Kurt Busch Earns Hard Fought Second at Michigan

Focused and energized, Kurt Busch had a strong run at Michigan. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

Focused and energized, Kurt Busch had a strong run at Michigan. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

While Monday evening’s FireKeepers Casino 400 belonged to race winner Joey Logano, a determined Kurt Busch kept his best pace with his No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet Camaro.

Starting seventh, the 40-year-old Las Vegas, Nev. native flexed his muscles early in the going, placing fifth and fourth in the first two stages.

By all means, the 2004 Cup champion was fast, aggressive, and calculating.  Furthermore, he overcame contact with the backstretch wall on lap 41.

Consequently, while clean air played a factor at Michigan, Busch observed the obstacles transpiring in the final laps.

“It was a whole different complexion,” Busch said.  “The draft, the handling, and trying to get the combination right…Logano’s car was strong. He led most laps today. And it was going to be tough to beat him.”

For this reason, Busch, like most of the leaders, needed a drafting partner.  In fact, one could say that the race played out similarly to Daytona or Talladega.

Still, when asked if Michigan needed the traction compound to enhance the on-track action, Busch seemed pleased.

Overall, Kurt Busch was satisfied with his second place showing at Michigan. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Overall, Kurt Busch was satisfied with his second place showing at Michigan. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

“Well, we had so many new variables,” he noted.  “And I think the package really provided a unique experience for the drivers, for the fans, and for everybody watching. It was just a whole different Michigan. That was the tightest I’ve ever pulled my belts in the end. Saddle up, let’s go! I got good stage points, and so the only thing that was gonna help us was a win.”

Certainly, with the strong runner-up result, Busch further solidified his points ranking of eighth.  As the second highest ranked driver without a win, it’s only a matter of time before this determined racer returns to Victory Lane.

By the same token, this runner-up result was hard earned especially with younger brother Kyle on the outside of the second row for the last restart.

Despite falling a spot short of his car number, Busch remains optimistic. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

Despite falling a spot short of his car number, Busch remains optimistic. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

“Yea, it was gonna be interesting,” Busch said. “And then somebody got to his outside, and that pulled him back, and that allowed me to get ahead up into third. I think the 41 is what changed the complexion of that final restart.”

Following the Father’s Day weekend reprieve, Busch hopes to change the complexion of the points race by winning his second Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23.  For now, the 20th year racer can take heart knowing that he’s knocking on the door as one of the leading Bowtie Brigade representatives.

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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