RICHMOND, Va. – “We were there, but on the wrong sequence at the end,” said Kurt Busch, who saw a race-contending performance drop to a solid ninth-place finish in the closing laps of Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Busch, driving the No. 78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet SS, led a total of 36 laps and was positioned in third place when the final caution came out with four laps remaining in the scheduled 400-lap event. After pitting for four fresh tires Busch restarted 10th for the overtime green-white-checkered finish on the .75-mile short track.
“I was disappointed when that last yellow came out because I knew it was going to be a free-for-all with everyone fighting for track position,” said Busch. “I got hit from behind and everybody was slamming everybody. It was chaos. With a few laps to go this Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet SS didn’t have a scratch on it and now it’s destroyed. The last caution was timely for some and untimely for others.”
Busch, who started 14th, moved into the top-five on Lap 118 and stayed there until the final restart on Lap 400.
“It was an awesome run to be in the top-five all night – just nice and steady,” stated Busch, who led the field from Laps 294 to 329. “We were in the mix – that’s what you hope for when you show up each week. A great night for our Furniture Row Racing team.”
The ninth-place result was Busch’s third top-10 in the first nine races. He gained two spots in the driver standings – from 22nd to 20th.
The race winner was Kevin Harvick. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The Toyota Owners 400 had 10 lead changes among seven drivers and there were 11 cautions for 75 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday, May 5 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.