After an overwhelmingly strong performance by fellow Penske driver, Brad Keselowski, in the Nationwide series race on Saturday afternoon, grabbing yet another win for Penske, Kurt Busch had high hopes for the Sunday Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
Keselowski drove his Dodge Challenger to Victory Lane for the second year in a row, though not without a struggle. During a green flag pit stop his clutch broke, causing problems throughout the rest of the race. As both a Nationwide and Cup regular, he would also race on Sunday, but for Roger Penske, owner of both Keselowski's and Busch's car, he had his eye on the blue No. 2 car to help him sweep the weekend.
"We wanted a good race." Busch said, his face showing signs of frustration after climbing out of his smoking race car, once the tough track had taken its toll on his car's engine during Lap 31. "The engine just let go in Turn 3. It was a big surprise. We've has great reliability with the Penske Engines over the years."
This definitely wasn't where he wanted to end up, back in the garage before the checkered flag dropped.
The engine failure sent him home with a 40th place finish, causing him to lose his position of fourth in the point standings, and fall back to tenth, nearing the bubble of who makes the Chase and who doesn't. With a DNF at Pocono, a strong finish at Watkin's Glen, and another DNF this weekend at Michigan, the inconsistency shakes many, but Kurt seems very comfortable in the position he's in.
"We'll be fine, but its one of those deals when we're comfortable in points, but its not so nice when something like this happens."
While he may be safe for the Chase, this toss back to the 10th position definitely took away his hold on a strong spot in the Cup standings. In the upcoming races, he's sure to be one fighting harder than usual for the strongest finish possible, and that's a trip to Victory Lane.