Kurt Busch secured his first top-five finish with his new team, Furniture Row Racing, Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion benefited, incidentally, from late-race contact with Joey Logano.
“We ran into Logano with less than 50 to go; we had damage and we had to pit,” Busch told NASCAR.com. “I’m like ‘what else?’ But that allowed us to be off sequence (on pit stops); we put on four fresh tires on and we battled back.
“We probably wouldn’t have even put four on if we hadn’t had the damage, so we had to drop back and punt. And that was the best call to make.”
Logano’s race ended when Denny Hamlin contacted him. That sparked a post-race dustup between the two former Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.
As for Busch, the top five was his first since finishing third with Phoenix Racing on the Sonoma Raceway road course last June, and the first for the No. 78 Furniture Row entry since Regan Smith was fifth at last April’s Talladega race.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.