Kurt Busch knows that he has the talent and equipment to win his first Sprint Cup restrictor-plate race.
But the 34-year-old driver, who has 24 career Cup victories, also knows it will take more than talent and top-notch equipment to win Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
"The restrictor-plate races turn in to more of a crap shoot,” said Busch, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevrolet SS. “You see if your number is going to come up and be the lucky guy at the end of the day. The way you have to stay patient all day, stay out of trouble and be on the lucky side of things is a tough combination to get exactly right.”
Busch has come close to winning many times at the restrictor-plate tracks in Talladega and Daytona. He has four top-three finishes at Talladega and six top-threes at Daytona, including four runner-up results in the Daytona 500.
“Over the years I've had good consistent finishes-- just haven't broken through for a Cup win at a Superspeedway,” noted Busch. “As of late I've been pushing hard to get that win and then I end up in wrecks.”
Busch, who one time scored seven consecutive top-10s at Talladega, is currently on a different cycle at NASCAR’s biggest track. His best finish in the last five races at the 2.66-mile oval is 18th and his last top-10 was six races ago in October 2010.
“I just have to go back to the basics to try and survive and hopefully our number will come up at the end of the day,” explained Busch. “You can't expect to win. You have to find little things that will help you have an advantage at the end of the race."
Busch’s overall record at Talladega is six top-fives, 13 top-10s and 143 laps led in 24 career starts.
Busch will also compete in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Talladega, driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing. Busch won the Daytona Nationwide restrictor-plate race last summer while driving for Phoenix Racing.
Busch is coming off a strong performance at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway where he was a bona-fide contender for the win in Saturday night’s event. He led 36 laps and ran in the top-five for the majority of the race. A late caution and a chaotic green-white-checkered finish dropped Busch to a ninth-place result.
“We were much better than ninth at Richmond, but that’s ok because it was the performance that showed us that we can run up front and be a legitimate contender,” stated Busch. “We still have to make improvements and keep the mistakes and malfunctions to a minimum. There’s plenty of optimism with this Furniture Row Racing team.”