It is the most baffling question in NASCAR right now: Why has
Busch, you'll recall, won three of the first 10 races of the 2009 season. He looked poised to duplicate what he had done in '08 when he took eight of the first 22-checkered flags. But since he won at Richmond on May 2, Busch hasn't even cracked the top five in the past 11 starts. Worse, since then he's fallen from fifth to 13th in points. He currently trails
So why is Busch struggling? Here are three factors that have contributed to his freefall in the standings.
In other words, Busch sometimes grows so frustrated during a race that he fails to precisely articulate what he's feeling inside the cockpit, leaving his crew at a loss for what exactly to fix during pit stops. Thing is, Busch is one of best in the sport at explaining what's going on inside the car --- when he wants to. Busch has been getting his fingers dirty under the hoods of race cars ever since he can remember, and he knows how the cars operate as intimately as most crew chiefs. Bottom line -- and Busch has admitted this -- he needs to display more maturity during races, not lose his cool, and consistently give succinct feedback to his crew.
But in NASCAR, technology has a way of bleeding out in the garage. Is it possible that JGR has now caught up to Hendrick? Well, it's still too early to tell, but we'll know more on August 16th at Michigan, a track where Busch took the checkers last year.
So will Busch make the Chase? Well, the schedule sets up nicely for him. He won last year at Watkins Glen, where the Cup circuit stops on Sunday, and in his last three starts at Michigan he has one victory and a second-place finish. In May he also won at Richmond, site of the last race of the regular season.
I say he nudges past Biffle for the last Chase spot -- if, that is, he stops self-destructing.