While his brother was celebrating his 200th win, Kurt Busch‘s hot streak continued to start the 2019 season.
The Las Vegas native finished sixth in the Monster Energy Chevrolet. But this time, he didn’t need to use strategy to get up to the front.
— CGR NASCAR Teams (@CGRnascar) March 17, 2019
“We had a good day. I was just hoping to get a top five and came home just a bit short,” Busch said after finishing sixth. “The growth rate of us at Ganassi and the adjustments we’re making, I couldn’t be happier. I’m smiling as I’m diving the car. It’s so much fun to toss it down in there with all this down force and the horsepower, you just pitch it sideways and see if it’s going to stick.
“But we know we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s awesome to run up front. I’m smiling. But, we know at our growth rate, we’re not on a plateau yet. I’ve got to keep going.”
Busch started 21st after he was the only car in the second round of qualifying to not go out in the draft when the others elected to do just that. He went out early while the others waited and it cost him a shot at making the final round of qualifying.
“I didn’t like the way our car was handling and I didn’t want to jump out in that draft,” Busch said. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to even add throttle being in the draft. And so, I just went rogue and qualified on my own. We ended up 21st. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but we know we need more help and we have to do more work on Fridays.”
Busch charged his way to the front in the first stage. But he had to settle for 11th at the end of the first stage, failing to earn a stage point.
“The biggest thing is we’re not getting stage points,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think we might only get 30 points today. It’s fun to finish well and to have that accolade, but the way you run this series is you’ve got to have stage points.”
For Busch, this is nothing new for him this year. Aside from Daytona, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has tallied finishes of second (Atlanta), third (Las Vegas), fifth (Phoenix) and sixth on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
The final rundown.
– @Blaney has consecutive top-fives for the first time since Bristol-Michigan last year.
– @KurtBusch's average finish since his tough start at Daytona: 5.25.
– @austindillon3 recovered from a flat for his first top-10 of 2019. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/ieYOjzG7O2
— Aaron Bearden (@aaronbearden93) March 17, 2019
Once again, Busch was the top finishing Chevrolet for three of the five races in the 2019 season. Now, it’s just about getting better.
“I want to see more bowties up there all around me,” Busch said after the race. “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.”
While Busch wants to win for Ganassi, he believes the consistency of running up front will pay off.