Kurt Busch posts best result of year

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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.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.