Kurt Busch and the No. 41 Haas Automation team watched their potential top-10 finish dry up in the Arizona desert due to an engine failure Sunday in The Profit on CNBC 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, resulting in a 39th-place finish.
Busch got off to a fast start in the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS in the early going of the 312-lap race, racing from 12th to eighth in the opening laps. The No. 41 remained in the top-10 and ran as high as fifth by lap 170.
The first sign of a problem reared its head on lap 208 when Busch, racing in 10th position, radioed to crew chief Daniel Knost that “we dropped a cylinder.” Busch did his best to hold his position, but the issue prevented the No. 41 from maintaining its top-10 speed. On lap 232 the Haas Automation team lost its first lap to the leaders, and just 10 laps later the car ran out of gas while coming to pit road, causing the team to lose two additional laps.
The No. 41 suffered total engine failure on lap 292 while racing in 33rd position. Busch radioed the team to notify them of the failure before returning to the garage for the final time. As the No. 41 Chevy circled the track coming to the garage, fluid from the engine dropped onto the track to bring out the final caution of the race on lap 298.
“That was another disappointing finish for the No. 41 team. We had a good Haas Automation Chevrolet early on and ran in the top-10 for more than 200 laps,” Busch said. “But we dropped a cylinder late in the race and couldn’t do anything to fix it. I’m proud of my guys for sticking with it and doing what they could. We had some great pit stops today and were in position for a good afternoon. To have a top-10 car all afternoon and then not finish the race is a tough way to end your day. We learned some things today and found some things to work on moving forward, but this is a young team and we will come back stronger for it.”