Speedy Kurt Busch too speedy on pit road

Two penalties put him a lap down, but he fought back to finish fourth

Sunday, Jun. 23, 2013

Every week it seems like something goes wrong for Kurt Busch, and Sunday was no exception.

While Busch would much rather win and run up front, his comeback in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway was especially telling.

Busch had one of the fastest cars in the race but went a lap down midway through after two consecutive pit road speeding penalties.

Instead of giving up, he and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team rallied back, running as well as race winner Martin Truex Jr. and finishing fourth.

“We’re knocking on the door, but we’re tripping on the threshold when it opens,” Busch said on pit road after the race.

Busch now has four top five and six top 10 finishes this season – both team records for Furniture Row Racing.

“We just had to battle and battle hard. We came back up (through the field) and you have to rough guys (up), you got to move guys; we gave guys room,” said Busch.

“I feel like we had a car to win. I was just too fast on certain parts of the track – well, I meant pit road. It was my bad; I was just speeding.”

Normally, a speeding penalty on a road course doesn’t necessarily take a driver out of contention. Busch was caught speeding during a pit stop on Lap 36 of 110 and was assessed a pass-thru penalty.

However, Busch was flagged again for speeding when he was serving the penalty. So, he had to serve one more.

By the time he returned to racing, he was a lap down. He returned to the lead lap when he received the free pass (which goes to the first car not on the lead lap) when a caution was displayed on Lap 64.

“We were real fast again, but the driver threw it all away,” said Busch, who is 17thth in the series standings – 28 out of the Top 10.

“You just can’t speed twice on pit road, but it was good to battle back, have all this damage (on the car) and still be top five.”

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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