Kurt Busch optimistic about his chances at the Glen

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At the end of last month, Kurt Busch and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet team spent two days testing at Watkins Glen International (pictured) in hopes of finding any advantage that could lead to a win that vaults them into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Going into this weekend’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, Busch sits 13th in the Cup standings, 11 points out of 10th place. With no wins to fall back on and just five “regular season” races left to either get one or move into the Top 10 in points, he heads for a track that has never been one of his better places (one Top-5 in 12 Cup starts).

But the 2004 Cup champion believes that his test at the Glen on July 29-30 will prove to be time well spent.

“When we went there, we opened up Pandora’s box with some braking issues and were able to master that by the end of the test,” he said in a team statement. “I feel confident heading back there – not to just have speed in qualifying but to have speed throughout the race.

“It’s an important race in a critical juncture of the season.”

Busch kept pace with the rest of the Chase contenders last weekend at Pocono with a third-place result, which was a sign of progress for a team that hasn’t always converted its good pace into representative results this year.

In the meantime, he’s not worrying about his other rivals that are also trying to make their way into the Chase – even though he notes just how tight the battle amongst themselves will be.

“You’re running against Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion and [Brad] Keselowski, a champion from last year is in the mix. [Greg] Biffle is strong, [Martin] Truex won earlier in Sonoma, [Ryan] Newman won at Indy. They’re all Chase material,” he said.

“For us, we’re just putting the blinders on and worried only about the 78. We just need to have nice, smooth races and execute like we did in Pocono.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.