Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished third in the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. It is his first top-five since joining Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Busch started 17th and led once for two laps en route to scoring his sixth top-five and 11th top-10 in 21 career Sprint Cup starts at Fontana. It was also his 101st top-five and 191st top-10 in 476 career Sprint Cup starts.
Busch, who previously won a Sprint Cup race at Fontana in 2003, was in position to win for a second time at the 2-mile oval when he restarted on the front row for green-white-checkered finish on lap 204. The No. 41 Haas Automation team employed a two-tire strategy on their final pit stop before the final restart, while several others – including eventual race winner Kyle Busch – took four tires.
As the field came to green for the final restart, Busch raced door-to-door with teammate Tony Stewart for the lead. The teammates raced hard and clean for two laps, but neither could hold off the four-tire charge of Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson, who finished first and second.
“Unreal the amount of emotions of running well today, executing on pit road,” Busch said. “Daniel Knost (crew chief) did a great job and this Haas Automation Chevy was fast and then to race your boss for a win. Neither one of us came home with the ‘W’ so we are both upset about that, but at the same time it was a genuine moment for Tony (Stewart) and I to race and to put it all out on the line for Stewart-Haas. I came home third, he came home fifth.”