Kurt Busch Is Ready To Win Another Championship

By Nick DeGroot On Tue, May. 21, 2013

Photo Credit: Barry Albert & Tina Hypes
Photo Credit: Barry Albert & Tina Hypes

Kurt Busch will be a 2x NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion; it’s simply a matter of when it will happen. Although he and Furniture Row Racing are fast this year, I doubt his second championship will come in 2013 but I will be very surprised if they don’t make the chase and win at least one race. Kurt has matured so much as a driver in the last year and has shocked me with his abrupt attitude change. Yes, he will still get animated inside the racecar but if you listened to every driver’s scanner, they all do at some point. After every race, he gives a positive interview no matter what and tempers his emotions which we’ve never seen him do in the past.

At Richmond, he was guaranteed a top three finish until a late race caution jumbled up the running order and he ended up 9th. On the final lap, Kenseth knocked him out of the way costing him a couple more positions and Kurt was obviously upset following the race bumping Matt on the cool down lap but that’s it. In fact, the usually calm Matt Kenseth was more fired up in his post-race interview than the strangely optimistic Kurt Busch. Kurt hasn’t made a single imprudent decision this year and there were multiple incidents when it would have been understandable to be upset.

He’s led over 100 laps this year and has run up front in most of the races although a few of the finishes don’t show it. If this team can get their pit stop mistakes and mechanical issues fixed, then they will become a serious threat on the track. They could have won the All-Star Race if they had a faster stop and loose wheels/lugnuts have destroyed what would have been great races for them on more than one occasion this year. Once again, the elder Busch looked at the brighter side of things following the race instead of dwelling on all the bad moments.

This much more mature Kurt Busch has taken Furniture Row Racing to the next level. Regan Smith was a good driver but Kurt is an extraordinary driver. Kurt’s probably the most versatile racer in the garage right now next to Tony Stewart and very few men throughout racing history have the ability to jump into different kinds of racecars and perform competitively like him. A couple weeks ago, he took a V8 Supercar around the Circuit of the Americas, then he drove an Indycar at 220mph passing rookie orientation and a few days later he shattered the track record at one of the most difficult tracks on the NASCAR schedule (Darlington). Not many people can kill the rear end of a car at Daytona during a crash and come back to win the race like Kurt did last July. Not many people can have their career slammed to the ground but somehow get back up again and be competitive. Not many people can completely change their attitude for the better in the matter of a year. Kurt Busch did.

I have gained so much respect for Kurt recently and it’s paramount that he keeps it up. His temper has been holding him back and now that he’s got his Achilles Heel under control, the field better watch out. When I used to look at Kurt Busch, I thought of a highly aggressive racecar driver that had an uncontrollable temper and would be out of NASCAR soon. Now I look at Kurt and I can see him becoming a Tony Stewart or an AJ Foyt winning many many races and not just in NASCAR. He’s tested the waters of open wheel, took a V8 Supercar for a spin and I think sports cars will be on his radar soon as well. The 24 Hours of Daytona is a highly prestigious race and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t compete in that event within the next couple of years.

The No.78 may be a single car operation but there are no JTG or Swan Racing by any means. Barney Visser has some deep pockets so don’t mistakenly label this team as underfunded. If Kurt or crew chief Todd Berrier need something, they will get it. Their relationship with ECR engines and Richard Childress Racing is really helping them out this year too. Michael Waltrip Racing was the most recent team to work their way from the bottom of the totem pole all the way to the top of the food chain and I believe Furniture Row Racing will be the next to accomplish that feat. They have the driver, the crew chief, the money, the equipment; now all they need is the consistency which they will get eventually. You are doing a great job Kurt and good luck the remainder of 2013!

Nick DeGroot (88 Posts)

Nick has left Speedway Media and joined Motorsport.com as a manager, content editor, and reporter. His passion for motorsports dates all the way back to his childhood. He's a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association, & before joining Motorsport.com, he worked with National Speed Sport News, Pole Position Magazine, and of course, Speedway Media. You can also hear him on "That Dang 'Ol Racing Show" every Monday night. Nick was born & raised in Syracuse, NY before recently moving to Miami. His entire life revolves around racing and it should, because it's in his blood. His father is a former tire changer/mechanic at the Sprint Cup level and his older brother spent a short tenure with RCR. Another interesting fact about Nick is that although he was raised in Yankee territory, his cousin is the former catcher/captain and current special assistant to the general manager of the Boston Red Sox....Jason Varitek.


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  1. Ben Amado says:

    Completely right Nick Kurt is a brand new person(and my favorite driver) and I can’t wait to see him in victory lane again

  2. JoAnna Umlauf says:

    I really appreciate the tone of your article about Kurt Busch. I am an over-seventy fairly new diehard NASCAR fan. I started watching in 2009, latched onto Kurt Busch because he had a blue car, my favorite color, easy to find, and have never abandoned him through the yellow 22, the red and white 51, and now the black 78! I’ve watched him go through rough times with the media, frustration on the track, etc. Now he seems to have found his niche. You have reinforced my renewed faith in “my driver” and my hope that he is going to go back up, up, and up, showing that terrific talent of his. Thanks! You’re the best, Kurt!!

  3. Aaron Regan says:

    Spot on Nick. Kurt is the main reason I watch NASCAR. Now, his vanilla interviews this year aren’t nearly as exciting as in years past. However, they reflect his new perspective and it has translated into better performances, particularly where things have gone wrong ala Bristol in the spring. The sport was put on the map with brittle personalities and abrasive driving styles. In the last two decades NASCAR has become so Mayberry that the theatrics have been replaced with the infomercial. KB keeps it fun and I watch because I never know what’s going to happen next. I look forward to seeing him again in victory lane, but also hope that he doesn’t become what has made the sport less exciting in recent years. If the suits of NASCAR want higher rating and more ticket sales, they should go spend a few saturday nights at The Madhouse of Bowman Grey in Winston. It’s not scripted, it is raw, and the hottest ticket in racing.

  4. Neal Vandivier says:

    I started watching Kurt at Daytona, 2001, the race we lost Dale Earnhardt. I switched my allegiance to Ward Burton. What’s not to like !! By the start of 2004 I was “all in” with Kurt. It has been quite a ride. I agree with Nick, his brain was on self-destruct. I think Patricia and Houston have changed his perspective. It’s like he is re-motivated. Go KURT!!

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