Sunday, June 26, 2022

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has high praise for Kurt Busch

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A NASCAR Hall of Famer just gave high praise to a fellow driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has said that there is a quality to Kurt Busch that many legends have not had throughout their careers.

“@KurtBusch takes bad teams and makes them better”, Earnhardt tweeted after watching the 2004 Cup Series champion win the race at Kansas Speedway. “He takes teams that didn’t even exist last year and makes them better. It’s a rare quality that even some of Nascar’s greats didn’t possess.”

One reason for this tweet is that Busch accomplished several goals while traveling to the Kansas Speedway. He set a new team record with 116 laps completed and secured the second win in 23XI Racing history. Busch also achieved this goal by defeating Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and numerous other proven winners.

Meanwhile, Busch’s teammate Bubba Wallace ran in the top 10 all day before finishing 10th overall. That finish, secured by Wallace after recovering from multiple pit lane penalties, was a sign of progress considering he has never achieved a top 10 finish at Kansas Speedway in his eight previous starts had.

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Busch is one of NASCAR’s most talented drivers. He has achieved Victory Lane 34 times while racing for multiple organizations and four different manufacturers. However, Earnhardt and Denny Hamlin, co-owners of 23XI Racing, have both decided to highlight something else that makes Busch a big win.

“I had heard things about Kurt from his colleagues and interviewed three of his former teammates,” Hamlin said during his post-race media availability. “I invited three of his teammates over for lunch and asked if I checked on Kurt because I’ve never been close to Kurt.

“Every single one of them, all three of them said, ‘He was the best teammate I’ve ever had.’ This is your peer review. That’s pretty much someone to have in your stable, especially for Bubba who’s never had a teammate before.”

When Busch joined 23XI Racing in August 2021, both he and Hamlin stated that there were several goals to be achieved. Winning was high on the list, but they also realized that Busch had to help Bubba Wallace and the entire organization become more consistent.

Busch, who is in his 23rd season in the Cup Series (22nd full-time), has raced for multiple organizations. He began his career driving for Jack Roush before joining Team Penske. He spent several years each with Stewart-Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing before joining 23XI Racing. Busch also spent time with Phoenix Racing and Furniture Row Racing in 2012 and 2013.

This multi-organization period led to Busch teaming up with a laundry list of teammates. He has worked with Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr., Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Tony Stewart, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and now Wallace.

Busch and his teammates scored an overall win at each stop. He has reached the victory lane 34 times, including at least once in nine straight seasons. Busch also watched his teammates Kenseth (2003) and Harvick (2014) win both championships. Now he and 23XI Racing are fresh from a win and ready for even more success.

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