As a passionate ambassador for the Armed Forces Foundation, Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway carries a special meaning for Furniture Row Racing driver Kurt Busch.
“It’s Veterans Day on Sunday and this is a time when we all need to reflect and pay tribute to those men and women – past and present -- who sacrificed by serving in the United States military to protect our freedom,” Busch said. “They are my heroes and they will be in my thoughts this weekend at Phoenix.”
Busch, who will compete in his fifth race with the Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing, enters the AdvoCare 500 with continued confidence after posting a solid eighth-place finish in last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“We’re making serious progress in a short period of time,” Busch noted. “The program is definitely taking shape and the internal communications are getting better at each race. The learning curve has been shortened and that will be good news for Furniture Row Racing in 2013.”
While the eighth-place result at Texas was the best finish in the four races with Furniture Row Racing, it may not have been Busch’s best performance in the team’s No. 78 Chevrolet.
After a 21st place finish in his maiden ride with Furniture Row Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 13), Busch came on strong at the next two races in Kansas City, Kan. and Martinsville, Va., running in the top-five in each event before being caught up in accidents.
“We’ve had good cars in the last three races and fortunately we had something to show for our performance in Texas,” Busch stated. “We do have some handling issues that need to be fixed and we still have to work on our qualifying program.”
Busch and the Furniture Row team tested in Phoenix recently and feel they have a good handle on what is needed for the one-mile oval that was repaved and reconfigured last year.
“So far as a team we’ve competed on three mile-and-a-half tracks (Charlotte, Kansas, Texas) and a half-mile (Martinsville),” explained Busch. “Now we go to a one-mile track and based on our Phoenix test I am confident that we will be competitive this weekend. I like the Phoenix track and have had success there.”
In 19 Sprint Cup starts at Phoenix International Raceway, Busch has led 750 laps while posting one win, four top-fives and 10 top-10s. His average Phoenix start is 13.4 and average finish is 13.5.