There’s no question about it, Chip Ganassi Racing was reeling entering this weekend. They had just four combined top 10 finishes all season between both drivers. On Sunday, they nearly doubled that with both Kurt Busch as well as Ross Chastain scoring top 10’s in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
“We had a smooth day,” Busch said. “We figured out how to have a nice easy execution. I worked with Ross (Chastain), our teammate to get two top 10’s. It was almost a top-five type car, just needed better drive off the corners. To be in the mix and have the right strategy and have a smooth day, we’ll take it, and we’re going to build on it.”
Busch, had a solid day in making up 20 points in the standings too. He went from -83 (19th) to -63 (18th). That’s because he finished eighth in Stage 1 and fourth in Stage 2 to score 10 bonus points. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had zero, Matt DiBenedetto had two. Chris Buescher also didn’t score any stage points.
Then, Busch went off strategy early as he pit on Lap 9, one lap before the competition caution. He stayed out not only before the end of Stage 1, but after it too. That gave him track position. He’d not relinquish it as he next pit on the Lap 32 caution. His next stop came on Lap 53 and he was able to get a caution to get his final set of tires and pack his No. 1 Chevrolet full of Sunoco fuel to get him to the end with a sixth place result.
It was Busch’s first top 10 in his last 12 races of the season and third all year. Two of which have come on road courses.
For Chastain, he was solid too in bringing his No. 42 Chevrolet home in seventh, one spot behind Busch. Chastain, also has three top 10’s and two of them are also on road courses. He was fourth a couple of weeks ago in COTA to go along with a top 10 in the season opener at Daytona.
“Whoa!, seventh on a dry road course! This No. 42 team is so good, they gave me a Clover Chevy that I can go out and race with the best Cup Series guys; it just seems wild,” Chastain said. “The pit sequences were crazy; the car is pretty clean. A good day for both the No. 1 and 42 teams. I got to race with the No.1 car a lot there at the end, and only touched a little bit, which is hard to do here. A good teammate day and good building day for CGR.”