WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) - Kurt Busch has been there before, and he wants to get there again.
With four races left until the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins, the former Sprint Cup champion and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet are in the hunt.
Busch qualified 13th and finished ninth on Sunday in the Cheez-It 355 on the road course at Watkins Glen International.
That moved Kurt into 11th place in the Cup standings, just two points behind Martin Truex Jr. and four behind Greg Biffle in ninth.
"It wasn't one of my best efforts," said Busch, one of six teams to test at Watkins Glen two weeks ago. "I felt like I was just off rhythm, but the team did their job and we had great execution on pit strategy. We were able to gain some track position then."
Busch ran in the top 10 for most of the 90-lap race around the 2.45-mile layout and was fifth with 13 laps remaining before falling back on a series of late restarts in the closing laps.
"Everybody, it seems, likes it fast," Busch said. "There was a group of us through the top 10 that broke away most of the day. We were right on the tail end of that group. I got up as high as fifth and I just couldn't clear (Clint) Bowyer. I think if I could have, I would have hung on to a top five, but we just got outmuscled at the end.
"I wasn't quite on my "A" game today," said Busch.
The 2004 Cup champion has been most of the season. In the previous six races, Busch had finishes of third, fourth, and a pair of sixth places and has 10 top 10s through 22 races. If he makes NASCAR's version of the postseason, Busch would be the first driver from a single-car team to qualify for the Chase.
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