Kurt Busch didn’t win Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway, but his driving performance was indeed of the highest quality, charging back from 38th place and one lap down to post a fourth-place finish at the 11-turn, 1.99-mile road circuit.
“An amazingly incredible performance by Kurt, I don’t know what else to say,” said team crew chief Todd Berrier.
The result set season team records for Furniture Row Racing -- most top-fives (4) and most top-10s (6). There are 20 races remaining in the 2013 season.
Busch qualified seventh and took the lead on Lap 19 of 110. He led for 15 consecutive laps before coming down pit road on Lap 35 for his first scheduled tire and fuel stop.
Then adversity struck the single-car, Denver, Colo.-based team.
Busch was cited by NASCAR for back-to-back pit-road speeding penalties. His first penalty was a pass through, and after speeding on the pass through he was ordered by NASCAR to do a pit road stop-and-go.
When Busch returned to action, he found himself one-lap down and in 38th-place.
“Yeah, we were fast, even on pit road…twice,” said Busch in jest. “I messed-up, flat-out. I didn’t hit my tachometer right and I was speeding both times. I just put myself in a position that was poor trying to get too much on pit road. But man, this Furniture Row Chevy was fast.”
Once Busch got back on the lead lap he was in a full-scale charge mode. When the race was restarted for the final time on Lap 85, he was positioned in 25th place. He went on to pass 21 cars in the final 25 laps, with the majority of the passes taking place at the tricky Turn 11 hairpin.
“I had to saddle up, pull up my boot straps and go,” stated Busch. “I gave it my all and it turned out to be a good points day. I really want to thank all these Furniture Row guys.”
Busch gained threes spots in the driver standings – from 20th to 17th. He is 28 points out of the coveted 10position with 10 races remaining before the Chase playoff format begins.
The race winner was Martin Truex Jr. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
The race had 10 lead changes among eight drivers and seven cautions for 19 laps.
The next Sprint Cup Series Race is Saturday night (June 29) at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.