KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Three major incidents to the Furniture Row Racing team in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race spoiled a tenacious driving performance by Kurt Busch, who saw a potential top-five or better result dissipate to a 25th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.
“Our overall performance was indeed much better than our finish,” said Busch, who was driving in his second race for Furniture Row Racing. “There was just too much to overcome. But on the bright side, we have a race team that proved today that we can run up front. There is no doubt in my mind that we had at least a top-five car.”
Furniture Row crew chief Todd Berrier echoed the same feelings and also offered praise for his driver.
“First, Kurt Busch showed all of us today what an impressive driver he is,” said Berrier. “It was hard not to be in awe of his driving skills. We’re excited about the future, and the more races we work together, the better we will become. It was the performance that counted today, not the finishing result.”
It was evident from the start of the Hollywood Casino 400 that Busch was going to be a player in the 267-lap race. After qualifying 29th, the Furniture Row driver was positioned in the top-10 by Lap 75, and by Lap 90, he was running fourth.
“The Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet was flying at that point and all systems were clicking,” noted Busch. “Todd and the guys did a great job getting the car dialed in for the race.”
But on Lap 120 while running in fourth place on the 1.5-mile oval, Busch was one of the first to make a green flag pit stop. Two laps later the yellow flag waved, which sent Busch all the way back to 24th in track position.
“It was a bad break, but those things happen,” explained Busch. “We temporarily lost our momentum, but felt there was plenty of time to get back up front.”
Busch did make another charge to the front, but found himself on the receiving end of another bad break while positioned in ninth place. The right-front fender of his No. 78 Chevy suffered major damage when it got collected in a Lap 182 multicar accident.
The damage forced Busch to make three unscheduled trips to pit road for repairs.
“We were severely handicapped after that accident, but didn’t quit,” stated Busch. “We still felt we could salvage a respectable finish.”
Busch was on his way to that respectable finish, but with 11 laps remaining in the race and safely running in 12th place, his right-front tire blew, which resulted in an unscheduled pit stop and a 25th-place finish.
“Again, these final races are to get us prepared for next season,” said Busch. “Today, the learning curve was shortened and we have plenty of good things to look forward to. It was a great team effort.”
The next race for the Furniture Row Racing team will be Sunday (Oct. 28) at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway short track.
The Kansas race winner was Matt Kenseth. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Regan Smith, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
The repaved Kansas Speedway produced a track record 14 cautions for 66 laps. There were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers.