Can Kurt Busch convert pole to win? Or is this Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s day?
Probably, but his last two attempts to win from the pole have come up short, with finishes of 2nd and 9th the past two weeks.
The Penske horsepower will have to be in full effect today if Busch hopes to beat the Ford brigade, which is looking very strong and coming off a Carl Edwards-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1-2 finish in the Nationwide race Saturday.
My pick to win – Matt Kenseth, who will have a powerful FR9 engine under the hood of his Roush machine and usually runs very well at Michigan.
Is this Jr.’s day?
Three years is a long time for a driver like Dale Jr. – who was used to winning – to not win a race, especially considering he is driving top shelf Hendrick equipment.
Still, he said he doesn’t worry about it – which is probably the best attitude when you are knocking on the door of a win like he has been recently.
“I don’t dwell on it at all really. I can’t do nothing about not winning races other than just going out every week and trying to run hard and trying to do the best you can and I was a long ways – I felt like that I wasn’t – I felt like that last year and the year before that, I wasn’t competitive enough to even worry about it. I was more concerned about trying to get right and trying to get better and trying to be more competitive even. Wasn’t even thinking about winning races. We were struggling so bad that we had so much other things to worry about.,” Jr. said. “Now this year we’re running good and I can think about wins, I can think about opportunities and missed opportunities that we’ve had a little bit more. They don’t bother me and it doesn’t upset me. I’m excited that somebody was asking me if I was upset that I hadn’t won, but I’m thrilled to be having such a good year that it’s hard to be upset. It would be nice to win a race, but I don’t know who to thank or tell me who to thank for what’s happening to me this year because I’m appreciative as hell to have this opportunity and to be running as well as I am.”
Losing streaks can be broken – drivers such as Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon have broken long streaks in recent years.
Harvick said he knows what Jr. is going through.
“I think when you’re running as good as those guys are running, I think you start to get a little bit antsy because you know that the win is right around the corner. You just want it to go away, honestly. And even though your car is running good every week, there is still something to be said about putting all that talk to bed because you just get tired of talking about it. And you get frustrated with not being able to just get it over with. But when you’re running that good, it gives you a lot of confidence in knowing that you’re competitive and then you can put it all into perspective. 2009 was a terrible year for us. I know he’s been through a year or two of stuff that wasn’t that much fun. So you can kind of balance the not-winning part of it when you’re running good with the running good part of it just for the fact that you’re competitive week-in and week-out and you’re in position to win races. And when you’re not in position to win and you don’t have a chance to do anything right and you’re tearing stuff up and you’re running in the middle of the pack, it’s just miserable. So you can balance the not-winning part of it somewhat, with being competitive every week.”
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