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Busch Says No Way He Can Catch Jimmie

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, October 14 2010

Kyle Busch says he would have to drive like Jimmie Johnson to beat Jimmie Johnson in this year's Chase. (File photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Concord, N.C. – Four days have not altered Kyle Busch’s assessment of his chances in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship: He’s cooked. Too many points out of the lead, too many cars to jump over and way too much Jimmie Johnson.

What remains as a goal, he said said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, is to jump on the hopes of those teams and drivers who may still believe they have a chance to become 2010 champion.

“That’s what our goal is,” Busch, ninth in points and 187 behind Johnson with five races to go, said. “To go out there and win the rest of the races and try to spoil it.”

For a large portion of the season, it looked like Busch was primed to spoil Johnson’s bid for a fifth-straight championship. He won three races during the pre-Chase portion of the season and steamed into the playoffs third in points and riding a three-race stretch in which he won a race and also finished fifth and second.

His teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Denny Hamlin, was fielding fast cars as well and there was a building feeling that the JGR Toyotas might be up to challenge of challenging the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets of Johnson.

But after starting the Chase off with two straight top-10 finishes, disaster has struck. Busch tangled with David Reutimann at Kansas and finished 21st. Last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, engine problems knocked him out of the race and he finished 35th.

Afterward, he said chances to win the championship were sitting at nil.

Thursday at CMS, site of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500, he didn’t back off that assessment one bit.

“Realistically, you’re not going to beat seven, eight guys, or however many are in front of me, 187 points, the rest of the year,” Busch said. “Unless they all have trouble at least once or twice. The realisticness of that is why I said our championship hopes and dreams are lost.”

Busch said in order for anybody to come between Johnson and another championship this year, he would have to be able to driver like, well, Johnson.

“Week in and week out, they (the No. 48 team) are the guys that can go out to every single track and legitimately have a shot to win,” Busch said. “If you look at us, we legitimately have a shot for the top 10. We could hit a top five or so, but we’re not running second, third, fourth, fifth the whole race and then at the end, have circumstances go right and we win the race.

“That’s what the 48 car does every single week. He’s in the top five from the drop of the green flag until the checkered flag and if he can win it, he will win it. I don’t see anybody else that’s even in his league.”

Except maybe in another series.
“It’s like me in the Nationwide Series,” Busch said. “Every single week you know you can count on me either being first, second or third. That’s what I count on Jimmie Johnson as being unless you have trouble and I don’t ever want to put trouble on people so you try to beat them out right and it’s too hard to make up that much distance.”

So the plan for the next five races is push for victories, hope for a top-five finish in the standing and crush somebody else’s dream.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, October 14 2010
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