Kurt Busch knows that if he wants any part of winning this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, he needs to win Sunday’s race at the Dover International Speedway. Busch, currently is17 points out of the final playoff spot for Round 2. With this weekend’s race being the final race of the opening round, that’s a lot to make up in one race.
After all, making up 17 points on playoff drivers is no easy task. So, Busch needs to just go out and win the race.
But, how did he get here?
Entering the playoffs, Busch was arguably driving like a driver that could make a deep run. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver had four top six finishes in a span of five races. His worst result from Pocono on was 13th.
The two playoff races though have been anything but good for him. Actually, they’ve been just plain bad luck.
At Chicagoland, Busch was easily a top 10 contender. He ran inside the top 10 all day long. But, in the final laps, he had to pit for a loose wheel which cost him a good result. He’d finish 19th.
Last Sunday at New Hampshire, Busch was running inside the top 15 before he had no where to go and got caught up in a crash on Lap 150. He’d finish 37th.
Now, with two problems not of his doing, he’s 15th out of 16 drivers in the standings. But, what are his chances of winning on Sunday?
Honestly, not great.
Busch’s average finish at Dover is 18.62. He has won a race there and has seven top five finishes and nine top 10’s, but most of those were prior to 2011. Over the last seven years, Busch has led just three laps and has one top 10 finish at the Monster Mile. Just two of his last 11 starts at Dover has seen him finish better than 15th.
So, if he’s going to advance, he’s going to need to flip the script. It’s unfortunate because he’s clearly had a car to contend. Bad luck has put him here.