Kurt Busch thinks Roush Yates Engines "slightly better" than Hendrick

Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch has certainly been a beneficiary of Stewart-Haas Racing’s strong start to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Kurt Busch thinks Roush Yates Engines "slightly better" than Hendrick
The car of Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning

But he also maintains a sense of caution, unwilling to proclaim the organization’s offseason switch from Chevrolet to Ford a complete success just two races into a 36-race season.

“We upgraded in all categories at Stewart-Haas, so it’s really neat to see everything come out of the box strong,” Busch said Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “We still have to get through this West Coast run and get to Martinsville.

“Once we get past Martinsville, we’ll evaluate where things are. You just can’t go off of two races. Let’s give it five, six or seven.”

One significant difference Busch said he can already see comes from the change to Roush Yates Engines. SHR had been in a technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports and was utilizing HMS engines prior to this season.

“Doug Yates’ power, I want to say, is slightly better than where we were, it just feels that way,” Busch said. “The aerodynamic balance of the Ford has more distribution on one region of the car than another and it feels better.”

Early rewards

Ford has won the first two races of the season, with Busch claiming the 500 victory and Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski winning last weekend at Atlanta.

However, SHR had an excellent opportunity to start 2-0 itself, as Kevin Harvick led 292 of 325 laps at Atlanta until he lost his chance at the win with a late-race pit road speeding penalty.

“When we made the announcement that we were switching to Ford last year, it came with extra meetings and longer driver debriefs,” Busch said. “We were looking at blueprints and different front-end geometry changes because of Doug Yates’ engines and how they’re built slightly different.

“A lot of extra work had to go into switching our cars over to Ford. When you roll up your sleeves with a group of racers like we have at Stewart-Haas Racing, it allowed us to go over the car with a finer tooth comb and we looked at every area.

“It was a full-on effort to get these cars switched over, but I love the way we went over them in extra detail.”

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