DENVER, COLORADO :: After announcing roughly a month back that Kurt Busch wouldn't return to Furniture Row Racing, they are now in need of a driver. With top prospects like Ryan Newman and Juan Montoya already deciding their future it leaves Furniture Row with no "great" driver to choose from.
2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion, Bobby Labonte has been in the early conversation of getting this FFR (Furniture Row Racing) ride. Labonte who hasn't seen victory lane since Homstead in 2003, has been driving for JTG Daughtery in the No. 47 Toyota. That team though isn't re-signing Labonte for 2014 because they picked up AJ Allmendinger last month. Labonte isn't maybe the top prospect but is definitely a option.
After resigning from Richard Childress Racing Jeff Burton has been in NASCAR'S Free Agency but now with the No. 78 all open it put's him in a pretty good situation. The No. 78 is a RCR (Richard Childress Racing) powered car, which Burton has had experience with. Burton could easily retire from racing and coach his nephew Jeb Burton in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A big deciding factor of whether Burton gets a ride next year could be this weekend, he loves Loudon and with a win it would make his chances of this ride a lot better.
Another and possibly the final contender for this spot in 2013 Talladega winner, David Ragan. The current Front Row Racing driver isn't signed for 2014 and his options are either the No. 78 car or re-sign with the No. 34 team. Ragan hasn't been mentioned for this ride, but in my mind he is a front running candidate.
Mark Martin (looking for part time)
After his sixth-place run at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Saturday night, Kurt Busch has moved the small one-car team of Furniture Row Racing into a Chase contending position; ninth in points.
Back in 2004, the eldest Busch Brother was in racing heaven and on top of the standings; holding up the prized Championship trophy at the end of the season. Since that season, his road has been bumpy to say the least.
He spent five seasons at Penske Racing, running the No.2 Dodge that won the Championship last season and saw Victory Lane eight times. After parting ways with the No.2 in 2011, he moved to the No.22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge, also for Penske Racing. Unfortunately, that ride didn’t last too long.
In 2012, Busch found himself looking for a full-time ride and found that in the No.51 of Phoenix Racing and James Finch. With limited sponsorship, Busch was struggling to put himself in a position to contend for wins and only found himself in the top-10 twice. After 30 races, Busch and Finch parted ways and Busch moved to his new home; Furniture Row Racing.
In the six races he ran at the end of 2012 in the No.78, Busch almost doubled his top-10 finishes. In 2013, Busch set out to prove that he still had it. Based out of Denver, Colorado, Furniture Row Racing is a one-car team who has invested 100% in Kurt Busch. In 18 races, Busch has eight top-10s, four top-5 finishes, and four front row starts including one pole.
Busch has found himself in a position that he hasn’t seen in quite some time, in a Chase position. Sitting ninth in points, Busch isn’t slowing down and continues to push the car to its limits each and every week. He jumped five positions last week when he came into Daytona sitting 14th.
Is a win this season too much of a stretch for Busch? I don’t think so. In the last five races, Busch has four top-10s and two top-10 starting spots. Kurt Busch has made a home for himself at Furniture Row Racing this pairing could go on to do great things together. Have we seen the last of Championship Contending Kurt Busch? Nope, it is clear we have just seen the beginning.
Jimmie Johnson may have dominated at the half mile track and Danica Patrick may have had the most impressive run in her short Sprint Cup Series career but the most memorable moment from yesterday's STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway was a ball of flames.
Kurt Busch started 19th and patiently drove his No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS to the front of the field. By Lap 195, he had entered the top-10. Lap 270 saw Busch headed to pit road with a flat left-front tire after a tangle with Joey Logano which put him 2 laps down. By Lap 292, he had gained one lap back and was on the verge of getting the "Lucky Dog" position when a nudge from David Gilliland sent Busch spinning on the track.
Little did Busch know, his struggles were just beginning. Lap 351 saw Busch heading to the garage with a fuel pump issue. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the track and all seemed to be working properly. Busch was running 38th and more than 20 laps down with 14 laps to go when his Furniture Row Chevy suddenly shot up into the outside wall and burst into flames.
Coming into turn 1, his car lost its brakes and instead of careening into the corner and taking out his fellow competitors, Busch instead turned the wheel to the right and slid up into the wall. Flames bellowed out from under the hood of his car as it came to its final resting place at the top of the track.
"Something happened with the brakes," Busch said during his post-race interview. "The pedal felt spongy going into three and four and I gave it a courtesy pump and it came to. I go down the front straightaway and gave it another courtesy pup and it went straight to the floor. Something failed with it and I just turned it to the right and fenced it instead of running head on into the fence."
Busch quickly climbed out from the cockpit of the car but not before hitting his in-car extinguisher on the dash. Despite the wreck, the eldest Busch brother was optimistic and positive saying that although it's been a tough year so far, he isn't giving up just yet.
Want to watch his crash? Click here.