Coming off a pair of impressive top-five finishes, Kurt Busch is in position to snap an eight-year jinx in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race – the STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
The last time the Furniture Row Racing driver and former NASCAR champion scored three consecutive top-five finishes was at the opening three races of the 2005 season.
The absence of a string of top-five finishes can be viewed as an aberration for Busch, who has stockpiled a career total of 91 top-fives.
“We’re not concerned about statistics,” said Busch, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS. “We just want to continue our momentum and keep plugging forward. We had solid finishes at Bristol (4th) and California (5th), which is a tribute to our Furniture Row Racing ownership, management and to all the guys at the shop and on the road.”
Busch is the first to admit that the Martinsville Speedway’s flat track has not been a kind place for him. Yes, he did score his second of 24 career wins at the .526-mile oval in October 2002.
But since that victory he has only managed to produce two top-10 finishes, with the last being a sixth-place result nearly eight years ago in October 2005. His last top-five (5th) at Martinsville was October 2004.
“No question, Martinsville has been one of the toughest tracks for me over the years,” stated Busch. “I won there early in my career, but have struggled in recent years.
“Martinsville is called a paper clip, but I call it a parking lot. It’s tough, it’s flat and everybody is beating and banging on each other all day long. You can’t get away from the guys hounding on you from behind. Protecting your brakes and the rear tires is essential if you’re going to have a good finish there.”
Though Martinsville has been the gray cloud of racetracks for Busch, he can start to see some light. The optimistic outlook is based on his performance in the Furniture Row Chevrolet last October coupled with a recent test session at Spokane (Wash.) Raceway.
“We came close to a strong top-10 finish at Martinsville in the Furniture Row car last fall, but got spun out and ended up 15th,” explained Busch. “We tested for Martinsville in Spokane following the California race and feel we'll again be ready for the challenge this weekend in our Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS."
Busch enters Martinsville – the sixth race of the season – 13th in the driver point standings. He is only eight points out of 10th.