It was at the 1.5-mile intermediate South Florida track where Busch held off Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to capture the 2004 Cup championship, in the first year of NASCAR’s Chase playoff format.
“Since 2004, there’s been a nostalgic feeling when I get to Homestead,” said Busch. “Winning the championship in the first year of the Chase was a magical time for me. But right now the focus is on the present, not the past.
“This will be my final ride with Furniture Row Racing and I want to make it a good one. We have plenty to shoot for when the green flag drops on Sunday.”
Busch, who is coming off a fifth-place finish at Phoenix, is 10th in the Chase driver point standings, a position he hopes to retain, or even improve upon, at Homestead.
“We want to be 10th or better in the final point standings,” said Busch, a seven-time Chase participant. “Being in the top-10 not only has a better ring to it, but it shows how far this single-car team out of Colorado has come in a short period of time and how well it has fared against the big dogs of the sport.”
An added perk for finishing in the Top-10 is that Busch would be invited to speak at the NASCAR’s Awards Banquet on Dec. 6 at the Wynn Hotel in his hometown of Las Vegas. But there’s more to shoot for at Homestead than a podium appearance at the annual awards gala.
"This is our last chance to take the Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet to Victory Lane,” said Busch, a 2002 winner at Homestead. “There's nothing I want more for these Furniture Row guys who have worked so hard all year to give me a fast race car.
“Though we have a bunch of Top-5s (11) and Top-10s (16), we don't have that W. A victory would cap off an already successful season for our single-car team. It's been a great ride with a great bunch of guys and with an outstanding organization led by team owner Barney Visser.”
Busch has scored three Top-5 finishes in the nine Chase races to date. He was fourth in the Chase opener at Chicago, second at Kansas and fifth at Phoenix.
“Outside of those three races we seemed to have hit a brick wall in the Chase,” noted Busch. “But to finish fifth last week was a big moment and gives us plenty of momentum heading into Homestead.”