You didn't think he would go quietly, did you? Kyle Busch will be around to annoy us - or thrill us, depending how you feel about him - to the bitter end. With his fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen on Monday, Busch closed the gap between himself and the 12th and final spot in the Chase field. Busch entered Monday 101 points behind Greg Biffle. He now sits just 58 points behind Matt Kenseth. Busch moved up by - and I can't believe that I am about to write this - racing smart, instead of hard. He took an ill-handling car and milked it for every point he could.
"Wouldn't turn. Wouldn't stop. Wouldn't accelerate. Anything," Busch said of his car on ESPN after the race. "I'm tired. That wore me out right there. I had to drive with everything I had. It was great for all the M&M team guys. They did a great job this weekend, fought hard.
"It was three times harder than I had to drive here last year and I spanked them."
Busch started eighth and quickly moved up to sixth. On lap 12 he radioed crew chief Steve Addington to tell him his car lacked grip on much of the track. Addington and Busch used a caution on lap 19 to add fuel and four new tires and make a tire-pressure adjustment. The changes helped. On lap 34 Busch passed Jimmie Johnson for the lead. Busch held the lead for 12 laps before eventual race winner Tony Stewart passed him. Busch regained the lead briefly for a second time on lap 65 before losing it for good on lap 67. The 18 car's handling faded and Busch fell to fourth, where he finished. Said Addington, " "Kyle got a little frustrated, but he calmed down and got us a good, solid finish." That's Kyle Code for, "He didn't have a meltdown that would have put us in 38th."
Michigan International Speedway - site of this Sunday's race - is an up-and-down track for Busch. In his last five races there he has finished 13-2-13-6-13. It appears that he is due for a non-13th place finish.
Solid finish allows Kyle Busch to gain on top 12 (That's Racin')