From Kyle Busch’s perspective, he squeezed as much out of his car as he could have en route to a fifth-place finish in today’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Busch continued his consistent Chase for the Sprint Cup so far, punching out a Top-5 result after finishing second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and Chase leader Matt Kenseth in the first two post-season races at Chicagoland and New Hampshire.
But in a sign of how tough his championship battle will be, he still fell back to third in the standings behind race winner Jimmie Johnson – even though he has earned an average finish of third so far in the Chase.
“We were about a fifth to seventh-place car much of the day, and we ended up fifth…Certainly, I wish we definitely could’ve gotten more,” Busch said afterwards. “We probably could’ve if I could’ve got the outside lane on the final restart; I probably could’ve finished third, but we didn’t get that.
“We had to fight through it and pass a couple cars the hard way, and we ended up fifth. It’s certainly the finish that our car had today. When you look at the grand scheme of things and it’s three straight Top-5 finishes to start the Chase, it’s not too bad.”
Like his teammate Kenseth, Busch was stuck on the inside lane going into the final restart with 26 laps remaining after taking four tires on his final stop. However, he insisted that taking four was the right call instead of going for two in an attempt to gain track position.
“[I’m] definitely glad we made that call and I just wish that maybe I would have come out one spot worse off pit road so I could have had the outside,” Busch said. “As quick as everything happens in this sport, you can’t always predict and get what you want.”
“The inside lane just doesn’t get going [on restarts] here. I think it’s because you’re lower in the bowl than the outside lane is and you’re coming up out of it and you’re just having to come uphill and obviously, the more uphill you have to go, it’s harder – whether you’re a human being or mechanical horsepower.”
Busch now sits 12 points behind Kenseth as the series heads for Kansas, which has not been one of the better tracks for “Rowdy.” In 12 career starts at the 1.5-mile oval, Busch has finished no better than seventh (2006) and has crashed out in his last two runs there.