Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished 14th in the Martinsville 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Busch started the race from the 26th position but was able to make passes early and often throughout the 500-lap race, despite struggling with handling issues that at times saw his Haas Automation Chevrolet loose entering the corners, tight in the center and loose on exit. He raced his way to the lead on lap 134, and he held the point for 21 laps before fading as his handling woes worsened.
Crew chief Tony Gibson called for wedge, air pressure and shock adjustments throughout the race, which improved the handling characteristics of the car. But Busch continued to struggle as the laps clicked off.
Busch lost a lap to the race leader on lap 332, but he put himself in position to be the first car one lap down and earn the “free pass” back onto the lead lap in the event of a caution. His efforts were rewarded when, on lap 366, a multicar incident brought out the caution period that the No. 41 team needed to return to the lead lap.Over the closing 125 laps of the event, Busch was able to climb from 24th and bring the Haas Automation Chevrolet home in the 14th position.