RACING

Hard Crash Disrupts Kurt Busch’s Pocono Weekend

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Kurt Busch crashed at Pocono Raceway during qualifying.

The #45 23XI Racing Toyota Camry driver will need to bounce back from some early issues at Pocono Raceway. Kurt Busch crashed in qualifying which forced the team to use a back-up car.

Busch appeared to be in contention for the Busch Light Pole. He placed in the top five in the first qualifying round of the Cup Series, and he advanced to the final round with teammate Bubba Wallace and 23XI Racing owner Denny Hamlin. Busch then went out for his second qualifying lap, but lost control in Turn 3 and slammed into the wall hard.

This collision destroyed the rear of No. 45 and forced track crews to tow the Toyota Camry to the garage. Meanwhile, the 23XI Racing crew immediately headed for the carrier to get the spare car out. This ensured that Busch would fall to the back of the pack for the start of the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 on July 24 instead of starting 10th overall.

Busch will join two other riders who had to drop to the back after qualifying. Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain both spun during practice and caused minor damage to their respective production cars. Both of their teams had to make repairs, which count as unapproved adjustments.

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Busch has great success at Pocono Raceway

Kurt Busch

GettyKurt Busch has already scored victories at Pocono Raceway.

Busch won’t get the start he wants at Pocono Raceway after his bad crash in qualifying. However, he has shown in the past that he can recover from a tough starting position. Two examples are the 2002 and 2004 seasons when he started outside the top 20 and finished in the top five.

Busch also has three career wins at the Tricky Triangle. Although he started in a much better position for all three races. Two of his victories (2005 and 2007) came after he lined up second on the starting grid. The third win (2016) came after Busch finished ninth overall.

Busch hasn’t reached Victory Lane in 11 races at Pocono Raceway, but he will set out to snap that streak on July 24. He will line up at the back of the field and he will have to fight his way through the competition at a track where he led 596 laps and posted 21 top 10s.


Qualifying indicates Busch will rebound

23XI Race

GettyKurt Busch (left) and Bubba Wallace (right) put in fast laps at Pocono Raceway.

While Busch will start behind the rest of his peers, he will have 160 laps around the 2.5-mile track to get back in the lead. There’s no guarantee he’ll achieve that goal, but qualifying indicates he’ll run well.

Busch set the fourth fastest lap time on the opening round of Group B qualifying. He was one of five Toyota Racing Development drivers to reach the final. Christopher Bell just missed the cut by signing the sixth fastest time in Group B.

Two TRD riders will lead the field to the green flag on July 24. Denny Hamlin won the Busch Light Pole while Kyle Busch posted the second fastest time. Bubba Wallace and Martin Truex Jr., the other two TRD drivers in the final round, will line up on the fourth row. Bell will complete the Toyota driver line-up as he lines up next to Aric Almirola on the sixth row.

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