Kurt Busch squeaks out top 5 in Phoenix, how he did it

Kurt Busch didn’t expect this. The Toyota camp seemed down this weekend again and he qualified his No. 45 Toyota Camry in 15th on Saturday. But, as the checkered flag flew in Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500, there he was in the top five. He crossed the finish line fifth in his 23XI Racing entry.

 “It was surprising, and it was fun,” Busch said. “We were the top Toyota today, which is somewhat of a surprise. We were just trying to get to 10th, but we will take a top five. It’s really cool for our program, this car number, No. 45. To get a top five, check mark done. This was a good West Coast Swing. Not so much on points with stage one and stage two, but our finishes were there, and we will keep chiseling away.”

He was only 12th in the first stage and 19th in the second one. Busch, hadn’t had a top five in each of his last 10 Phoenix starts either. But, he kept chipping away at it and there he was inside the top 10 coming to the final two restarts.

Busch, said a change in driving style in terms of tire preference helped get him there.

“I’m normally a sticker guy,” he continued. “I need sticker tires and this car reacted really well to scuffs today, so that’s good for our notebook at 23XI (Racing). The restarts – I was able to find the right spots to be. Thanks to MoneyLion, Toyota.”

Busch sits 12th in points heading to the place he won the last time out at in Atlanta last July. This was his second top eight finish in the last three races. He’s doing exactly what he was brought in to do.

Bubba Wallace was runner-up in the season opening Daytona 500 to give 23XI Racing a top 10 in 3 of the 4 races thus far. Busch, has out paced Wallace in each of the three west coast races too.

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