Since his dazzling come-from-the-back fourth-place drive Sunday at Sonoma Raceway’s road course, Kurt Busch feels his Furniture Row Racing team needs to establish a consistent base of top-five and top-10 finishes to be a player for one of the 12 Chase spots.
Despite a 17th-place position in the driver standings, Busch is only 28 points from 10th with ten races remaining before the beginning of the Chase, a 10-race playoff style format to determine the 2013 Sprint Cup Series champion.
“Based on how we’ve been running week in and week out we should be in the top-10, but we just had too many things happen to us that were costly in terms of driver points,” said Busch.
It appeared that Busch and his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet were going to have another one of those costly weekends in Sonoma after Busch was tagged for a pair of pit road speeding penalties after running in first place.
But the 2004 NASCAR champion showed his tenacious driving skills once again and charged back to a top-five finish. It was his sixth top-10 of the season and his fourth top-five – both season records for Furniture Row Racing with 20 races remaining in the 2013 season
The next mission for Busch and the Denver, Colo.-based single car team is Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.
“We’ve been up and down on the mile-and-a-half tracks this season, but the last one (at Charlotte) we took home a third,” noted Busch. “Hopefully we can do the same or better at Kentucky.”
But Busch and the rest of the drivers know that Kentucky has its own characteristics that make it more of a challenge.
“Kentucky is a hot track the way the race lays out,” stated Busch. “With so much practice time during the day it’s tough to figure out how to get the car dialed in for the night race. With all those variables plus being a bumpy racetrack it leaves it wide open for who can find the right package to dial in a car.
“Kentucky is also a little different because it’s a much flatter mile-in-a-half and much bumpier. You have to build a lot of forgiveness into the car and allow it to absorb the bumps.”
Busch’s record at the first two Cup races at Kentucky Speedway includes a ninth-place finish in 2011 and 19th last year.