Busch confident after third-place finish at Darlington

Matthew T. Thacker/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

DARLINGTON, S.C.— For a few moments during the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, the race looked like it could fall into the hands of Kurt Busch. However, after receiving an infamous Darlington Stripe in the latter stages of the 267-lap event, Busch settled in for a third place finish at the track “Too Tough To Tame”.

“I thought that we had a great battle tonight. It was a lot of fun with the Monster Energy Ford. To be in position to win the Southern 500, it throws chills down your spine. With about 100 (laps) to go I knew we were close. I was hoping that we would find the right strategy to come out ahead,” said Busch. The 78 was fast and those other Toyotas came in there. I thought that I was going to do it for our Fords. We didn’t quite get the job done. To be in position to win the Southern 500, I just want to get a shoutout out all the fans. It’s a fun weekend to be here on Labor Day weekend.”

Since Stewart-Haas Racing has transitioned from Chevrolet to Ford over the off-season, there has been an issue with finding balance throughout the entire car. However, Busch believes that finding this balance has come at an opportune time for the organization.

“Honestly, the balance of the Ford that’s what we’ve been working on. We have been finding things that we changed on the car that hooks up the front and the rear at the same time. We had been hooking up the front and unhooking the rear, vice versa. It feels good that we are finding the balance on our Ford that way,” said Busch.

As he was battling for the race lead, Busch scrubbed the wall and lost the “perfect” feeling he had.

“I scrubbed it.  It just took away the nice fender flare we had on the right-rear.  The car was a little looser after that, but with 25 to go you’ve got to find every ounce you can and I was right there on the limit,” said Busch.

Busch was hoping for a yellow within the final 30 laps to get back the feeling in the car. However, the race continued under green flag conditions.

“I was hoping for one more yellow.  If there was a yellow with 30 to go, we were a really good car on short run speed.  That was the longest run at the end and those guys caught us on their fresher tires, but just to be in position to win the Southern 500 is great.  I didn’t quite get the job done,” said Busch.

With his win the Daytona 500, Busch sits 10th in the playoff standings with five playoff points to use at his disposal.

“We’ve had a couple good runs, but, still, we’ve got 11 weeks ahead of us.  We treated this whole weekend like it was the Playoffs.  Richmond will be the same thing next week. We have to keep chiseling away.”

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