Kyle Busch wasn’t the only member of the Busch family celebrating after Bristol Saturday night. While Kyle was enjoying the champagne after pulling off the three race sweep with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup win, Kurt was enjoying his hard fought fifth place run.
Saturday night marked the 600th career start for Kurt Busch. He started 25th and early on was struggling. He finished the first stage 14th. During the pit stops, Busch got boxed in and was forced to backup, this slowed his stop and he restarted 21st. He rallied back and was 12th when Stage 2 ended.
He pitted prior to the end of the stage, and this strategy put him ninth when the final stage got underway on lap 251. That strategy was almost for not however. On lap 272 Busch made contact with the wall and slowed. He nearly went a lap down, but a timely caution on lap 353 gave Busch a chance to pit.
“We’ve been struggling with the VHT on the bottom, so I just knew we needed to wait and wait and wait,” Busch said.” I was hopeful at lap 250 that it would come to us. I pushed it too hard then and got some right-front tire damage on the fender. We had to work through that.”
He moved to back into ninth, then pitted again for the final time on lap 417 getting his final set of sticker tires. From there the race ran caution free. Busch avoided trouble and fought his way to fifth, the highest finisher among the Stewart-Haas Racing team, and the highest finishing Ford.
“At the end we got in position because Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a good call and put us on fresher tires than the competition, and it was the old fun Bristol for me,” Busch said. “So I’m really proud of this Monster Energy Ford – to be first in class, to get a top-five in my 600th start and to see the lead with 50 to go.”