Kurt Busch: “Now that we’re winners, let’s grab another gear"

Kurt Busch is a winner again in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and suddenly a much larger prize possibly awaits on the horizon.

Kurt Busch: “Now that we’re winners, let’s grab another gear"
Race Winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy
Race Winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy
Race Winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy
 Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy celebrates his win
Race Winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy
Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Global Poker
 Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy
 Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy
 Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Monster Energy

It’s been nearly 15 years since Busch won his only NASCAR Cup Series championship, taking the 2004 title in the first year NASCAR used a 10-race playoff format to determine the series champion.

Since then, he’s raced for five other organizations but the closest he’s come to winning a second title was the 2009 season when he finished fourth in the series standings driving for Roger Penske.

Now at 40 years old, Busch is older, wiser and not afraid to gamble on himself, such as his decision to leave Stewart-Haas Racing in the offseason for a one-year contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Just 19 races into his tenure with CHR’s No. 1 Chevrolet team, he is now locked into the playoffs thanks to fender-banging victory over younger brother Kyle Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Read Also:

Suddenly, the discussions about a possible retirement are on hold and the focus has become on fighting for a championship this season with the thought of coming back in 2020 for more.

“Whether you're knocked down or whether it’s a lateral move or whether it was an upgrade, you can look at it in many different ways. When the contract was struggling at SHR to come together, I called Chip Ganassi, and it took 30 minutes, and it was done,” Busch said.

“To me that meant respect. It meant that I was wanted. And when you have that, that’s that extra desire to push and to make this group a winner. They’ve won races in the past. Kyle Larson is a tremendous talent.  

“But it takes all the little pieces, and I felt like Ganassi was the right move for me, and Monster Energy says, ‘You know what, we’ll roll with you, but our motto is we’ve got to win. We’ve got to be up front. We’ve got to be making noise. We’ve got to be partying. We’ve got to be having fun.’

“We’re going to get all that done as we move forward here in the second half of the year.”

Not done yet

Busch admitted retiring at season’s end from Cup competition has “crossed my mind for different reasons,” but the strength of his team in recent weeks, including the victory, fuel his passion for more.

“This whole group of people, it gives you that energy of, ‘Yeah, it’s fun, and let’s get our sponsors lined up and let’s do this.’ That’s what it tells me,” he said.

“Now that we’re winners, let’s grab another gear, though. Let’s try to get this thing where the second half is one of those phenomenal years.”

shares
comments
Kyle Larson "happy" with assisting in Kurt Busch's Kentucky win

Previous article

Kyle Larson "happy" with assisting in Kurt Busch's Kentucky win

Next article

Wood Brothers' Darlington throwback scheme honors Glenn Wood

Wood Brothers' Darlington throwback scheme honors Glenn Wood
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020