DENVER (CBS4) – NASCAR star Kurt Busch is a Sprint Cup champion, has 24 Sprint Cup wins, has won his first-ever nationwide race, 15 poles, 174 Top 10s, and now Busch is bringing his impressive resume to Denver with Furniture Row Racing.
“You have the Broncos here, you have the Rockies, and there’s an NBA team, NHL; there’s a lot of allegiance to their sports here, and we’re being adopted as the NASCAR team here,” Busch said.
Busch took over the No. 78 car with just six races to go last year. By season’s end he would nab three consecutive Top 10 finishes. The quick success has the former champion convinced that his new team in Colorado gives him the best opportunity to get back into Victory Lane.
“It was fantastic to have those six races just to work with team chemistry and to build that foundation,” he said. “Those three races at the end to be Top 10s, even with things happening that were wrong during the race, just shows the strength and the blue sky that’s above this team.
“I think we can build on that, of course, and find consistency and put ourselves in position to win. And when you try to get into the chase, you can do it with consistency, or you can do it with race wins. Ultimately we want to have a shot at the playoffs.”
While he’s had plenty of success in his 13-year career, Busch has been unable to outrun controversy. He’s amassed over $250,000 worth of fines. Just last year an altercation in Pit Row landed him on probation, which led to a run-in with a pit reporter, which led to a suspension.
Busch’s behavior became such an issue Speed Network created an entire show centered around him called “The Outlaw.” Forbes Magazine also ranked Busch No. 10 on their America’s Most Disliked Athletes list, just behind Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. He was the only driver to make the list.
“It is what it is. It’s however people want to write it or perceive it. For me, racing the car is the most important part,” Busch told CBS4′s Brett Heinzerling. “I come with that rough edge just because I want to win so bad.”
But winning may be an uphill battle for Busch and Furniture Row Racing. Denver’s NASCAR team has won only one race. The last one-car team to win the championship was in 1992.
But Busch is convinced he can regain his championship form and bring a Sprint Cup title to the Rocky Mountains.
“It takes luck, it takes some of the magical things that you can’t control to happen,” he said. “The years that I won the championship, I tried to harness in that emotion of, ‘Let’s just go for consistency.’ And it turns into race wins when things all come the right way. This team is capable of that.”