The preseason agreement to swap Kurt Busch’s 2007 owner points to rookie teammate Sam Hornish Jr. – guaranteeing that the former open-wheel champion will make each of the first five races – has put Busch’s team on the back lot, so to speak.
At Atlanta last week, Busch – guaranteed a starting spot based on his 2004 Cup championship – and the No. 2 team crew members were forced to operate outside the garage area under a tent on Friday. While the car was positioned on asphalt, much of the team’s work area was a mixture of grass and mud.
Busch qualified 29th on Friday night, allowing the team to move to a space in the permanent garage area before the cold weather moved in early Saturday morning. But one of the busiest team members there on Friday was transport co-driver Cindy Lewis.
“We try our best to keep our transporter as clean as possible,” she said. “We kept the vacuum cleaner going all day long and went through three cleaner bags. The guys kept tracking grass and dirt in all day long, but we felt so sorry about the conditions they had to work under that we never said anything about it.”
“That’s the great thing about our team,” crew chief Pat Tryson said. “Nobody complained at all about anything. That was a pretty tough situation and a little embarrassing to be working outside the garage, under a tent and in the mud there on Friday.
“This weekend at Bristol is the fifth and final race before the 2008 points kick in. It’ll be interesting to see where (they) have to park the transporter. ... You might have to look hard to find us there on Friday. But I’m sure we’ll be working on the car somewhere inside the track – at least I hope we’re inside the track.”
Busch is 10th in the season points heading into Bristol and Hornish is 36th.