Kurt Busch and the No. 45 team from 23XI Racing went to the new Atlanta Motor Speedway aiming to run the whole race. In the end, Busch needed a patched-up Toyota to accomplish that goal but did so with a third-place finish.
“It was pretty wild out there with all the different setups and the draft. Pretty wild,” Busch said of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. “We did what we could to patch up our damage; got caught up in one of the situations and that took us off of offense and put us on defense to just ride and find holes where we could. That was our main goal — to position ourselves with 20 to go and hold it wide-open at that point and see what we got, and we ended up third.
“The way our Monster team continues to not give up and learn from each situation — our main goal was to run all 500 miles, and the car has a couple scratches on it, but we were out there for every run to gather data.”
Busch was the unfortunate driver in Tyler Reddick’s path when Reddick spun in the outside lane on lap 145. Reddick had a right rear tire go down and, as he spun, was hit in the driver’s side by Busch.
After picking up their first top-five finish a week ago at Phoenix Raceway, Busch earned points in the first stage at Atlanta, led four laps, and earned his best finish so far this season.
Repairing a car during a race isn’t ideal, Busch admitted, but the team is chiseling away early in the season as they continue to establish themselves.
“We had a vibration and maybe a hub going bad; I don’t know if it was due to contact,” Busch said. “Sometimes you hit something just right and you keep going and other times you barely hit anything and your day is done. Right now these cars are hard to build and I’m glad ours is somewhat rolling right now.”