Kyle Busch: 'We Need Wins, and We Can't Win.'

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch finished fifth at Charlotte but fell further behind in the title Chase. (Photo: Corey Vaissiere)

CONCORD, N.C. - Kyle Busch needed a strong performance to revive his title hopes.

Fifth place wasn’t good enough. At least for him.

Dragged down by his 34th-place finish last weekend at Kansas Speedway, Busch is fifth in the standings, 37 points behind series leader Matt Kenseth halfway through the Chase.

The past two weeks likely will cost him a shot at the title. Kansas is obvious because of his poor finish, but Charlotte will be just as painful. Although he’s won 13 times in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, he remains winless in Sprint Cup races at this track.

Heading into the races at Kansas and Charlotte, Busch conceded he needed to keep pace with Johnson and Kenseth.

Although he wasn’t far behind Kenseth (third) and Johnson (fourth) at Charlotte, Busch can’t afford to be even with them. He has to beat them.

It just added to a night where a miscue on pit road dropped him to 35th early in the race, and he thought his engine was failing late in the race.

“Pretty frustrating,’’ he said after having a brief conversation with Jimmie Johnson on pit road after the race. “We should be happy about (fifth), but when it’s time for championship time, that’s not what you need. We need wins, and we can’t win.’’

That’s become standard operating procedure for Busch in the Chase. He has one win in 87 career starts in Chase races. That victory came in 2005 when he wasn’t among those contending for the title.

For Busch to have any hope of contending for the title, he’ll need Kenseth and Johnson to have problems soon. With the series headed to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, that’s possible. Busch, though, wasn’t looking that far ahead as he stood on pit road Saturday night.

“We’re not good enough,’’ he said. “I’m beating myself up every week trying to figure out what I got to do better. I don’t know what it is. I work hard through practice. I work hard through the week. I study film. I do everything I need to do, but it’s not paying off.’’

So what is keeping him from winning races?

“I think it’s everything,’’ he said.

As for his engine problems, Busch said he thought it was a fuel pickup issue.

“We had the same thing in the third Chase race back in 2008, so it doesn’t surprise me something’s back,’’ he said.

The pit road problem came on the first stop of the race. A miscommunication led to the team’s front tire changer loosening lug nuts on the left front before Busch exited his stall, thinking it was only a two-tire stop. That forced Busch to return to the pits, dropping him to 35th in the field. He made his way back toward the front but couldn’t do enough to win. Instead, he left frustrated with a fifth-place finish.

Related Topics:

Kyle Busch, NASCAR Sprint Cup

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