Once Jeff Gordon got in front of Kasey Kahne on a restart with 17 laps to go in today’s Brickyard 400, Kyle Busch knew that he was racing for second place. Again.
“There was no catching [Gordon] – definitely not,” Busch told ESPN after finishing second for the third time in the last four Sprint Cup races. “Those guys were really, really fast.”
Busch took said restart in third behind leader Kasey Kahne and Gordon. After Gordon made the race-winning outside pass on Kahne, Busch was next up and he led his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, past Kahne’s No. 5 car.
But no one from the JGR trio was going to hunt down Gordon, who went on to become the first five-time NASCAR winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s been a recurring situation lately for Busch, who also had to watch Brad Keselowski run away from him at Kentucky in June and again two weeks ago at New Hampshire.
Busch, however, was big enough to give credit where credit was due after Gordon’s victory.
“Jeff may not have led a lot of laps today, but he was always behind somebody in dirty air and in traffic and being able to make passes,” he said. “Not a lot of other guys could do that.
“You’d see us get strung-out and kind of stall out on everybody. It could be just ill-handling race cars, but Jeff was doing a good job on all that. They certainly had a really good car today.”
With that said, Busch noted that he’s lost out on crucial bonus points for the Chase with these recent runner-up performances. Each regular season victory gives a driver three bonus points after the 16-driver Chase Grid is reset to 2,000 points each.
Busch’s spring win at Fontana gives his three bonus points post-reset. But had Busch managed to win Kentucky, New Hampshire and today at Indy, he would have a bigger total of 12 bonus points.
“It would be a little more beneficial to pick up some trophies…But, you know, if we keep going that way, things will pay off sooner or later and we’ll start winning some,” he said.