Kyle Busch isn't struggling in points this season because he's lost his edge. The reason he's hanging onto a NASCAR Chase wild card spot by a thread is because his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team has had a lot of bad breaks.
But even though Busch knows he's done virtually everything he can to make the Chase, he's still experiencing some stress in the final weeks until the 10-race playoff field is set.
"It's definitely stressful," Busch said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "Obviously, you know if we miss the Chase, we're just going to be another race car out there on the racetrack running around in circles for the rest of the year."
Though that might seem a bit harsh – and Busch noticed how it sounded – the ultra-competitive driver added: "That's how I feel about it."
"We want to make the Chase and we want to go out there and have the opportunity to race for a championship and be making circles for a reason," he said. "That's just what the year has kind of drawn out of me, I guess. It's just been a frustrating season, a tough one that's tried to bring us down. There really hasn't been too much to be excited about this year."
That said, Busch (currently in the second wild card spot with one win) still has an excellent chance to make the Chase. His goal is just to go after solid finishes and hope that's enough to make it (though a win would obviously help).
Busch is currently 16 points ahead of Jeff Gordon for the final wild card spot (standings here), but if Gordon, Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano or Carl Edwards win at Atlanta or Richmond, Busch could be bumped out.
"If we run top-five both these weeks and don't score a win, I feel like we still have a really good shot at getting in," he said. "If we run 20th this week, then going into Richmond, it may take a win to make it in. We'll see how it plays out."