood Casino 400 beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. You can preview that interview in the player above or by clicking here.