Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), raced toward the front of the pack early and rallied from the 25th position on lap 180 to finish seventh in the Geico 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Busch started 18th, raced his way to the second position by the second lap of the race and continued in the top-10 for the majority of the race. The Haas Automation team raced in fourth position at the halfway point of the race and continued to run up front until a pit-road mishap on lap 177.
On lap 176, the No. 42 car brought out the caution flag due to a spin in turn one. As the leaders came to pit road for routine service, several cars made contact, causing Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet to spin on pit road. Multiple cars scattered in an attempt to avoid the No. 4 car facing the wrong direction. Unfortunately, the No. 41 received damage in the mishap, requiring a second pit stop for repairs. Following the repairs Busch restarted 25th with nine laps remaining in the scheduled distance.
Busch raced from the 25th position to sixth by the next caution for debris on lap 184. As the race restarted for the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Busch raced from sixth to third before a multicar wreck brought out the race’s final caution on lap 189. Busch stayed out during the caution period and lined up in the third position for the second attempt at a green-white-checkered on lap 192.
Busch tried working with several drivers on the final restart to make one last attempt for the win, but the line behind him failed to provide the push needed to reach victory lane.
“I thought we were in a good position,” explained Busch, who scored the 199th top-10 of his career. “We had good restarts. We had survived wrecks; well, we didn’t survive all of them. We had that one mishap on pit road where everybody was pitting and you are supposed to be single file and guys got to my inside and we had pitted early on pit road. I had to get to the left, and I was trying to yield my way over, and nobody is thinking at that point that a car needs to pit. We cleaned that up enough to survive. Came from 30th with nine laps to go and had a shot at winning but didn’t quite cash in.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t cash in for a win; that is what we are all here to do. I felt like on the last restart that Bowyer was going to be our catalyst, but it ended up he didn’t stay attached to our rear bumper, so I couldn’t get to Newman in time and that outside groove was going. So, I had to get to the middle to salvage what I could, and that was seventh. I just have to thank Kevin Harvick for being a great teammate all day today.”
Busch led the four-car SHR contingent by finishing seventh in the Geico 500. It was Busch’s ninth top-10 of 2014 and his 14th top-10 in 28 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2.66-mile oval.