Busch and his Furniture Row Racing/Beautyrest Chevrolet came from two laps down to record an impressive, fourth-place finish Sunday; his best result in 10 career races with the Colorado-based team. It was his first finish better than 20th this season, ending a string of sub-par performances that has plagued the team this season. Busch was a disappointing 28th in the season-opening Daytona 500 due to a crash, 27th (one lap down) the following week at Phoenix and 20th (also a lap off the lead) last weekend in Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
And before the halfway point Sunday, it looked like the Las Vegas native was heading for another disheartening day.
“We fell two laps down because of a loose right-rear wheel and then suffered left-front damage near the end of the race.” said Busch afterward. “Considering how much we had to battle back from adversity today, the finish was even more gratifying.
“We battled hard, and the poor No. 78 car – she’s used up,” said Busch, who climbed from 29th to 16th in championship points.
Despite a day littered with setbacks, Busch provided a late-race display of the driving talent that made him a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. When the green flag waved following the final caution with just 40 laps to go, Busch was mired back in 13th position. He immediately began recording the fastest lap times in the field, however, gaining nine positions by the time the checkered flag flew.
|Busch's late pit stop paid dividends|
“We ran into Logano with less than 50 to go,” explained Busch. “We had damage and had to pit. I was like, ‘what else (can happen)?’ But that allowed us to be off sequence, and we put on four fresh tires and battled back. We probably wouldn’t have put four (tires) on if we hadn’t had the damage. (But) we had to drop back and punt, and that was the best call to make.”
Busch actually had a fast car all day Sunday. Despite starting 19th, he cracked the Top-5 within 65 laps and was running third on Lap 220 when forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green flag due to that loose right-rear wheel. The stop dropped Busch all the way to 29th place, two laps down, and forced him into recovery mode for the remainder of the race.
“When you fall two laps down, it's almost like your day is over,” said Busch of the setback. “But we kept at it and got those laps back, which gave us an opportunity to make another run to the front. We had a very fast car today and to come home with a Top-5 is exactly what we needed.”