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Kyle Busch vows to be better leader

Coming off his worst finish since the Southern 500, and in real danger of missing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup if he doesn't do a quick about-face, Kyle Busch vowed Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to become more of a leader for his #18 team.

Unaware that he had lost two spring rubbers from the right rear of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Busch fought the handling of his Toyota at Chicagoland Speedway and ultimately gave up on the car. His day ended with a blown engine and a 33rd-place finish, his worst since running 34th at Darlington. Now he says he has to become better at dealing with adversity and making the best of a bad day.

“Our bad weeks are bad - they're real bad,” Busch said, “You can't have super bad days. If you're having a bad day, then you need to make a tenth out of it, and we're not very good at that. I'm not very good at that, and I don't think our team is very good at that.

“Maybe that's because of me, maybe I'm not leading it in the right direction. I've got some things that I've got to try to work on to make ourselves better and ultimately more championship-calibre.”

Busch, who is currently tenth in the Cup standings, had a banner season in 2008, winning eight races, but his team fell apart when the Chase began. This year, he has three victories, second best in the Cup series, but of little consequence if he fails to qualify for the Chase and can't use the ten-point bonus Chase drivers get for each win.

On aggregate, Busch has put forth the best qualifying effort of his career this season, with an average starting position of 8.5, but lacking are the finishes, where the average of 17.0 is his worst since 2005, Busch's first full season of Cup racing.

Busch hasn't had a problem with finishes in the Nationwide Series, where he has three victories and four runner-up finishes in the seven races leading up to Saturday night's race at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. The latest win came at Gateway International Raceway one week after the disappointment at Chicago.

“I need to become a better person in being able to pull our team together and lead these guys and, ultimately, lead them back into the Chase,” Busch said of his Cup effort, “[Chicago] was a bad week, but [we] went on into Gateway and ran solid up there and we won that one. Hopefully, we can get back to some good ways here.”

by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service


Tagged as: Toyota , Kyle Busch , Joe Gibbs

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Kyle Busch - Joe Gibbs Racing   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
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Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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