Kurt Busch was able to overcome a late-race setback in the Phoenix 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway and bring the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) home with a seventh-place finish.
Busch started 10th in the 43-car field Busch and held steady among the top-five for the race’s first 245 laps. But following a red-flag period, the tires on his black-and-red machine heat cycled, which left the 36-year-old driver fighting an extremely tight-handling condition. Busch, who was running third at the time of the red flag, fell to 19th after making a four-tire pit stop on lap 245.
“It was like a switch flipped,” Busch said. “The car had been really good all afternoon. When we stopped for the red flag, I turned the wheel to the right to act like a parking brake. I don’t know if I broke something in the front end when I cranked the wheel back to the left when we restarted or what happened. We came to pit road and put four fresh tires on it and that helped, but we’ll have to get a better look at the Haas Automation Chevrolet when we get back to the shop to figure out what exactly happened.”
After making the lap-245 pit stop, Busch found himself mired in the 19th position. He steadily climbed his way through the field, breaking back inside the top-10 on lap 260. Despite having to battle a tight-handling racecar, Busch continued to pace himself among the top-10 drivers throughout the remainder of the race. The Haas Automation driver recorded lap times faster than many of his competitors in front of him, but he ran out of laps to improve his position. Busch’s comeback saw him take the checkered flag in seventh.