Kurt Busch and his No. 78 Chevrolet have accomplished the improbable.
The team based in Denver, Colo. – some 2,000 miles west of the hub of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizations – has qualified for this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™, the first single-car team to reach the postseason in the Chase era.
Where they go from here is anyone’s guess. No single-car team has won a NASCAR Sprint Cup title since Alan Kulwicki in 1992. Busch, however, believes a second NASCAR Sprint Cup championship isn’t out of reach.
“I can understand how some folks felt it was an improbable accomplishment for a little single-car team from Colorado to make the Chase but in reality the Chase was our goals from the beginning of the year,” said Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. “And believe me, this Furniture Row team continues to move the needle forward and grab traction.
“We have some muscle to flex in the next 10 weeks.”
Busch has risen from racing purgatory, returning to the Chase for a seventh time after leaving premier rides with Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing. He joined Furniture Row with six races remaining in the 2012 season and capped the campaign with three consecutive top-10 finishes – a first for owner Barney Visser’s organization.
Busch has yet to score a victory but he opens the Chase with arguably the greatest momentum among the 12 post-season qualifiers. Fourteenth with six regular-season races to go, Busch fashioned four top-five and five top-10 finishes. The team’s only stumble was a 31st-place run at Bristol when a suspension part broke. Busch has led six of his most recent eight starts. The team’s last of two DNFs came at Talladega in the spring.
“I keep saying we need to keep plugging away, protect our car and avoid major mistakes,” said Busch. “Look at our record. Our worst finish since the middle of March when something didn’t go wrong was 15th.
“It’s a matter of putting it all together in the 10 crucial Chase races.”