Kurt Busch's career has taken some eye-opening turns, with the former Sprint Cup champion now driving for his third team in less than 12 months, hoping to close the season strong in the No. 78 car for Furniture Row Racing.
He made the Chase last season driving for Penske, but departed after the season to join Phoenix Racing, only to leave last month to run the final six races for Furniture Row.
Halfway through those six races, Busch is coming off his best finish in the No. 78, a 15th-place finish at Martinsville. He is signed through next season, and views these final few races as a testing ground for a full run next year.
How tough has it been to go through two team changes this year, especially the last one in midseason?
It's been tough, but it was a change that needed to happen, so I was looking forward to it. I had been working behind the scenes with the other team for months, and there's a bridge that gets built. So it wasn't a tough transition when I made the move.
There have been little things that happened this year that, in my mind, are successes. They might not show up on paper, and it doesn't bother me that they don't show up on paper. There are lessons I've been taught, and some that I taught myself. Now I have a better understanding of the sport and a greater appreciation of it.
What kind of lessons have you learned?
Simple things. Just an appreciation of getting the car to the track every week. When you hear a name like Roush or Penske, you just assume it gets done. Now, with my sleeves rolled up, I'm in there working and talking and making sure all those little things are getting done. Some of those things, I was naive about when I was younger. There were times I would ask a guy in a certain department, ‘Hey, why is this certain thing taking so long?' Now I know.
How much of your previous 12 seasons of experience can you apply to the race car when you get to a track like Texas, where you've run multiple races?