A strengthening foundation with a swelling enthusiasm is how the Furniture Row Racing team will kick off the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
“While the guys have worked hard and remained focused during the offseason, there was without a question a special kind of buzz that engulfed our race shop the past three months,” said Furniture Row Racing general manager Joe Garone.
The main reason for the fervor at the team’s Denver, Colo. race shop is how well its driver Kurt Busch clicked after taking over the driving duties with six races remaining in 2012.
Busch, a 24-time tour winner and former Sprint Cup Series champion, quickly demonstrated why he is considered one of the top wheelmen in NASCAR’s elite series. He drove the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet to impressive performances, including three straight top-10s in the closing three races. It was the first time in the team’s seven-year history that it recorded three consecutive top-10s.
“We shortened the learning curve and proved that we can compete,” said Busch. “But you can’t get hung up about the past, we have to build on what we accomplished as a team and turn it into positive results. The potential is there for 2013, that’s a given.”
After a relaxing offseason Busch says he is ready to jump back into action, beginning with Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. The 75-lap, non-points race is for 2012 pole winners and past winners of the event. Busch qualified as a past winner, taking home the trophy in 2011.
“With 19 or 20 cars in the field the Sprint Unlimited is going to create plenty of excitement for the fans – a great way to kick off Speedweeks,” said Busch, who begins his 13th full time season in the Sprint Cup Series. “I know I’m looking forward to competing in the race - it not only gives us a head start in our preparations for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 24), but the race also carries a lot of tradition. It was really cool to win the event back in 2011.”
The starting lineup and race format for Saturday night’s 75-lap nationally-televised Sprint Unlimited will be determined in a fan polling. The race will be broadcast nationally on FOX, 8 p.m. ET.
Following Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited, teams will be back at the Daytona track Sunday for Pole Day, a two-lap qualifying session to determine the front row for the Daytona 500 and the starting lineup for Thursday’s (Feb. 21) Budweiser Duels. The 60-lap Budweiser Duels will determine the lineup, minus the front row, for the Daytona 500.