Kurt Busch had a tire issue that sent his car into Jimmie Johnson, sending Johnson into the wall and causing the rest of the field to check up.
Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch offer thier thoughts following the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up to Cancer.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver ready to return to car after 'humbling experience' RELATED: Chase requirement waived " Official NASCAR release Sounding every bit resolved and resolute, Kurt Busch addressed the media on Wednesday for the first time since serving what ended up being a three-race suspension from NASCAR for off-track legal issues. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver told the national media he remains focused on his job as driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for the team and has been "humbled" from the whole experience. "I understand why NASCAR needed to take the action that it did. This is a very serious issue,'' Busch said. "The important factor is that what I was accused of was a complete fabrication, and I never wavered through this whole process because of the confidence in the truth, and I had the support from Gene Haas and everybody at SHR, and that's where my focus has been. It's been on the racing side of it, and I never lost that confidence and that drive, and so it's a humbling experience, but it's made me more focused and determined." NASCAR suspended the 2004 Cup champion indefinitely on Feb. 20 after a Delaware judge issued a no-contact order for Busch , writing that Busch "likely" committed an act of domestic abuse against his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll stemming from an incident Sept. 26, 2014 at Dover International Speedway . The Delaware Attorney General's office announced March 5 it would not pursue criminal charges against Busch . And on Wednesday, NASCAR reinstated Busch with the caveat that he is under indefinite probation and must adhere to any judicial requirements asked of him and remain in a treatment program as part of NASCAR's Road to Recovery. "I'm appreciative of the process, of the road to recovery,'' Busch said. "To me it's a roadmap that they laid out that I am respecting. It's created such a good foundation to utilize moving forward that I wish I would have done it sooner." The hardest part of the last two months? "Sitting out watching the 41 car go around the race track, especially at the Daytona 500 ,'' Busch said. "Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks, and Las Vegas is my hometown track. It's been torture sitting out of the car. "Being in that race car is a privilege, and it's a feeling that you can't describe when you go out there for practice each and every weekend. You drive down into the corner, the car sticks, you stand on the gas, and you drive out of the corner, it's an experience that not a lot of people get to do, and I get a chance to race against the best in the world in NASCAR." Busch also disclosed a recent insightful conversation he had with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "Talking with Brian France and going through this road, he told me, 'Don't change,' '' Busch said. "(He told me) 'Don't be the person that's different in the car, but be a different person outside of the car,' and so Brian said, 'Go be yourself in that car. That's what we really love. We love Kurt Busch behind the wheel. Go out there, use that passion, go for those wins.' "And that's my focus is to be humble through this whole process, but let actions speak louder than words." Busch would not specify if he would pursue further legal action to clear his name or have the no-contact order rescinded, instead deferring that course of action to his attorneys. He did say, however, that his trademark "Outlaw" moniker that has ridden above the driver's side window of his race cars in competition would likely be replaced with his signature. "My reputation has always been what I've done behind the wheel, and it's moments that I hope to battle and put out on the track like I did with Ricky Craven in the closest finish in the history of NASCAR," Busch said. "It's to focus on the wins at the tracks that I haven't won on or to deliver for Gene Haas on the trophies that he signed me on for that he wants in his trophy room. "My reputation will iron itself out in whichever way that it is, but my focus is the race car, and as I move forward, I'm putting my signature above the door of the car, and I'm proud to have my signature on the side of a car that Gene Haas has and to carry his name into Victory Lane." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Stewart-Haas Racing driver: 'It was good to ... shake hands with all the guys' Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live AVONDALE, Ariz. -- In his first trip back to the race track since being indefinitely suspended on the eve of this year’s Daytona 500 , Kurt Busch shook off the rust, survived an uneventful practice and qualified eighth for Sunday's Campingworld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick will start on the pole Sunday. "Overall, it was just a pleasant day with overwhelming support from the team and the garage area," Busch said. "I'm thankful to be back and to have this competitive car that I can put in the top 10 on the first day out. Tomorrow, we'll settle back into race trim where the car showed some speed. "And this is the first short track of the year. It will put everybody on even ground, but I have the least amount of experience with the new (rules) package. So, mine is a little bit of learn as you go with the draft and the dirty air on Sunday." Busch was 17th on the speed chart in the day's only practice. But he was fast enough in each round of qualifying to advance all the way to the third and final round of 12. NASCAR suspended the 36-year-old Busch after former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll was granted an Order of Protection of Abuse by the Family Court of the State of Delaware. The indefinite suspension was lifted March 11, in part because the State Attorney General's office for the state of Delaware determined no charges would be filed against the driver. NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Regan Smith competed for the team in Busch's absence, finishing 16th at Daytona, 17th at Atlanta and 16th last weekend at Las Vegas. Busch had competed in the non-points Sprint Unlimited at Daytona as well as one of two Daytona 500 qualifying races before his suspension. "Phoenix is probably the track that I have the most amount of laps on in my career," he said. "It was great to roll right off the hauler and be towards the top of the chart. It's not me; it's the team. The team is building very competitive cars. "Overall, I'm pleased with how I was able to get back in the seat and show some speed and now you've got to work on those little things that pay dividends at the end of these races on Sunday." Although he missed the first three races, Busch remains eligible for one of the 16 spots in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Former Cup champion will start first in second race back from suspension Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: See the lineup for Sunday FONTANA, Calif. -- One week removed from his return from a three-race suspension, Kurt Busch rewarded the unwavering support from Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Gene Haas by putting his No. 41 Chevrolet on the pole for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). "It's amazing to do this in Gene Haas' back yard," said Busch , who streaked around two-mile Auto Club Speedway in 38.889 seconds (185.142 mph) during the third and final round of Friday's knockout qualifying for the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. A day after making an appearance at the Haas Automation headquarters in nearby Oxnard, Busch won his record fourth Coors Light Pole Award at Auto Club Speedway and the 17th of his career. In winning his first pole since May 2013 at Darlington, Busch edged Stewart-Haas teammate and reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick (185.047 mph) by .020 seconds. Behind the Stewart-Haas sweep of the front row, Matt Kenseth qualified third at 184.966 mph, followed by David Ragan (184.886 mph) and Kyle Larson (184.337 mph). At the track closest to Toyota Racing Development's home in Costa Mesa, four Toyota drivers made the top 12 on the grid -- Kenseth, Ragan, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Clint Bowyer (10th). "This is huge for Gene Haas," said Busch , who was suspended by NASCAR in the wake of allegations of domestic violence against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and the finding of a State of Delaware Family Court commissioner that, more likely than not, Busch had committed an act of domestic abuse. "Thank you, Gene, for believing in me. This is my job. Come to the track, drive the car and put it up on the pole and go for wins. "That is what Gene has told me to do from the get-go, and I'm glad I have this chance to go back out there and live up to why he hired me. It feels good. The guys were just spot-on all day with all the adjustments. The car started off so fast and it is all due to the work back at the shop. Thank you Stewart-Haas Racing . Appreciate it. No. 41 car up front feels good." NASCAR lifted Busch's suspension after he completed a reinstatement program and after the Delaware Department of Justice declined to file charges in the case, citing insufficient evidence. Since his return, Busch has been fast on the race track, qualifying eighth and finishing fifth last week at Phoenix and winning the pole at Fontana on Friday. Harvick, who is trying for a sweep of the three races on NASCAR’s West Coast swing -- Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana -- had a good lap going before abandoning his intended line because of cars rolling slowly on the apron. "I got down into Turn 3, and I was committed to the bottom, and there were three cars on the apron that were cooling off," Harvick explained. "I wanted to run the apron because I ran it in the second round and thought that I knew what I needed to do in the third round. "I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 fairly good, got to the green really good and then I had to abort down here. All-in-all, still a good effort." Notes: Jeff Gordon will start seventh in his final run at Fontana. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Danica Patrick both made the top 24 in the first round of knockout qualifying but failed to advance to the final round. They will start 17th and 22nd, respectively. ... Travis Kvapil and Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Coors Light Pole Award winner also topped Friday's lone practice Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Practice 2 results Kurt Busch continued his reign as the fastest at Fontana, topping Saturday's opening practice session for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a fast lap of 187.115 mph. Busch will be making just his second start since NASCAR reinstated him from a suspension that caused him to miss the opening three races of the 2015 season. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has shown plenty of speed out of the gate this weekend as he topped Friday's lone practice session and also scored the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Jimmie Johnson (184.247 mph), David Ragan (184.237 mph), Ryan Newman (183.969 mph) and Brian Scott (183.960 mph) rounded out the top five from the 55-minute practice session. Martin Truex Jr . (183.814 mph), Brad Keselowski (183.594 mph), AJ Allmendinger (183.510 mph), Kevin Harvick (183.416 mph) and Casey Mears (183.351 mph) placed sixth through 10th in the session. Harvick, who qualified for a spot on the front row next to his SHR teammate Busch , is looking to sweep the three-race West Coast swing with a win at Fontana. FINAL PRACTICE " Results Another Auto Club Speedway practice produced the same result we have seen at the top all weekend with Kurt Busch once again leading the way with a fast lap of 184.971 mph. The 36-year-old driver topped all three practice sessions at the 2-mile track leading into Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). The veteran driver scored a third-place finish at the California track last year, but has just one win at the venue, which came in 2003. Paul Menard (183.885 mph), Kevin Harvick (183.220 mph), Casey Mears (183.146 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (182.992 mph) placed second through fifth in the 55-minute final practice session. The Chevrolet dominance of the practice leaderboard extended to spots six and seven, with Martin Truex Jr . (182.783 mph) and Ryan Newman (182.699 mph) occupying those slots. Team Penske teammates Joey Logano (182.348 mph) and Brad Keselowski (182.292 mph) were the top Fords on the board, placing eighth and ninth for the session, respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr . rounded out the top 10 with a lap of 182.099 mph. David Ragan , who qualified fourth and is making his fourth start filling in for the injured Kyle Busch , was the highest-placing Toyota in the final practice, coming in 12th. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Big brother touches on younger brother's recovery, mindset Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Even though Kyle Busch is away from the track due to an injury, he is not far from the minds of teammates and his brother. Kyle continues to recover from a compound fracture to his right lower leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot suffered in a late-race accident in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway . His brother, Kurt , who was reinstated by NASCAR on Wednesday after being suspended last month for two violations in the NASCAR Rule Book -- Actions detrimental to stock car racing and 12.8: Behavioral penalty -- touched on his interaction with Kyle following Coors Light Pole Qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway . "I saw Kyle right when he came back to Charlotte before he had his second surgery. He seemed in good spirits. And the steps for him, what makes him tough, is that he wants in his head to get back to the track as soon as possible." Denny Hamlin says that despite being sidelined his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate is staying engaged. "He seems well. He’s somewhat chatty through the texts that we have. He's definitely paying a lot of attention to the races and what he sees from the outside. I think he’s very engaged and obviously making the best of the situation that he’s got." To that end, Kyle took a field trip with his wife Samantha to Kyle Busch Motorsports, which fields three entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, on Wednesday. The couple, who are expecting their first child in May, posted a video of the trip on social media. Missing time in the car can change your outlook, Hamlin added, referring to when he missed four races in 2013 due to a compression fracture in his lower back. "I know when I was out two years ago, it just gives you a different perspective and a different way to look at things. I’m sure coming back he’ll probably be a lot more appreciative of the time he’s got inside that race car because he knows how quickly it can go away." Earlier in the week, Kyle traded in his soft casts for walking boots. But there is no specific timetable for him to get back behind the wheel. And rushing to return is the one thing big brother Kurt doesn't want to see Kyle do. "You can't rush the healing of bones and surgeries. And so we have to keep track of him to give him things to do to keep his mind in a phase to where he's not trying to rush it. "We got to hopefully see him progress at the right pace and then show up back at the track and try to get the best out of 2015 that he can. But overall, he's taking it very well and I think he's, I can't say that he's ahead of schedule but just listening to Tony Stewart , on how he broke his leg. How Kyle broke his leg and my mom, she broke her leg a couple years ago. So she's got her experience. And when my mom's telling you what's going on, she's the main doctor." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Denny Hamlin paced the field in Saturday's opening practice Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Practice results After qualifying 15th on Friday, Denny Hamlin powered his No. 11 Toyota to the top of the leaderboard during Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup practice for Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) at Martinsville Speedway . The Joe Gibbs Racing driver posted a speed of 97.113 mph and has won four times at the paperclip oval, ranking third among active drivers in NASCAR's premier series. Just behind Hamlin was Jimmie Johnson , who wheeled his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at 96.988 mph around the short track after overcoming an electrical issue midway through practice. Rounding out the top five were Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne , followed by Joe Gibbs Racing 's Carl Edwards . Coors Light Pole Award winner Joey Logano didn't show quite as much speed in today's practice session, ranking 15th on the leaderboard. Since qualifying 17th yesterday, reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick seemed to have found his groove around the short track today, posting the 10th-fastest speed in the field. A little further back was Chase Elliott , who is making his Sprint Cup debut with Hendrick Motorsports in Sunday's STP 500 . The 19-year-old posted the 20th-fastest speed. Final Practice " Results Defending STP 500 winner Kurt Busch finally showed his speed during the final practice at Martinsville Speedway , powering his No. 41 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet at 97.098 mph around the 0.526-mile track. Jimmie Johnson 's momentum from the earlier practice continued, as the No. 48 driver once again posted the runner-up speed on the leaderboard of 96.810 mph. Following Johnson was Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon , along with Joe Gibbs Racing 's Denny Hamlin , who topped the leaderboard in practice earlier in the day. Richard Childress Racing 's Ryan Newman , who posted the fastest speed during Friday's Sprint Cup practice session, rounded out the top five. Coors Light Pole Award winner Joey Logano seemed to find his power again in this practice, putting up the seventh-fastest speed on the leaderboard. Right behind Logano was 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick , who posted the eighth-fastest speed in his No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the last driver to celebrate a Sprint Cup win at Martinsville, continued to run in the middle of the pack, putting up the 18th-fastest speed. Chase Elliott , who will be making his first start in a Sprint Cup car with Hendrick Motorsports , slowed a bit in the final practice, ranking 27th on the leaderboard. The 19-year-old will make his Sprint Cup debut from the 27th position in Sunday's STP 500 . MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kurt Busch says he understands why NASCAR suspended him, now he is just focused on the No. 41 team and doing his job.
Kurt Busch talks in the Media Center at Phoenix International Raceway about returning to NASCAR after his suspension was lifted.