Alexa

Busch demoralized by fall in standings

Busch demoralized by fall in standings

Kyle Busch came to Atlanta Motor Speedway in March at the top of his game, notching his first win of the season to start an impressive run to the top of the NASCAR points standings.
Seven months later, it's all fallen apart.
Busch is last in the Chase for the championship standings and has apparently lost all enthusiasm for what had been a remarkable first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. He won eight Cup races this season and started the Chase as the favorite to win the championship.
"It's frustrating to have to come to the racetrack every week and not have a shot for a championship," he said. "It is what it is and we'll have to go back at it next year."
His attitude so clearly defeated, Busch was asked if he was mentally prepared to come to the track each week. He didn't even bother to sugarcoat his answer.
"Probably not. But I've still got a job to do and I'm here to do it," he said.
His drop-off has puzzled almost everyone in the garage. Seemingly unbeatable all season long, mechanical problems derailed him in the first three Chase races and his No. 18 Toyota has not been competitive since. Busch trails championship leader Jimmie Johnson by 445 points.
"I would have never thought he'd have been that far back," said Greg Biffle. "That's the thing about luck. I mean, the right place at the right time, execute properly, things happen, and I tell you when the wheels start coming off this thing, it's hard to get it to stop.
"Then you don't give up, but if you relax your guard a little bit like, 'I can't win anymore, or I can't win the title,' things can compile and have a snowball effect on you. It's that hard to get momentum and it's that easy to lose it. It's a difficult spot."
___
WHERE'S JIMMIE? Carl Edwards can't escape Jimmie Johnson, even in the kitchen.
Edwards is one of the drivers featured on a line of crock pots, and recently learned that Johnson appears in the photo used on the slow cooker.
"I don't know if people know it, but if you buy a Carl Edwards crock pot, on the crock pot there's a picture of us in Victory Lane in Atlanta in 2005 and it's like a `Where's Waldo?'" Edwards explained. "There's this little Jimmie Johnson head sticking out from behind my shoulder, where he's coming up to pour his drink over my head and congratulate me.
"Somebody told me about it, so I went to my mom's house and I got there and I got the crock pot off the shelf and I was like, 'Sure enough, there's Jimmie.'"
Edwards told the story to explain why it's so difficult to resent Johnson's success. The two were expected to battle each other for the Sprint Cup title, but mechanical problems at Charlotte knocked Edwards to fourth in the standings.
Johnson, meanwhile, is en route to a third consecutive title.
"The point is that he's the kind of guy that when you win a race or you have a good race with him and you beat him, he's the first guy over there to congratulate you," Edwards said. "So, yeah, I want to beat him more than anything, but I probably won't be trash-talking him anytime soon. That crock pot is funny.
"He doesn't get a royalty, even though his face is on it. But I don't think he gets paid for the Carl Edwards crock pot."
___
CONCEDING THE TITLE: Jeff Gordon has waved the white flag on his chance at winning a fifth Cup title this season.
He's currently seventh in the Chase standings and trails teammate Jimmie Johnson by 275 points. But when told he's still in the title hunt, he acted surprised.
"I am?" he asked incredulously. "I wouldn't say very well in it. There's like a mathematical chance."
But Gordon, who is winless this season with just four races to go, is still motivated when he gets to the track.
"You do what you do every other week _ you go to try to win," he said. "You just try to win. You try not to get in the way of the guys or be a changing factor in the championship by crashing somebody or something like that, blocking some guy in the pits. You go out there and you try to win. That's what we're doing now just like every other weekend."
If Gordon can't make it to Victory Lane this year, it will be his first winless season since his 1993 rookie year.
"You lose a lot more than you win in this sport so it's easier to get used to that fight and that mind-set of what you have to do to try to celebrate in Victory Lane at the end of the day or have a finish that you're really excited and proud of when you leave here," Gordon said. "That's your goal every weekend. You just don't win as often.
"I know I've won a lot in this series, but I've lost a heck of a lot more. Not that you want to get used to that, but you have to know how to adjust to it. It's just part of racing."


Updated : 2020-12-02 22:02 GMT+08:00