Broncos coach inspires Busch during Chase run

August 21, 2013, Staff report,

John Fox, who led the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl in 2004, is a huge fan of NASCAR, Furniture Row Racing

The fan base continues to grow for Furniture Row Racing as the Denver-based single-car team, whose No. 78 Chevrolet is manned by former Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, is in the playoff mix with three races remaining before the start of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Perhaps the most high-profile fan of the establishment?

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, who previously coached nine seasons for the Carolina Panthers, located in NASCAR’s racing hub of Charlotte.

During a recent FRR team visit to the Broncos training camp in Denver, Fox spent time with Busch and then followed with a pep talk to members of the road crew.

“That was really neat for Coach Fox to take time after the Broncos practice to address our team,” said Busch. “He’s a fan of NASCAR and he is pulling for his hometown team and we appreciate what he had to say to us. He was inspiring, stressing to keep focused on the present and to execute with perfection.

“He knows what it takes to win -- those were exciting times in Charlotte when he directed the Panthers to the 2004 Super Bowl. I have a feeling the Denver football fans are going to be in for a similar treat this year.”

Staying focused on the present is what Busch has done in the past three races, with results of third (Pocono), ninth (Watkins Glen) and third (Michigan) for an average finish of 5.0. 

The three-race surge lifted Busch from 14th to ninth in the driver point standings. He is two points out of eight and six ahead of 11th. The top-10 drivers qualify for the Chase along with two wildcard entries.

Though the next stop for Busch is at one of his favorite tracks -- Bristol Motor Speedway -- he is also well aware of the potential hazards at the high-banked, half-mile concrete oval.  

“We all know that trouble can happen at any corner at Bristol,” said Busch, a five-time Bristol winner. “There are 500 laps and we have to protect our car and still finish well. We could get in a little fender-bender, some itty-bitty thing can happen that will put us on the outside. We need to stay focused and worry about what we do and not what others do."

Busch, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet SS, said the adrenalin pumps a little faster for the Irwin Tools Night Race (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC) at Bristol.  

“The Bristol night race is one of those top-five events of the year where you feel the excitement and the electricity,” explained Busch. “The fans are jazzed up for the race, which has a special vibe to it like the Daytona 500, Coke 600 and the All-Star event.  

“It's one of those fun tracks that you anticipate going to, knowing the track and knowing the different types of setups it takes to back up the top-five finish we had there earlier this year.”

Busch’s fourth-place finish in the spring race at Bristol was his first of six top-fives this season. His overall record at Bristol is: 25 starts, five wins, seven top-fives, 14 top-10s, one pole and 841 laps led. His average finish is 13.4.