Kurt Busch avoided the drama at Talladega Superspeedway — on the track and off — by staying the course.
Prior to the weekend, Busch acknowledged consistency had served the No. 41 Haas Automation team well. He was third in the standings entering Talladega — seven points ahead of eighth-place in the Chase.
It’s crazy how it can come down to a restart right at the end. It’s almost like a jump ball on a buzzer beater is the way this system works
With a conservative approach — and a little bit of luck — Busch finished the CampingWorld.com 500 with a 10th-place result — his 18th top 10 of the season.
Chaos at the finish
However, the race was not void of a few tense moments for Busch and his Tony Gibson-led team.
“I was on the inside lane and we were plus 13 (points),” Busch said of the final caution. “That is the news that I got. My little brother was plus 2 (points) behind me and my teammate Kevin Harvick was on the outside. I was like man we all need to keep going. We don’t need anything big to happen.
It feels great, but you can only celebrate for so long because there is a lot more work to be done
Kurt Busch on advancement in the Chase
“Going up through the gears in the mirror there was smoke and cars going every which way. It’s crazy how it can come down to a restart right at the end. It’s almost like a jump ball on a buzzer beater is the way this system works.”
Onto Round 3
Busch was fourth once the points were reshuffled and well within the margin to transfer into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Now the points are all set at zero.
“It feels great, but you can only celebrate for so long because there is a lot more work to be done,” Busch said. “We are in position now. Now it’s a point’s race. You’ve got the top eight guys and you’ve got to do really good things in these last four races to win the championship.
“I feel really good about our Haas Automation Chevrolet team and the way that we have worked through both round of this Chase thus far. We’ve got more for them. We will keep going.”
Looking forward to Martinsville
Busch remains optimistic with four races to determine the title. Despite winning twice at Martinsville Speedway — including last year — he still considers that race a wild card in the Chase. Of the final three races, Busch has victories at each. He tested at Phoenix International Raceway and came back after losing a wheel at Homestead-Miami Speedway to finish fifth and win the title in 2004.
“I feel really good with him (Gibson); he’s a great team leader,” Busch said. “All the guys back at the shop. I’ve won at the final four tracks. It’s now even ground. We are even as the point’s leader going in.
“You’ve got to do the job to get the ticket to go to Homestead and capitalize on it there.”