Kurt Busch and his Chevrolet looked pretty good during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup race on Sunday, and having already written about his chances of making the Chase For Sprint Cup championship, I was glad to see Busch overcome bad luck to finish fourth at Sonoma.
Although a lot of people said it was bad luck, it also has to be considered as careless driving on Busch’s part as the “bad luck” came in the form of two penalties for speeding entering pit road.
“Yeah, we were fast, even on pit road – twice,” Busch told Mercury News. “I messed up, flat out.”
The 24-time Sprint Cup race winner started from seventh place and started out fast, cutting his way through the field. He looked like a serious contender early on, taking the lead on lap 19 and maintaining it for 15 laps.
The trouble started on lap 35 during his first pit stop, where Busch was caught speeding entering pit road. This earned him a drive-through penalty, which he served on the subsequent lap.
Maybe it was a combination of anger, frustration and the fact he was flying, but as Busch re-entered the pits to serve his penalty, he was caught out again for the same offence. The repeat violation ended up as a stop-and-go penalty, which put him in 38th place, a lap down.
“I didn’t hit my tachometer right and I was speeding both times,” Busch said.
Busch is made of harder stuff though, and instead of giving up the fight, his pure pace saw him work his way up to and finish fourth. His confidence was high because post race he said he thought he could’ve taken more from Sonoma, although he did eventually acknowledge he couldn’t have challenged winner Martin Truex Jr.
“We had to battle hard,” Busch said. “We came back up through there. I thought we could have gotten all the way up to second, but we never would have caught Truex.”
James Harris is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com