Kurt Busch good with underdog role in Playoffs

DARLINGTON, SC (September 4, 2020) – Kurt Busch and the No. 1 Chevrolet team roll into the NASCAR Playoffs knowing they are an underdog. And, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series is fine with that as the quest for the NASCAR Cup Series championship begins this Sunday at Darlington Raceway.

Busch knows there is one main ingredient for the recipe to success, and feels his team has had it all along in 2020.

“Consistency has been good for us this year,” he said. “We just need to continue to do that and execute as a team to get through each of these rounds. I’m looking at it one race at a time.

“We put ourselves in this position to be Playoff-eligible and to have a shot at the championship. We know this is an opportunity to do something great.

“I love Darlington. It’s one of my favorite race tracks.”

During his 31-Cup wins career, Busch has been through all types of the various playoff scenarios NASCAR implemented through the years. He and Harvick are the only two playoff drivers who have raced in all the formats.

Being there at the end, with good finishes and smart racing is something the veteran knows all to well and hopes to benefit from those factors in the long run.

“You have to know how to execute through each of the stages in the races, through each of the rounds,” Busch said of the four-segment playoff format. “That consistency we built on this year with the Ganassi team, that’s our strength.

“And, that’s what we have to use when we go through these different races and different rounds. Just staying calm, cool and collected around our consistency is probably our biggest thing that I’ve taken through all these years.”

Yes, Kurt Busch, who has had his meltdown moments during the early stages of his career, has mellowed. In the words he chooses and his outlook almost have an air of consistent positivity around them.

He shares how the recent format is more appealing to him as the Playoff Rounds unveil themselves leading to the finale at Phoenix Raceway.

“It’s a Playoff mindset, it’s a Playoff atmosphere and you can’t get too far ahead of yourself,” the Las Vegas native said. “What I think it’s done is, it gave it a strong comparison to other sports.

“There’s that Playoff atmosphere. There’s that championship race where four guys are eligible to win the championship and it’s an even playing ground.

“When it was a long marathon process of going through all 36 races, that was a different sequence. That was maybe not as intense when it got down to the final rounds. With these 10 weeks, the Playoff atmosphere is there and it relates well to other sports.

“That’s where it draws in more fans that might not have been NASCAR fans before.”

No, he hasn’t won a race this year. That’s okay, he and the team are in the Playoffs with only one goal on their minds and Busch isn’t letting himself look to far down the schedule.

“Yes, of course we want to win; but we want to advance through all the rounds to give ourselves a shot at the championship,” he said. “I’m looking at it one race at a time. I think we’re in a good spot.

“We’re in that underdog-type position that also, with the tracks that are coming up with Darlington and Richmond and Bristol, those are all my favorites. The team has run really well at those tracks.

“We just have to go execute as a team and not get too far ahead of ourselves. That’s really what we’ve got to do these first few races to get to the next round.”

The green flag drops at the Track Too Tough to Tame a little after 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN-TV, and heard on MRN/Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

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