By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time that 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch was behind the wheel of a Ford in a points race was at Texas Motor Speedway in 2005. He finished 10th in the No. 97 Crown Royal Ford Taurus that day.
During his time with Ford, Busch earned 14 of his 28 career victories. He also had 43 top fives and 79 Top 10s while competing for the ‘Blue Oval.’
After his departure from what was then Roush Racing, Busch has competed for Team Penske, Phoenix Racing, Furniture Row Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing. Busch has called Stewart-Haas Racing home since 2014.
In early 2016, Stewart-Haas Racing shocked the NASCAR world when they announced that they would change manufacturers after the 2016 season, leaving Chevrolet for Ford. Now, nearly 12 years later Kurt Busch returns to the manufacturer that helped bring him his Championship.
When Busch was asked how it feels to be back in a Ford, it brought back memories,
“This is like a Homecoming. It feels great to be back with Ford and Doug Yates, especially. I have always been driving by his shop in Mooresville just looking at the times we had together back early in my career, so it feels like a Homecoming. Everybody at Ford has been wonderful. Dave Pericak, that’s in charge of Ford Performance, he’s really switched on and he’s got his goals and agendas and it all matches up with Stewart-Haas really well. We want the manufacturer title, we want the team title, driver title, we want everything for the Blue Oval this year.”
The last time Ford won the NASCAR Manufacturer’s Championship in the Monster Energy Cup Series was in 2002. Ford currently has 15 Manufacturers’ Titles, second only to rival Chevrolet.
Busch also explained how the Ford feels different to him,
“Just firing it up it seems like it’s got a deeper throat to its restrictor plate engine so far, and just the overall vibe and the energy from the Ford people has been great. I can’t wait to get to the downforce tracks and the short tracks and feel it all out here early in the season, and then do the west coast run. Once we get past that west coast run, it’s gonna be a good time to evaluate everything.”
Busch will now look for his No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion team to rebound after a disappointing end to the 2017 Advanced Auto Parts Clash.