Roller coaster ride for Kurt Busch

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Kurt Busch has already had a whirlwind season, what is next for the Stewart-Haas "newbie?"

FORT WORTH, Texas – For Kurt Busch, the 2014 Sprint Cup season has been more of a roller coaster ride than a succession of Sunday drives. “I know, right? Too many emotions,” Busch said, finally able to laugh.

Over the last two weeks, the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevy has blown tires at Auto Club Speedway and Texas (the latter where he destroyed his primary car) posted his first top-five finish (ACS) followed by his first win of the season at Martinsville Speedway and on Saturday, put his backup car at the top of the speed chart in Happy Hour.

“We needed to settle back in and make sure our car was traveling in the right areas and trying to find the balance with the backup car and then quickly move into the balance that the track was asking,” Busch said. “So we just had to do everything quicker today.

“I’m starting to learn a trend. I didn’t practice on Saturday at Martinsville and that helped me so give me less chance to dial it out.”

Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski
Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski

Photo by: Getty Images

During qualifying, Busch masterfully moved through the three segments eventually settling for 11th due to not being able to “attack the track”. But with his teammate/co-owner Tony Stewart taking the top spot and Kevin Harvick starting third, the Stewart-Haas Teammates will have a lot to work with for Sunday’s Duck Commander 500.

“It’s just the quality of the team,” Busch added. “There’s a lot of emotions with winning. There’s a lot of emotions with wrecking your primary car. You hope to draw a line in the sand and just walk close to the non-emotional side but when you have a team with depth, it helps.

“We still have a few things to guess at. We have good teammates to look at as far as notes. We’ll look at Tony and Harvick and Danica’s (Patrick) set ups to double check what we did in this hour and a half crunch session since we were limited on time today with our back up car.”

Clearly, the trials Busch faced on his comeback trail over the last two seasons have better equipped the 35-year-old former Cup champion to handle adversity. And that’s a necessity given that Busch is starting from scratch with the No. 41 team and rookie crew chief Daniel Knost.

Race winner Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

“It’s still about, for me, giving it my best,” Busch said. “My dad instilled a work ethic in me to never give up and to show up every day and give it your best. In this game of Sprint Cup racing you have to continue to learn even though you might not have the best equipment or the odds are stacked against you, you have to still continue to learn something.

“There are little things I learned at Phoenix Racing and Furniture Row Racing that I’m sprinkling in here with a big team like Stewart-Haas Racing that’s allowing us to find some speed. The great ones in this garage always find a way to find more speed in their cars.”

Lee Spencer

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Special feature
Tags duck commander, humpy wheeler, kurt busch, lee spencer, nascar, nationwide, qualifying, sidebar, sprint cup, texas