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Kurt Busch, The Outlaw Back In Victory Lane With Dominating Performance In Richmond

Kurt Busch, The Outlaw Back In Victory Lane With Dominating Performance In Richmond

by April 26, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

RICHMOND, Va. – Kurt Busch held off his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick to win the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Busch started third and led 291 laps, over half of the race. This is the first time Busch has visited Victory Lane since Martinsville Speedway back in March of last year. So far this season, Busch has earned two (Auto Club Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway) poles, three top-five and three top-10 finishes.

“Well, today is a great day of total team execution,” Busch said. “I mean, it starts with building a fast race car back at the shop and coming to the racetrack and fine tuning it, and really a great effort from team communication because we felt like we were a fifth‑place car after practice, and the way that the team looked at things, we even qualified better than what we thought, and there was still this realization of, hey, let’s continue to fine tune it, let’s not ignore the lack of speed that we don’t have. Let’s go for it all.

“And that’s what Tony Gibson (Crew Chief) did, along with Johnny Klausmeier, our engineer. Everybody chipped in. The tire guy had some health problems this weekend, and we had to bring in a backup tire guy, but then Jet made it back to the track to enjoy victory lane with us today.”

Busch is sitting 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, but with the win, he’ll have a chance to compete for 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Although he missed the first three races of the season for being accused of domestic violence, Busch was granted a waiver by NASCAR after the legal situation cleared.

“Standing on the truth the whole time, that gave me the feeling of when I do get back to the car, it’s going to be easy to focus, and I think I’ve shown that,” Busch said. “And it’s great to have a victory. It’s only April, and here we are with momentum building, right in time for the Charlotte race weeks and into the summer months. I’m just so proud of Tony Gibson and the team and Gene Haas for believing in me, and now that we’ve got this win and we’re stamped in here, it just feels like, hey, now it’s business as usual, and we’ll have all of our team members up and running and strong and as good as we can make them here through the summer months, and like Gene Haas, he’ll joke around and say, all right, that’s one win.  Where is more?  We want to win more.”

Being the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Busch understands what it takes to win and win often. He won three races that particular season and then three more in 2005. In 2006, he made the jump to Team Penske to replace Rusty Wallace who retired. However, since leaving Roush Fenway Racing, Busch has had a more difficult time finding success. Sure he won a race or two each season, but besides finishing out the 2007 season seventh in points, the 2009 season fourth in the standings and then 10th in 2013, he was mired outside of the top-10 at the end of the other seasons following his departure from Roush Fenway Racing. In fact, he went winless in 2012 and 2013.

“You know, I felt like victory lane is victory lane,” Busch said after his win on Sunday. “I was standing there, the confetti is flying, they gave us the champagne bottles from Sprint, and it’s victory lane. It doesn’t change. It’s great. As I’m older I can appreciate it more because of the time and effort that it takes to assemble a good group of guys. That’s where I recognize what now I might have took for granted when I was racing with Jimmy Fennig in the Roush days and when we won the championship.”

Busch went on to say how Tony Gibson has assembled a competitive and possible championship-winning No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet team. The Outlaw  fits in to the unique lineup at Stewart-Haas Racing really well. The entire organization never gives up. Kevin Harvick won the championship last season with a brand new team. Danica Patrick continues to slip inside the top-10; she has two this year. Team owner, Tony Stewart has one championship with the team, and he and Kurt Busch are both making a comeback from two very terrible situations.

“We have enough depth in our organization and in our team to overcome,” Busch said. “That’s pretty cool going in to win and know you’ve got a shot to go for a championship, knowing you’ve got those kind of people that are working on your race team is pretty cool. I think we’ve seen that before with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) when Chad (Knaus) has been suspended or whatever, they still come in and win races, and that’s what you’ve got to have. It’s not about me, it’s not about an engineer or a tire guy, it’s about us all, and that’s what happened today. We all executed perfectly overnight.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will visit Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 3 for the GEICO 500 that’ll air live on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1 p.m. ET.

Toyota Owners 400 Results:

1.) #41 Kurt Busch

2.) #4 Kevin Harvick

3.) #48 Jimmie Johnson

4.) #1 Jamie McMurray

5.) #22 Joey Logano

6.) #5 Kasey Kahne

7.) #20 Matt Kenseth

8.) #24 Jeff Gordon

9.) #15 Clint Bowyer

10.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.

11.) #31 Ryan Newman

12.) #42 Kyle Larson

13.) #47 AJ Allmendinger

14.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

15.) #27 Paul Menard

16.) #25 Chase Elliott

17.) #2 Brad Keselowski

18.) #51 Justin Allgaier

19.) #19 Carl Edwards

20.) #43 Aric Almirola

21.) #16 Greg Biffle

22.) #11 Denny Hamlin

23.) #18 David Ragan

24.) #6 Trevor Bayne

25.) #10 Danica Patrick

26.) #40 Landon Cassill

27.) #3 Austin Dillon

28.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

29.) #55 Brett Moffitt

30.) #13 Casey Mears

31.) #38 David Gilliland

32.) #7 Alex Bowman

33.) #46 Michael Annett

34.) #34 Reed Sorenson

35.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.

36.) #35 Cole Whitt

37.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto

38.) #23 Jeb Burton

39.) #33 Alex Kennedy

40.) #30 Jeff Green

41.) #14 Tony Stewart

42.) #98 Josh Wise

43.) #32 Joey Gase

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top-16 Point Standings:

1.) #4 Kevin Harvick

2.) #22 Joey Logano -33

3.) #78 Martin Truex Jr. -42

4.) #48 Jimmie Johnson -58

5.) #2 Brad Keselowski -74

6.) #5 Kasey Kahne -82

7.) #20 Matt Kenseth -84

8.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -86

9.) #1 Jamie McMurray -93

10.) #24 Jeff Gordon -94

11.) #43 Aric Almirola -107

12.) #11 Denny Hamlin -112

13.) #27 Paul Menard -118

14.) #15 Clint Bowyer -122

15.) #31 Ryan Newman -123

16.) #10 Danica Patrick -127

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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