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Kyle Busch building on Chase runs?

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Nov. 04, 2012

FORT WORTH, Texas – For the purposes of earning his first Sprint Cup Series title, it's too little, too late.

However, Kyle Busch's strong run during this season's Chase could perhaps bode well.

Busch was part of a three-man battle for the win in Sunday's AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Eventually, Johnson came out on top and remains in prime position to win a sixth Cup championship.

Busch finished third, but his performance through the 10 races that make up the Chase this season ranks among his best since joining the Cup series fulltime.

While Busch did not qualify for the Chase this year, he has earned the fifth-most points of all drivers through the first eight races of the Chase. Because of the structure of the Chase, Busch can get no higher than 13th in the final series standings.

“Those guys up there, they are battling and they are battling hard,” Busch said of Johnson and Keselowski. “That's what they've got to do, If you're going to win a championship in the Cup Series, that's what you're going to have to make of it.”

Several times this season Busch and his No. 18 Toyota team have bean snake-bitten – including a stretch of three consecutive races with engine issues – but not on Sunday.

“I can't say enough about my team. We had flawless pit stops that kept us up front all night and got us the lead a couple of times,” he said. “We were fast when we were up front.”

Does Busch believe his run in the Chase forecasts success?

“As far as 2013 goes, we just continue to evolve and continue to try to get better and strive at what we need to so we can make the Chase next year,” he said.

“We want to contend for the championship just like (Keselowski) and (Johnson) are doing this year.”

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