Kyle Busch made a concession for this year's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.
He decided to hop out of his Nationwide and Truck series cars and focus on the Chase.
He loves three-race weekends, so his decision said a lot about how much it meant to him -- seeded first when the Chase began -- to go for the Sprint Cup championship.
But it didn't deliver results.
Never miss a local story.
Busch is seventh in the Chase standings as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway this week, and it's back to business as usual for the Las Vegas driver.
He's going to run in all three races -- the Camping World Truck Series race Friday night (in which he's the two-time defending champion), the Nationwide Series race Saturday (which he has won five of the past seven times) and the Sprint Cup race Sunday (which he has never won at TMS).
The way he figures it, racing will be better than sitting.
"I think racing on Friday and Saturday helps me in a lot of ways," he said in remarks distributed by his public relations team. "The momentum of winning a Truck or Nationwide race certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to the Cup race. But also, even bigger than that, is that I feel like I learn so much from those races that I can apply to Sunday. If I'm running all three, by the time Sunday rolls around, I've already been on pit road almost a dozen times, and I also have learned what lines are working and also how the track reacts to changes. And we can apply those to the Cup car."
Since the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup "playoff" started seven weeks ago in Chicago, Busch has skipped the companion Nationwide starts in Chicago, Dover and Kansas. He ran the Nationwide/Cup double two weeks ago in Charlotte and got a second-place finish in both races.
He ran the companion Truck Series races at Chicago, New Hampshire and Talladega, getting top-10s in all three, including a win at New Hampshire. But in the Cup races, he was outside the top-10 in all three.
"We've scaled back on some Nationwide and Truck races during the Chase, and it really hasn't made much of a difference in our Sunday results," he said. "So I'm looking forward to getting back out there this weekend and racing as much as I can, since that's what I love to do the most."
Busch's 27th-place finish at Martinsville last week dropped him out of realistic contention in the Chase, but it hasn't dampened his enthusiasm for racing.
"I haven't seen people bow their heads. I haven't seen people complaining. I haven't seen Kyle get frustrated," Busch's Cup crew chief, Dave Rogers said. "We just go to the race track and work as hard as we can.... You get adversity, you handle it, and it makes you stronger. I think if we can make the progress this winter that we made last winter, we're going to be pretty strong next year."
It's not a tough call to run all three races at TMS for Busch.
He wins a lot of Nationwide and Truck trophies at Texas. He won five consecutive Nationwide races on the TMS mile-and-a-half from April 2008 to April 2010. (And he was second in the races before and after that stretch).
In the Truck Series, he has been first, second or third in all but one of his previous seven starts at TMS.
"I had some wild races there early on in my career, and it wasn't one of my favorite places, for whatever reason," Busch said. "Things have gone well recently. Obviously, the Nationwide Series wins the last several years, and getting the win in the Truck Series the last couple of years have been real confidence-boosters there. I have sort of learned how to drive it a little bit better, and I know what I need in my race car to make it easier."
The Cup races at Texas have been trickier for Busch.
He finished third and sixth in the '08 races. He was third in the April race a year ago.
But last April, he was 16th. And last November, he was 32nd.
"The cars that JGR has given me since I joined the team [in 2008] have also been a confidence-booster there," Busch said. "We had a dominant car there in Dave's first race with this team a couple of years ago, and we just came up short on fuel.
"I can't seem to get that win in Cup that's eluded me, even though we've been close. So, hopefully, that's something we can change this weekend and finally we can get our M&M's Camry to Victory Lane at Texas."