The preseason arrangement that gave Kurt Busch’s 2007 points to new teammate Sam Hornish Jr. is over.
At the first five races, the top 35 in last year’s car-owner points were guaranteed a spot in each event. Hornish got the benefit of that, while Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, took his chances on qualifying, knowing that as the most recent former champion out of the top 35 he too was guaranteed a starting spot at the rear of the field.
Heading into Martinsville, the first race that the current top 35 is being used, Busch is 10th and Hornish, who has struggled in the races, is still where he needs to be – barely. The former open-wheel champion is 35th, just four points head of Jamie McMurray.
Busch is very pleased with his team’s performance and the fact that being in the top 35 also guarantees the No. 2 hauler a place in the main garage area.
“We shouldn’t have problems locating our team’s transporter this weekend, and that’ll be a pleasant change,” Busch said. “It felt a little bit like being a world explorer every week, asking around and even calling (crew chief) Pat (Tryson) on the cell phone to find out where we were parked.”
The worst moments came at Atlanta, where rain turned their parking area into a mudhole.
“Our transporter was parked way back in the far corner of the garage,” Busch noted. “It was actually a shorter walk from my coach to the transporter than it was from the transporter to the NASCAR office transporter.
“Seriously, though, it was pretty difficult to see our guys have to work outside the garage area under a tent until qualifying was over. With the rain and all, some of the guys resorted to wearing rain boots and all because of all the grass and mud out there. Through it all, the entire team showed so much class. I never heard a single complaint from any of the guys.”