Kurt Busch had multiple reasons for his positive attitude after 406 miles of racing at Michigan International Speedway.
For starters, Busch took his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro to a runnerup finish for the second time this season. He grabbed the spot coming to the white flag in the FireKeepers Casino 400, but could only follow in the tire tracks of Joey Logano across the finish line.
Busch now has four top-five and nine top-10 finishes on the season, and his average finish (9.7) is third best in the NASCAR Cup Series. Plus, Monday he managed to overcome damage to the right side of his machine after tagging the wall when it got loose off Turn 2 early in the day.
“That’s more than what I was hoping to see for damage,” Busch said after inspecting the car on pit road. “But I had a blast.”
Before the race went into overtime, Busch was third and working with Martin Truex Jr. to cut down the gap leader Logano had built during green flag pit stops. As the duo began making progress and were within striking distance, the caution flew with four laps to go.
In the inside lane for the restart, Busch cleared the field and fell in behind Logano and Truex. Busch then got to the inside of Truex in Turn 3 and cleared him coming off the corner.
“That was the tightest I ever put my belts at the end of a race because we got enough stage points today I was like, ‘Hell with it, we don’t need to get anything but the win!’ and we got second today,” said Busch. “Logano’s car was tough. I really wanted it to go green at the end with Truex. I was just going to push Truex straight through the 22. That was my best shot at it.”
Busch and crew chief Matt McCall started the season on a hot streak but performances have been spotty the last few weeks: Busch had just two top 10s in the previous six races going into Michigan.
Which leads to the other reason Busch was pleased: His confidence in what he believes is coming for his team. “We’ll get it,” he said. “We’ll get it. This gives us reason to smile and be happy. We ran up front. We were strong in our manufacturer’s back yard. [And] got second today.”