Strong 3rd-Place Finish Keeps Busch in Chase Contention

Kurt Busch and the Furniture Row Racing team executed a solid performance and brought home a third-place finish in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.
The result inched Busch closer to becoming the first driver with a single-car team to make the Chase. He is currently in 13th place, 11 points out of 10th, which would guarantee him a spot in the 10-race playoffs for the Sprint Cup championship. Busch came into the race in 14th place and 13 points out of 10th.
“It was a championship-effort-type of day,” said Busch, who was celebrating his 35th birthday Sunday. “We ran up front and put ourselves in position to win. It’s exciting for us because we are in this mix of trying to race our way into the Chase.
“There’s a number of teams within striking distance of making the Chase. It’s very competitive out there and you have to do it with top-five finishes like this. No one is going to back into the Chase, you’re going to have to earn it.”
The result was Busch’s fifth top-five and ninth top-10 of the season – both team season records for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing.
“We executed really well today with pit strategy – two tires, four tires, and to be in position at the end,” stated Busch. “The way we made changes to the car, it just seems like the team is flowing really well, and I’m excited for this portion of the season.
“What I am happy about is that this group of guys – we’re small – but we can shoot from the hip and make up a lot of ground by being aggressive by going back to a track a second time knowing exactly what we did wrong the first time around. Even though we didn’t win, I feel good about the third-place finish.”
Busch started the 160-lap, 400-mile race from the fifth position and had his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet running up front for the majority of the race on the 2.5-mile triangular track.
When the race was restarted for the final time with two laps remaining, Busch was in fourth place and managed to hustle his car through traffic to gain one spot when he took the checkered flag.
The race winner was Kasey Kahne. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Jeff Gordon, Busch, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle.
The race had 27 lead changes among 14 drivers and there were nine cautions for 35 laps.
The next Sprint Cup Series event is the second and final road race of the season – Sunday, Aug. 11 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.