Kurt Busch was one of the stronger drivers in the Sprint Cup Series’ first visit of 2013 to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this past July, leading a race-high 102 laps before a multi-car incident relegated him to a 31st place finish.
However, there’s always room to improve and for the return trip to Loudon this weekend, the Chase contender feels that he’s going to need a car that’s every bit as good on shorter stints as it was on longer ones in July.
“I like to run the long runs there at New Hampshire,” Busch said in a NASCAR teleconference earlier today. “Making your car work for 100 laps at a time, I think, is key with some of the strategy that’s been played there the last few years on pitting and then running long distances.
“With that said, you cannot sacrifice short-run speed, and that’s where I think our Furniture Row car got in trouble in the first race is that our car was a bit too vulnerable.
“We couldn’t be aggressive on restarts and we got spun around by Kenseth, our championship leader, earlier this year. We have to protect our car better on short-run speed and still have that long-run speed in case it comes back to play.”
Busch finished fourth last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway after overcoming a pit road speeding penalty that he dubbed today “a bogus thing in my mind,” once again maintaining that his tachometer lights were green all the way down.
In a stat that no driver wants to lead, a reporter mentioned that Busch is tied with Casey Mears for the most pit road speeding violations this season at seven apiece.
Luckily for Busch, his penalty happened early on at Chicagoland. But that’s something he can ill afford to have happen to him in the closing stages of these Chase events.
“The thing that has to be clear internally with Furniture Row Racing is that the guy setting the tach isn’t going conservative on his own and then I’m going doubly conservative to make sure we’re not too conservative once we’re out performing,” he said.
“Because we have to perform in this Chase. We can’t lose spots on pit road with slow pit stops and we can’t lose spots on pit road driving too slow in a speed zone.”