For all drivers and teams scrambling to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, they’ll have one moment to look back on that either made or broke their chances for the post-season.
Kurt Busch and Furniture Row Racing may have found their ‘made’ moment on a Lap 162 restart in today’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Busch had been at the front of the field earlier but a four-tire stop in the previous caution period had sent him from sixth to 14th going into the green flag. His main competition in the Chase battle were now ahead of him, and with less than 40 laps to go, Busch couldn’t afford to stay behind.
“You can’t run 14th and gain on guys [in the standings],” said Busch, who went to the outside on the restart and proceeded to peel off a staggering eight positions – making up all the ground he had lost on pit road when most of the other drivers opted to go for two tires instead of four.
Busch would move up to fourth by the time another yellow came out at Lap 172, and after momentarily dicing with eventual race winner Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick on the Lap 177 restart, he settled in and raced to a third-place finish that vaulted him into ninth in the Sprint Cup standings.
With three races to go before the Chase begins, Busch and the single-car, Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing are back where they need to be in order to race for a championship.
“We’ll just keep plugging away,” said Busch. “We’ve got three to go and we’re in the mix.”