DENVER, Colo. – Roller coaster ride, feast or famine.
Pick the cliché.
Either one would best describe Kurt Busch’s season to date as the Furniture Row Racing driver will attempt to steady the ship in this weekend’s STP 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.
Though he had a fast Chevrolet SS at the start of the season, Busch couldn’t post a finish better than 20th in the first three races due to a series of bad breaks.
Then came the two races in Bristol, Tenn. and Fontana, Calif. where Busch and Furniture Row Racing showed their true strength with a pair of top-five finishes.
“It appeared after California we were on the right track and did away with those gremlins that caused us big-time problems early in the season,” said Busch. “But based on what happened to us the past two weeks I guess you could say that I was premature in my optimism.”
Yes, Busch’s past two Sprint Cup Series races in Martinsville, Va. and Fort Worth, Texas started with great potential but ended in pure frustration, posting 37th-place finishes in each event.
“We had a top-10 car in Martinsville and a top-five car in Texas,” noted Busch. “But due to mechanical woes at each race, we lost our momentum and threw away a bunch of points. It’s been a difficult two weeks for not only me, but for the entire Furniture Row Racing organization. We need to turn this around at Kansas.”
The culprit at Martinsville was a malfunctioning fuel pump and the Texas culprit was a broken part in the electronic fuel injection system.
“It’s rare to have these type of problems and even more rare to have them come on back-to-back weekends,” explained Busch. “But what’s done is done and it’s time to look ahead.”
Busch and Furniture Row Racing have reasons to be optimistic about the 1.5-mile Kansas track. He had a stellar performance in his last race at Kansas (October) while driving the Furniture Row Chevrolet. He was running as high as fourth before being collected in an accident.
The Denver, Colo.-based team also feels its performance last week in Texas, which included the outside pole starting position, is another good sign for the Kansas race.
“Kansas has similarities to California and Texas and we had speed at both places,” noted Busch. “We’ll be right there again and hopefully we won’t have to deal with any issues.”
Regarding the freshly-paved Kansas oval, Busch feels it’s going to be another super fast track for the Gen-6 race cars.
“With all that fresh asphalt in Kansas we’ll have a lot of throttle-on time,” said Busch. “It’s going to be fast there. If you check up out of the gas a little bit you’ll lose a ton of time. The moments you lift out of the gas you want it to be small because the place is so fast. You just have to keep your foot down on the pedal and jam it hard in the corners.”
Busch’s record at Kanas includes 14 starts, three top-10s, one pole and 239 laps led.