After posting back-to-back finishes of fourth and sixth, Kurt Busch is looking to continue the positive trend, which has put him in the hunt for one of the post-regular season Chase spots.
But in order for the Furniture Row Racing driver to add on to his recent success, he will have to overcome a recent plague of superspeedway bad luck when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series challenges the famed 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway Saturday night in the Coke Zero 400.
Busch enters the halfway mark of the season in 14th place, only 16 points out of 10th, the final Chase position before the two wild card qualifiers. There are nine races remaining before the start of the 10-race Chase.
“I am confident our Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevrolet SS will have the raw speed necessary for Daytona, but you need more than speed at these restrictor plate races,” said Busch. “You need some luck, which is something I haven’t had recently at the big tracks.”
At the previous restrictor-plate race in Talladega, Ala., Busch was running fifth with six laps remaining, but in an instant his car got clipped and went airborne before crash landing on the hood of Ryan Newman’s car.
His last three races at Daytona weren’t much better. In February’s Daytona 500, Busch was involved in an early accident that crippled his performance. And at last year’s two Daytona Sprint Cup races he had finishes of 39th and 35th.
“We can be a contender Saturday night,” stated Busch, a Las Vegas native. “We're just hoping that our number is not pulled in the crash derby roulette wheel at the end of the race.
“We're in the Chase hunt and need to avoid major slips in the next nine races. A solid finish at Daytona will be a big boost in our quest of making the Chase."
Despite his recent bad luck at Daytona, Busch has enjoyed success at the World Center of Racing. In 25 Daytona starts he has claimed 10 top-fives and 12 top-10s, including three runner-up finishes in the Daytona 500. His best finishes at the Daytona summer race were a pair of thirds.
He also knows what it’s like to visit Daytona’s Victory Lane. He won the Daytona Nationwide Series race last year while racing for Phoenix Racing. He also won the two prestigious non-point races at Daytona in 2011 – the Sprint Shootout and the Gatorade 150 qualifying race.
Busch will again compete in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race for Phoenix Racing, driving the No. 1 Chevrolet.