July 13, 2013

Kurt Busch storms into contention for Chase spot

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Kurt Busch gets ready for the final practice before Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday in Loudon, N.H.

AP

SPRINT CUP COMES TO NEW HAMPSHIRE

WHAT: Camping World RV Sales 301

WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (oval, 1.058 miles), Loudon

DISTANCE: 318.46 miles, 301 laps

TELEVISION: TNT, noon

While his behavior will always be scrutinized, his outbursts at the media and dustups with other drivers that once landed him on probation have fallen by the wayside this season.

No one's really waiting for that next high-profile incident – just the next win.

"We can't force it," Busch said. "I keep saying it and then I go out there and I try a little bit harder and drive that 101 percent and it steps over the line."

Busch's Furniture Row team has been bolstered by a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. He's a free agent again at the end of the season and could be in the mix to take Harvick's spot at RCR in 2014. Busch stayed at Berrier's house in Colorado in the offseason and bonded with the pit crew in North Carolina, calling those visits the "best way" to build a team. But if another top organization like RCR makes a pitch, Busch will listen.

"There are a lot of irons in the fire," he said. "It's good to run well. Being in the top 10 in points is an accomplishment. Now we've just got to close the door behind us and make sure we are part of the group that is in it."

And if they do make the Chase?

"If I accomplish something and check that off the box, what's next," he asked.

It could mean Busch will be back with a deep-pocketed team where the big boys play.

But take a look at the standings and it's like he never left.

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