The driver who used to be disgusted with a second-place finish was reasonably happy with his 11th-place run on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
Needing to tighten his hold on a position in the top 30 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, Kyle Busch did exactly that in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at the two-mile track in the Irish Hills – and he accomplished the feat after starting from the rear of the field in a backup car.
Busch moved up one position to 29th in points, but he bought himself some breathing room—18 points over 30th-place Justin Allgaier and 23 over 31st-place Cole Whitt. If Busch can maintain a top-30 position after the next three races, he’ll be in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, despite missing the first 11 events of the season because of injuries sustained in a Feb. 21 wreck at Daytona.
Team Matt Kenseth won Sunday’s race from the pole, but given Busch’s previous four finishes at MIS (31st, 41st, 39th and 43rd), Sunday’s 11th-place run was the next best thing to a victory.
“It was a success,” Busch acknowledged after the race, but he still had mixed feelings. “(But) it wasn’t what we wanted. We had a really, really fast car (on Saturday), but I screwed up and wrecked that car (in practice). It was a winning car, maybe not the winning car, but congratulations to our teammate Matt Kenseth and the 20 bunch.
“Our Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry was good today, a lot better car than I expected to have. Real proud of all my guys and can’t thank them enough for all the long hours they put in last night and this morning to get me prepared and ready with a good piece to go out there and do our best.
“If all things would have worked out a little better we might have finished fourth or fifth, but where we ended up there just outside the top 10 doesn’t matter. We just have to continue on with our points gathering and go on to next week.”