Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Kurt Busch runs small team to the top

NASCAR.com

Auto Club 400: Complete results
Video: Busch hits oil slick

FONTANA, Calif. -- There, walking through the Auto Club Speedway garage sporting a big smile and easy stride, was Sunday's fifth-place finisher Kurt Busch. His pleased and pleasant demeanor was in stark contrast to the post-race chaos of crew scuffles and driver feuds demanding so much attention in the moments following the Auto Club 400.

It was Busch's second straight top-five performance in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet -- a single car effort that with the former Sprint Cup champion behind the wheel is proving itself every bit as worthy as the uber-teams and perennial favorites it competes alongside.

And lately, it has been better.

The driving display Busch put on in the final laps left no doubt to his intentions: to show this team is for real and that he has never been more motivated.

"I was just telling everybody that this is what it's all about,'' said Busch, who seemed every bit as happy as his younger brother Kyle, who won the race for the large championship Joe Gibbs Racing operation.

"Persevering, digging hard, and bringing it right back up to the front when it counts. You can race 400 miles and be leading every lap like Kyle was and I had a chance to pass him for the lead on that final restart and I took it.

"Normally, I'd have followed him and pushed him and drafted with him and tried to break away from the field,'' explained Busch. "But I went to his outside and it was a move that held him up and took his momentum away, gave me a shot for clean air ? but the car was a little tight on that top side, couldn't quite get the power down and couldn't get in front of him and (Joey) Logano to seal the deal.

"For our Furniture Row Chevy SS, another top-five, this is what it's all about -- just keep plugging away and surprising people.''

Arguably, the surprise is up.

Since Busch joined the team late last year, he has five top 10s in 11 starts. The back-to-back top-five showing is a first ever for the nine-year-old team, which operates out of Denver, far from NASCAR's backyard.  Although Furniture Row Racing started entering Cup races in 2005, it wasn't until 2010 that it actually qualified for every race in a season.

Former driver Regan Smith has the team's only victory -- a dramatic upset in the 2011 Darlington 500.

The team stepped up its program this season by using Richard Childress Racing engines and chassis and hiring the 2004 Cup champion Busch.

And while it hoped for immediate dividends, the pairing has reaped confidence and potential at the very least.

Busch's effort Sunday moved him up three spots in the championship standings to 13th place -- ahead of preseason championship favorites such as last year's title runner-up Clint Bowyer (14th), Richard Childress driver Kevin Harvick (15th), four-time champ Jeff Gordon (18th) and three-time champ Tony Stewart (22nd).

This is a team that wrecked in the opening practice for the Daytona 500 and is now one position shy of being Chase-worthy.

On a smaller scale, both of Busch's top-five showings have come after early-race adversity.

This week he qualified 10th and was running top-five when on Lap 37 of 200, he ran over oil from a damaged car and dinged the wall. He had to bring the Chevrolet into pit road twice for repairs and had to overcome a pit-road penalty, turning the day into a high-speed game of catch-up.

With methodical insistence -- and the benefit of a Lucky Dog pass to get back on the lead lap -- he climbed back among the top 10 with 20 laps to go and he was second on a restart with 10 to go. Initially, he was credited with a third-place finish, but a scoring review showed he was fifth.

"Today was very similar to last week in Bristol when we had to overcome a number of issues," Busch said. "We had a loose wheel and damage to our front-end before finishing fourth in Bristol.

"This week it was getting into someone else's oil before slapping the fence and then being penalized for speeding on pit road.

"Though we never quit, and do the best we can to fight back, it sure would be nice to have a smooth race, something we haven't had this year."

READ MORE:

READ: Hamlin sustains
back injury

WATCH: Logano, Hamlin
wreck at Fontana

READ: Stewart goes
after Logano

READ: Latest driver
reports
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Comments are currently unavailable. We're working on the development of a NASCAR fan forum ? please stay tuned.


-- Kurt Busch

View Comments (79)

Recommended for You

  • Formula 1 driver signs $155 million contract that will make him one of the highest-paid athletes alive

    Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new contract to remain with Mercedes...

    Business Insider
  • UFC 187 Weigh-in Results: Chris Weidman Blasts Vitor Belfort for ‘Still Cheating'

    UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier isn't just another pay-per-view event for the MMA juggernaut, it is also the event where a new light heavyweight champion will be crowned for the first time in four years. Jones was supposed to have defended his belt against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in the UFC 187 main…

    MMA Weekly
  • 2015 NBA mock draft: Post-lottery edition

    The NBA's draft order is set. Here's an early look at who might be going where.

    Yahoo Sports
  • Dodgers suspend infielder Arruebarrena for rest of season

    Arruebarrena was suspended by the Los Angeles Dodgers for the remainder of the season on Thursday for what the team said was ''repeated failures to comply with his contract.'' Club officials declined further comment. The Dodgers designated him for assignment on Dec. 31, and when he cleared waivers…

    The Associated Press
    Fri, May 22
    10:10 PM EDT
    San Diego at LA Dodgers
    Preview Game
  • Marlins players fail to show for charity event

    Mired in a seven-game losing streak, Miami Marlins players further disappointed their fans by failing to show as advertised for a charity event. The organization had said players would attend the event to benefit the inner cities baseball program. When no players showed, fans complained on social…

    The Associated Press
    Live
    Baltimore6 - 4Miami
    Follow Game
  • Yankees will wear special caps to honor Bernie Williams

    The Yankees are retiring Williams' number Sunday, and he's getting the Jeter/Rivera treatment here.

    Big League Stew
    Live
    Texas10 - 5NY Yankees
    Follow Game
  • Contador crashes and loses lead to Aru on 13th Giro stage

    Alberto Contador lost the overall lead of the Giro d'Italia to Fabio Aru after he was involved in a crash toward the end of Friday's 13th stage, which was won by Sacha Modolo. Aru escaped the crash which took out a number of cyclists just outside the final three kilometers (two miles) to move 19…

    The Associated Press
  • Mad Dash: J.J. Watt's bruised thigh will blow your mind

    We always hear that NFL players play through pain, but aside from the occasional bloody nose there aren't often effective visuals of the physical trauma they suffer on the field. That is until J.J. Watt took to Twitter to show the American public the gargantuan bruise that he sustained in the first…

    NBC on Yahoo Sports
  • Slava Fetisov wants Russian players to stay home before age 28

    The KHL is foundering. In spite of talks of a move of teams into China, the collapse of the Ruble and other factors has put the league, which at one point dreamed of challenging the NHL for hockey supremacy, into financial problems.

    Puck Daddy
  • Draft Do-Over, Rounds 7-12: Finally, Strasburg

    A consensus top 25 pick in March, Stephen Strasburg fell 50 spots in the Yahoo draft do-over.

    Roto Arcade
  • Play

    LeBron James Scares the Crap out of Kyle Korver

    The Atlanta Hawks may have lost Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, but for a second it looked like they could’ve won the game. The Hawks went on a 13-1 run in the final minutes to cut the deficit to just four points. But Kyle “Scaredy Pants” Korver killed all the momentum once LeBron James…

    The Fumble
    Live
    Cleveland54 - 49Atlanta
    Follow Game
  • Ex-NFL star Sharper set to change plea in federal rape case

    (Reuters) - Disgraced former NFL star Darren Sharper, who has pleaded guilty or no contest to rape and attempted rape charges in three states, is set to change his not guilty plea in a federal rape case in New Orleans next week, court records show. Sharper, 39, has pleaded guilty or no contest to…

    Reuters
  • Corey Perry upset with Mike Milbury's on-air injury comment (Video)

    Ducks forward Corey Perry tunes out opposing fan background noise pretty well. In fact, he embraces the boos when he goes to another arena. But hear a television commentator say something insensitive. That crosses the line.

    Puck Daddy
  • Lakers GM says Bryant done after next season

    Kobe Bryant will make next season his last with the Los Angeles Lakers after 20 years that have produced five NBA titles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "He has indicated to me this is it," Kupchak told SiriusXM NBA Radio. The 36-year-old guard has played for the Lakers for his entire…

    AFP
  • McIlroy misses cut at Wentworth as Molinari leads

    Rory McIlroy insisted he would not be too hard on himself after crashing out of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday. McIlroy missed the cut after collapsing to a six-over par second round 78 – only the third time in 45 events he has failed to make the weekend. With the world number…

    AFP
  • Daniel Cormier Has No Sympathy for Stripped UFC Champion Jon Jones

    Cormier shoved Jones during the customary face off and a brawl broke out that resulted in both fighters being fined by the Nevada Athletic Commission and disciplinary action by the fight promotion. The intense rivalry led up to their eventual showdown at UFC 182 in January. Jones defeated Cormier,…

    MMA Weekly
  • Play

    The Sitka Special

    Sitka, Alaska sits in the largest harbor in all of Alaska, and from there, you can target a great many species, including huge halibut, lingcod, several species of salmon, and dozens of rockfish species. Alaska is the last wild frontier in America, and it has fishing to match it’s incredible…

    bonnier Videos