Tony Stewart managed to get a ninth-place finish at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday and even stayed in the top 10 of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series standings.
But the result didn't give him any new optimism that his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team is improving or getting any more competitive as the Chase approaches.
"I'll be perfectly honest: At this point of the deal, if we're going to run this bad, it really doesn't matter whether we make the Chase or not," Stewart told ESPN afterward. "We're going to be occupying a spot in the Chase that somebody else who can actually run for a championship is going to be trying to take. Our stuff is so bad right now that we're wasting one of those top 12 spots right now."
Stewart, who is still 10th in points, said his team went back and forth between too tight and too loose all day at Michigan.
"I don't know what we've got to do to get one balanced for a day, but we haven't figured it out yet," he said.