Furniture Row Racing driver Kurt Busch is banking on a “Lucky 13” start to beat the odds and fulfill a career dream of claiming his first Sprint Cup victory in his hometown of Las Vegas.
“Not too many people beat the odds in Las Vegas, but after 12 attempts of trying to win there, I think I’m overdue,” said Busch, whose No. 78 Chevrolet will feature a new associate sponsor – Serta Mattress – for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
A strong proponent of Las Vegas, Busch joined former Las Vegas Mayor and current Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Host Committee Chair Oscar Goodman and Las Vegas Motor Speedway president Chris Powell at a news conference last week to discuss the economic impact of the NASCAR race weekend.
“The NASCAR weekend is one of the biggest of the year in Las Vegas, having an economic impact of more than $240 million,” explained Busch, who is ranked fifth among active drivers with 24 career Cup wins. “As a Las Vegas native and a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver that makes me very proud.”
What would make Busch even more proud is to leave the city Sunday with the winning hardware, which has eluded the former NASCAR champion since his first Cup start at Las Vegas in 2001.
“Look at the record, it’s quite evident that Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been tough on me,” said Busch, who has one top-five and three top-10s in 12 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “It’s a challenging track and the new Gen-6 car could make it even more challenging.
“But I like the track and feel it’s a winnable place. It would be the ultimate welcome to our new associate sponsor Serta, whose top-of-the-line mattresses are sold at Denver Mattress locations nationwide.”
Winning at Las Vegas might initially appear to be an unrealistic goal after looking at the team finishes in the first two races – 28th (Daytona) and 27th (Phoenix). But a closer look at the performances of those two races does indeed suggest that the No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS is a capable contender.
“We proved that we can run up front in both Daytona and Phoenix, but accidents and untimely car issues have held us back,” noted Busch. “We have the potential to be contending at the end, but need to have a clean and error-free race.”