Kurt Busch to reach significant career milestone at Dover

Leave a comment

Kurt Busch will set a significant personal milestone this Sunday at Dover International Speedway, as he makes his 500th career Sprint Cup start.

And in an ironic twist, Busch will reach that milestone at the very same track where he made his first career Sprint Cup start back in 2000. He qualified 10th for that race and ultimately finished 18th.

That’s a far cry from where Busch is heading into Dover this weekend. Currently ranked 15th in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, Busch is in a must-win situation if he hopes to be one of four drivers who avoids elimination from continuing in the Chase after Sunday’s race.

Hard as it may seem to believe – where has the time gone – but Busch is now in his 15th Sprint Cup season, starting with an abbreviated seven-race stint in 2000 for Roush Racing before moving to full-time status the following season.

Busch, who turned 36 last month (August 4), has 25 career Sprint Cup wins, including being the first championship winner of the Chase for the Nextel Cup (now Sprint Cup) in 2004.

Busch also has 106 top-five and 198 top-10 finishes in his 499 starts to date, as well as has earned 16 poles.

Busch was quite the prolific race winner earlier in his career, capturing 14 victories from 2002 through 2005.

But since then, Busch has managed just 11 wins since the start of the 2006 season, a span of nearly nine seasons. His win earlier this year at Martinsville was his first since two victories in 2011.

To mark Busch’s accomplishment, his Haas Automation Chevy will have a special brushed-metal paint scheme at Dover.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

Leave a comment

Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.