Kyle Busch puts swift end to two-week slump, locks up top spot in Chase
See what happens when Kyle Busch gets backed into a corner? He digs in his heels, wins another race -- his eighth this season -- and locks up the top spot in the Chase, writes Terry Blount.
Updated: August 13, 2008, 10:38 PM ETBy Terry Blount | ESPN.com
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Pressure? What pressure?The brief summer swoon is over for Kyle Busch. Give him a decent car and a little motivation and he's going to show everyone that talk of his possible demise is a laughable suggestion.Busch clinched the top spot in the Chase (assuming he makes the playoff -- duh, as he would say) by earning his eighth victory of the season Sunday in the Centurion Boats at The Glen.He sent a message to his doubters that he isn't folding when the heat is on. After disappointing results at Indianapolis and Pocono, Busch listened to some of his rivals dismiss his chances of staying on top and winning the title this season.On Friday, Jeff Gordon listed Busch third on his list of favorites to win the 2008 championship, saying Busch was "showing some vulnerability." Last week, Jimmie Johnson questioned whether Busch had the experience to handle the stress of the Chase."It's head games," Busch said. "And we're playing it. Those statements are going to be made, but you can't concentrate on that. You have to concentrate on your effort. We just race our race and make our car the fastest we can make it."Busch has won four of the past seven Cup races. Some slump. He also is the first man in history to win three NASCAR road-course events in the same season -- both Cup events and the Nationwide race at Mexico City.He almost made it four wins, finishing second to Marcos Ambrose in the Nationwide race at The Glen on Saturday.On Sunday, Busch beat the man who was named the Racer of the Decade at Watkins Glen just two days earlier. Tony Stewart, Busch's teammate, had won four of the previous six Cup races at The Glen. But he finished second to Busch this time.It didn't surprise Stewart, who believes Busch can handle whatever pressure his opponents try to toss at him."I actually think he thrives on the pressure," Stewart said. "I think he feeds off it and uses it to his advantage. He's not the type of guy to let it bother him. And right now, I don't think anything is going to affect him with the season he's having. He has a huge amount of momentum."Busch has a 242-point lead with four races to go before the 10-race Chase begins. Many of the other contenders were struggling Sunday, including Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
We had a couple of bad weeks, but now we need to keep riding high. It's great to be on top.
-- Kyle Busch
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