Busch says team needs to pick up pace in Dover
September 24, 2013
As the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship enters its third week of competition Kurt Busch feels his Furniture Row Racing team needs to step up the pace in Sunday’s AAA 400 race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Busch scored a solid fourth-place result in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, but then slipped to 13th in New Hampshire for an average finish of 8.5 in the first two playoff races. He is currently seventh in the Chase standings, only four points out of fourth.
“I’ve said all along the (10-race) Chase is about top-fives,” said Busch. “We didn’t have the speed in New Hampshire to be in the top-five and had to battle hard just to bring home a 13th-place finish in our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet.”
If there’s a silver lining for Busch at the Monster Mile, it's the performance level the single-car team displayed at the June race in Dover, where Busch was in position to post a top-five or better result. But due to a race strategy not panning out Busch settled for a 12th-place finish.
“Back in June Dover was a good race for us,” noted Busch. “We had speed and ran up front. However, we convinced ourselves to stick to a strategy that we thought would deliver the best finish and we ended up putting ourselves in a box. We didn't roll with the way the yellows were unfolding. We just stuck with a game plan and it ended up biting us and finished 12th.
“We know what we have to do there. It's a matter of execution and making the right strategy decisions as the race unfolds. We're coming off a so-so race at New Hampshire and feel we need to pick up the pace and show more muscle. There's still a long ways to go in this Chase. Avoiding trouble and mechanical issues in the next eight races are vital if you want to be a contender."
Busch, the 2004 NASCAR champion, has had past success at Dover. He won there in the 2011 fall race and has career totals of one win, six top-fives, eight top-10s and 426 laps led in 26 career starts. His average starting position at Dover is 11.2 and average finish is 18.1.