Kurt Busch started the STP 500 from a disappointing 22nd starting point at Martinsville Speedway. He battled all day to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 83 races. He now has one win and is eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Battled is an understatement. He started deep in the field and at one point hit Brad Keselowski on Pit Road when several cars checked up entering their pit. Brad Keselowski came back on the track to execute payback or at the very least antagonize Kurt. Kurt Busch or should we say the new Kurt Busch wanted nothing to do with it. As well he should.
“Yeah, I can’t believe he overreacted and he’s as upset as he is. The 5 car was trying to pull into his box, Brad ran into the back of him, I steered right to go around Brad and then he clobbers our left‑side door, and it’s like, okay, accidents happen on pit road.” Busch added, “It’s congested. It’s not a place to race, because of all the pit crew guys down there and I didn’t think much of it, and then once we were back out running, he targeted us, he was aiming for us. He tried to flatten all four of my tires. That’s a no‑fly zone. That’s a punk‑ass move and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back.”
After his contact with Brad Keselowski on pit road his car was damaged and Busch told his team the car was done. He would not be able to win the race for them. But, Busch made it into the top ten by lap 175. It was only a matter of staying there.
Busch was nothing but appreciated of the whole Stewart Haas organization and his team. He couldn’t say enough about the opportunity they and Hendrick Motorsports have given him.
Busch said, “To deliver for Gene Haas this early, it shows the potential of this team. I know Kevin Harvick won earlier this year at Phoenix, and I think our strength this year with the Haas Automation Chevy and most of Stewart‑Haas Racing has been at the short tracks. A win like today is a great step forward. I don’t want it to camouflage any of the work, though, that we still have to do to make our car stronger and to be more competitive week in and week out, but don’t think that I’m not going to enjoy this for one moment.”
Kurt Busch has now won a race and might be locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But he knows that he might not be. It might take more than one win and it certainly will take keeping up with the competition in order to actually win the Chase.
“It’s going to fill up quick, and we have to do our job on this 41 team to develop as a team and to be a bona fide chase contender when the Chase starts.” Busch added, “So we’re not going to rest on this win. We have a long way to go, though, to get up into that top 16 in points, and once we get there, let’s keep digging. Consistency now is what we’ll focus on. A win is a win. If we get a second win, that’s when I would call ourselves locked in. But we have this consistency battle that we have in front of us, and I’m up for this challenge, especially when you have all this weight lifted on your shoulders with a win so early.”
It’s great seeing Kurt Busch have early success. It will be even better to see that success translate to more success. Just like cautions breed cautions, success breeds success. This is just the beginning for Kurt Busch and Stewart Haas Racing.
Kurt Busch gets to be the sixth new winner in the 2014 season to put the winner sticker on his car. Who will be next?
Feature Photo Credit: 296903 Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images