Those three issues will consume 100% of Kurt Busch’s focus as he heads to Texas Motor Speedway for a memorable weekend at the “No Limits” motorsports facility.
|Busch supports the Armed Forces Foundation|
First up in Busch’s “Texas Three-Step” is Thursday’s inaugural Busch Whacked Mud Run, from 4-10 p.m. at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The charity Mud Run is a competition on an obstacle course and features troops from nearby Fort Hood, NASCAR drivers and team members, celebrity supporters and media members, with proceeds supporting military families and children through the Armed Forces Foundation, The Kurt Busch Foundation and Speedway Children’s Charities.
“The Mud Run came together with ideas from a few different avenues,” said Busch this week. “And when we pulled the trigger to get it started, it was because of this trend across America where people are doing fun things to work out, stay athletic, or just to engage in activities centered around well-being and health.
“It was also a great opportunity to tie-in the troops from Fort Hood to the AFF foundation, as well as my connection to the racing world. And a big shout out goes to Eddie Gossage (president of TMS) for giving us the green light with his dirt track.”
Supporting the troops is a longtime passion for Busch, who is a frequent visitor to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
“Visiting our injured troops has had a huge impact on me,” he said. “There is so much to learn from the mental anguish that our troops go through to the mental toughness during their recovery. You want to be there to give your time, your support and tell our men and women in uniform how much you appreciate their service and sacrifice to our country.”
While Busch is looking to have fun in Thursday’s Mud Run, he will admittedly take Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions more seriously in the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet. This weekend’s event is Busch’s fourth with Furniture Row Racing. He has not qualified well in his first three attempts, with starting positions of 21st, 29th and 19th.
“We’re working hard to better our qualifying program,” stated Busch. “It’s still early in our driver/team relationship, but this is an area we need to focus on. It’s much easier to run up front when you start up front.”
Despite those sub-par qualifying efforts, Busch was running solidly in the Top-5 in the last two races at Kansas and Martinsville, before being stymied in each race as an accident victim.
“We have quality cars at Furniture Row Racing and are coming together as a team,” noted Busch, a 24-time Sprint Cup Series winner. “The decision to run the final six races to prepare for next year was the right one. There is so much to learn and also to merge the best of the way the team and I have done things in the past. I am encouraged with the progress we have made so far.”
Busch said he is aiming for a strong performance in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, a track where he has enjoyed success with one win, three Top-5 and 11 Top-10 finishes.
"I like Texas Motor Speedway,” explained Busch, who won the 2009 fall race there. “It’s fast and you have to be on the edge with that speed. Over the years, Texas has treated me well and I always get up on the wheel there.”
Photo: Andy Rubenstein