Before qualifying on the front row yesterday, Kurt Busch expected this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway to be the toughest of the four “regular season” races that stand between him and a potential berth in the Chase.
Busch, who is 11th in the Sprint Cup standings and only two points out of the Top 10, has won twice at Michigan in his career but has had five finishes of 30th or worse in his last six starts there (three of which ended in DNFs).
“Michigan has been real good or real bad,” Busch said. “So, if you go by the law of averages, I hope this time around is pretty good…This time around, we hope we can parallel what we did at Pocono a couple weeks ago, which was to improve and find more comfort in the car.”
If Busch can get out of Michigan with a good finish, it could set up a big stretch run through the three remaining races after this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.
Busch has won a combined eight career Cup races at Bristol (five) and Atlanta (three), and he notched a Top-10 finish in the spring race at Richmond International Raceway this year.
“If we get through this [week], then I think we’ve got a really good shot at things,” he said.
However, he also knows that past performance does not equal future success: “It’s all about what you’ve done lately and I haven’t been to Victory Lane in a long while,” he noted.
Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.
This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.
“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”
On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.
“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.
“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”