Monday, March 18, 2013

For Busch, Bristol Provided Much-Needed Turnaround

It’s been a while coming, but Sunday’s fourth-place finish in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway may have provided an important turning point for Kurt Busch and his new team. 

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.”


  1. glad to see something good for Kurt!

  2. Good to to see a small team doing well. They are doing better every year and getting a driver like Kurt will surely make them better.

    Hope you and Angie enjoyed the peanuts

  3. Am I alone thinking that Busch had a mediocre day. He had bad luck and went two laps down. But not for NASCAR's welfare-like policy to give laps back to the needy and less fortunate he would have been 15th or worse. At Vegas, Stewart was given a lap back and then when pitting with the leaders, blocked race leader Kayne, putting Kayne back to 6th. This probably cost Kayne the win. These two Lucky Dogs are past champions. Why give them anything? This policy may add entertainment value but comes at the cost of true sport and integrity. Smells bad to me.

    1. Anonymous12:03 PM

      yes, you are alone.

    2. I thought so. It's kind of like living near a paper mill, after a while you don't even smell it.

  4. Anonymous7:07 AM

    Good to see some positive comments about Kurt.

    Jenna Fryer also had a nice article.

    Hopefully good things are in store for Kurt and Furniture Row this year.