It was a paradox of emotions for a pair of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While Matt Kenseth was pleased with a third-place that allowed him to maintain his position as the series points leader, teammate Kyle Busch was frustrated over finishing fifth.
Busch's angst is because for the fourth time in five Chase races he has finished fifth or better, yet in each instance he has lost ground in the championship standings.
"That's about as good as we are, fifth-place," Busch said. "Pretty frustrating. We certainly got a top-five, which is good. We should be happy about that, but when it's time for championship time that's not what you need -- we need wins and we can't win."
The mindset of needing a win stems from Busch's problems a week ago at Kansas. That was when an already difficult day was made worse when he crashed out and finished 35th. The finish dropped Busch to sixth overall -- thus necessitating the need to pick up points beginning at Charlotte.
Compounding Busch's frustration Saturday were a host issues he encountered throughout the night.
The first came during an early pit stop. Crew chief Dave Rodgers called for a two-tire stop, but miscommunication prompted a crew member to loosen the lugnuts on the left front and Busch exited his stall before the mistake could be corrected. He had to return to pit road and dropped back to 35th. This was followed later by a miss in the engine believed to be something related to the fuel pick up.
So while leaving Charlotte with a fifth was good, it certainly could have been better.
"It's good to finish in the top-five, but it certainly stinks," Busch said. "We're not good enough. It's frustrating, man. I'm beating myself up every week trying to figure out what I got to do to be better, and I don't know what it is."
When the Bank of America 500 concluded Busch lost two points to Kenseth and single marker to Johnson. And with the Chase half over, he finds himself 37 points out of first -- not an insurmountable margin, but an imposing one, nonetheless.
"They say you need top-fives to win a championship," Busch said, "but when you're getting beat by the guys in front of you, then we're just not good enough -- flat-out. I don't know what to do to be better. It's frustrating, but you know, (we) should be happy with a fifth, but we're not -- I'm not.
"We need to win races and we're not capable of doing that right now."