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Now or Never: Kyle Busch Needs Strong Finish To Contend for Title

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One glance at Kyle Busch and he looks like your typical 26-year-old who's got a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and ambition with his livelihood - in his case, it's with stock car racing.

OK, so he's not your average mid-twenties Las Vegas native who might be performing at a casino or playing high stakes poker, but driving the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry from Joe Gibbs Racing's stable isn't exactly a Saturday night drive in the Carolinas.

Instead, he's got a fiery attitude that's similar to some of the sport's legends like Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Rusty Wallace, racers who never settled for anything less than a checkered flag. 

Sometimes, it's cost him races and shots at the title, such as the case in 2009, when he missed that season's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship field. Despite winning four races that year, his aggression often got the best of him rather than aiding him to top-five finishes by day's end.

To say the least, he's learning how to channel and tone his hard driving with a touch of patience, propelling him to Chase berths last year, as he placed eighth in the final tally. That same driving has landed him into the title hunt this season, where he again finds himself sitting eighth in the points standings heading into Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Concord, NC.

An eighth-place points spot isn't exactly the most glamorous of positions, as he has many racers to try to pass in the next six races. However, he has the comfort of knowing he sits just twenty points behind points leader Carl Edwards, a doable margin with the first half of the Chase schedule nearly completed.

Busch understands that consistency is the key for him to even have a shot at this year's title, especially coming at a track that he has yet to win a Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"It's just a matter of running as best you can, you know," Busch said per his press release, republished on Motorsport.com. Referring to his up-and-down performances thus far in the Chase, Busch said, "When you run fifth to 10th all day at Chicago, you know you're running well. You were competitive.

"But finishing 22nd, that hurt. That stung a little bit. We sort of felt the same way at Kansas last week."

Last Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway was somewhat disappointing, as he finished 11th despite having a car that was capable of nabbing a top-five or top-10 finish. A finish like that would be somewhat tolerable during the "regular season," but during the Chase, there's absolutely little to no margin for error to contend for the championship.

Of course, Busch realizes that he and his team, led by crew chief Wally Rogers, must step up their game for the rest of the season, which definitely includes going for a win at Charlotte.

"Winning at Charlotte, since it is my favorite track, would be really special since I've been able to win there in other series and have been close a lot in the Cup car," Busch said.

Close would be a pretty choice word for Busch, leading 217 of 334 laps before he placed runner-up in the fall race last year to winner Jamie McMurray.

A win on Saturday night would not only come at such a pivotal time, but it'd certainly mean for a "rowdy" celebration in Victory Lane for what might be the next episode of "The Kyle Busch Show."

Whether he leads the most laps or not, what will only matter to Busch and his No. 18 team is a victory at a track that's truly their hometown in the comforts of the Charlotte, NC area.

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