A recurring theme throughout the season was again an issue for Kurt Busch in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway: Mistakes.
Like he has had in many races this year, Busch had a car fast enough to win. But like has happened many times in 2013, a mistake Sunday kept him from celebrating in Victory Lane --although he was able to rally to finish fourth.
The missteps were twofold and in both instances involved Busch speeding on pit road.
The first penalty, while costly, was not insurmountable, as the No. 78 car could have maintained its position on the lead lap. The second infraction for speeding occurred when Busch was serving his initial penalty and was far more costly. It knocked him off the lead lap and down to 38th in the running order.
"Yeah, we were fast, even on pit road, twice," Busch said. "I messed-up, flat-out. I didn't hit my tachometer right and I was speeding both times. It was one of those where I'm like, how does that happen? I just put myself in a position that was poor trying to get too much on pit road."
On a track where passing is difficult and track position is so critical, it should have equated to another result that should have been far better. Like what happened this season at Darlington, Charlotte, Michigan and elsewhere.
This time, however, with the aid of a little bit of luck, Busch was still able to salvage a good finish.
He was running behind leader Martin Truex Jr. when the eventual winner hit pit road, putting him back on the lead lap. Almost instantly the caution came out, which grouped the field back together, allowed Busch to catch up to the pack and rejuvenated his chances.
From there Busch drove aggressively as he attempted to atone for his mistake. His fourth-place finish was his fifth top five of the season and highlights the competiveness he's had in his first full season with Furniture Row Racing.
"We did get back on the lead lap when (Truex) pitted, but we had to battle hard," Busch said. "We came back up through there. You've got to rub guys and move guys and we gave guys room and just made one mistake.
"I think we could have gotten all the way up to second, but we never would have caught Truex."