Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), had his SHR debut spoiled when he was collected in a multicar accident on lap 35 and finished 14th in the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Busch was looking to make a strong opening statement in his first race with SHR, but unfortunately the lap 35 incident left his new Haas Automation Chevrolet unable to return to the garage under its own power. The extensive damage proved too much to overcome and ended the night early for the 2004 Sprint Cup champion.
“We were just trying to find the right draft and not find trouble,” Busch said. “But we ended up finding trouble because everybody was wrecking in front of us.”
While Busch was disappointed in the final results, he knows his focus must remain on the upcoming Daytona 500 – the first points-paying race of the season.
“It was pretty wild racing,” Busch said. “It’s a big exhibition race where there are no points and everybody is just kind of changing lanes and getting aggressive. It was good, though. The cars were handling well, and the addition of the rear spoiler really took away some of the big runs that you could get because it would stick out there and throw up the drag and put you side by side. I thought it was a good show all up until then.”
The accident started when Matt Kenseth made contact with Joey Logano, setting off a chain reaction that involved seven cars. Busch, trailing the initial contact, moved to the high side to avoid spinning cars. Unfortunately, Busch was unable to avoid the cars of Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon bunched against the outside retaining wall while being pushed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was unable to see over his crumpled hood.