It's been two years since Kurt Busch has visited Victory Lane at a NASCAR Cup Series event. After losing his high profile ride in one of NASCAR's elite teams, Kurt has been on a long, soul searching journey to rebuild his career.
He was given an opportunity of a lifetime when Gene Haas asked him to join the powerful Stewart/Haas team this season and it didn't take the elder Busch brother long to repay his gratitude with a win Sunday in the STP 500 at Martinsville.
"This is an unbelievable feeling," said an emotional Busch after the race. "To get back to victory lane after this tour that I've been on, to find this opportunity with Stewart-Haas, and to win, it means the world to me."
Busch's temper has been his biggest competitor over his NASCAR career and he had to face that nemesis again Sunday after a scuffle with Brad Keselowski. The only difference is that he controlled it this time and kept in the race.
"Accidents happen on pit road. It's congested," said Kurt of the incident. "It's not a place to race, because of all the pit crew guys down there and I didn't think much of it."
Keselowski tried to retaliate for what he felt was an intentional move once the two got back to racing. Kurt kept his cool this time but didn't like Brad's actions.
"I didn't think much of it," continued Busch. "Then once we were back out running, he targeted us, he was aiming for us."
Once the dust settled, Busch got back to the task of running down Jimmie Johnson for the win. Johnson is awesome at Martinsville so when Busch passed him for the lead with 10 to go, he knew it would take his best to stay out front.
"So I gave it all I had, and it felt good," commented Busch on beating Johnson. "It felt really good to give it my all and deliver and to win knowing that after this two-year run it can still be done."
The win gives the No. 41 team a shot at the Chase but Busch knows they have to keep their nose to the grind stone of they are to make the post-season.
"We still have to do to make our car stronger and to be more competitive week in and week out," said Kurt on his team's future. "But don't think that I'm not going to enjoy this for one moment."
Kurt has had a hard few years trying to find some peace in his life. This win doesn't mean that his journey is over but it does show that he's on the right path.
"You've got to put life in perspective, and you have to learn from your mistakes," said Busch. "You can't just sit there and try to muscle your way individually through certain situations, and so you rely on your experience level, you rely on your team, and this is a great day for me to be able to lift the trophy in victory lane for Stewart-Haas Racing."
Time will tell if the new Kurt Busch can lead a first year team to the Championship but, they certainly are off to a good start.
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