It’s been a rough Daytona Speedweeks start for Kurt Busch. The Furniture Row Racing driver, who got collected in a practice accident Friday, didn’t fare any better Saturday night in the Sprint Unlimited race.
After starting in the rear of the field in the scheduled 75-lap event, Busch quickly powered his Furniture Row Chevrolet SS to the front of the pack, running as high as fourth. But on Lap 15 he once again got collected in a multicar accident that forced the former NASCAR champion to take an early exit from the 19-car, non-points race at Daytona International Speedway. He was credited with a 13th-place finish.
“Two days, two wrecked cars and only a few laps completed,” said Busch. “It’s been a disappointing start to say the least. But the good news is that we’ve had fast cars. If our luck can change we’ll be competitive for the big show in next week’s Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 24).”
Busch’s No. 78 Chevy took a severe hit in the under-the-lights Sprint Unlimited as the field was entering Turn 3 at the 2.5-mile oval. Though Busch was able to drive his crippled car to pit road, he had no choice but to park it due to no brakes and heavy right-front damage.
The accident also resulted in five other drivers — Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin — getting knocked out of the race.
“Of course I’m disappointed, but I also feel bad for the entire Furniture Row team for all the hard work they put into this superspeedway program and delivering fast cars,” stated Busch, who won the Sprint Unlimited in 2011. “We’re going to keep our chins up and continue to keep focused in our preparations for the Daytona 500.”
Drivers will return to the famed speedway Sunday afternoon to take part in Pole Day, which locks in the front row for the Daytona 500 and sets the lineup for Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying races.
The Sprint Unlimited race winner was Kevin Harvick. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth.
The Sprint Unlimited was for 2012 pole winners and past champions of the event.