Kurt Busch is “having a ball” with his new Chip Ganassi Racing team as they continue to rack up top-10 finishes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Sunday afternoon it was a sixth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway as Busch just slipped outside the top five in the waning laps. Following up on a seventh at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, the CGR No. 1 team now has four consecutive top 10s and an average finish of 9.2 on the season.
Busch didn’t earn points in the first stage at Fontana but was eighth in Stage 2. His Chevrolet Camaro appeared to get better as the race went on and in the final stage, Busch climbed as high as fourth on the leaderboard before drifting back and losing two spots.
“I hate losing spots right there at the end, but that didn’t define our day,” said Busch. “This was a great weekend because we were all over the map – tight, loose, and just trying to find it; but then in the race, we made the right adjustments.
“I think the biggest thing is we’re learning at such a strong rate, Busch added. “We know we still have more to go. We have yet to plateau, and we know we can run with those guys. We’re knocking on the door, but there’s still a couple little things.”
When Busch climbed inside the top five and could see brother Kyle and the Team Penske duo of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski straight ahead, he started getting overanxious. Admitting he overdrove the car hoping to “be there,” Busch almost hit the wall and realized he had to back it down.
But he later said he was smiling under the helmet.
“I’ve just got to settle for what the car’s going to give me, and I guess old age and wisdom will do that,” Busch said. “But I’m really proud of Monster and Chevrolet, Gearwrench and everybody that’s on this car. We’re learning. We’re going at a fast rate.”
Busch was also the highest finishing Chevrolet driver for the third time in four weeks.
“I want to see more Bowties up there all around me,” Busch said. “It’s those teams that are there right now with Penske, SHR, Gibbs, that’s what’s towing the boat and towing the whole sequence.
“For us at Ganassi, we’ve got to cross over that threshold and get to that next level. Whether Chevy is going to help us or we’re taking them, we’re just going to continue to work hard as a team no matter what it is.”