DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — If it isn’t one thing, it seems to be another for Kurt Busch at restrictor-plate tracks.
Saturday night he was racing for second when he spun on the last lap after contact from Joey Logano. Busch finished 23rd.
“One day the chips are going to fall in my direction, there’s no way it can’t,’’ Busch said afterward. “It’s almost two rotations around a roulette wheel on how many times we’ve been here and haven’t won. We’ll keep trying.’’
It’s not like he hasn’t been close. He has 10 top-three finishes in 62 career Sprint Cup restrictor-plate starts (16.1 percent).
Saturday night’s race at Daytona only added to the litany of close calls that have kept the former series champion winless in his career in Cup points races at Daytona and Talladega.
Among those races:
— He briefly led with less than two laps left at Talladega in May but watched the outside line motor by. Busch finished eighth.
— He led a race-high 95 laps in the 2007 Daytona 500 before a wreck with Tony Stewart. Busch finished 41st.
— Three times he’s finished second in the Daytona 500, including 2008 when he pushed then-teammate Ryan Newman to the win.
Only Ken Schrader has led more laps (298) than Busch (290) in Sprint Cup races at Daytona without winning a points race there.
The most notable winless driver in a restrictor-plate points race is Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace. He was winless in 72 career starts at Daytona and Talladega after restrictor plates debuted in 1988 (Wallace was 0-for-90 in his career in all starts at those tracks).
That wasn’t the only streak that continued Saturday night for Busch. He did complete the last lap and remains the only driver this season to run all 4,935 laps run this year.
His car’s consistency and speed this season put him in position to be the points leader Saturday after teammate Kevin Harvick finished 39th because of a crash. Busch lost that opportunity with the last-lap incident.
“It’s just a feather in the cap,’’ Busch said of what it would have meant to have taken the points lead. “There are more important things to do. Winning a plate race is one them.’’
Although two of Brad Keselowski’s three wins this season have come at restrictor-plate tracks, he says he feels good about where his team is heading toward the playoffs.
The question is why should he with only one restrictor-plate track in the Chase?
“We’ve had a lot of consistency the last few weeks,’’ said Keselowski, who has seven top-10 finishes in the last eight races. “There’s been some races that haven’t quite been as strong, as well, in fairness, but even the races where we’re not quite as strong, we seem to be right there in that fifth‑ to 10th‑place range, which is a lot of what the Chase is.
“A lot of what the Chase is go run fifth to 10th every week and you’ll find yourself at Homestead, and then you’ve got to go win Homestead. Good consistency is a great trademark of a championship‑winning team, and I feel that out of my team right now.’’
— Roush Fenway Racing placed all three of its drivers in the top 10 with Trevor Bayne third, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fifth and Greg Biffle eighth. It marked the first time Roush Fenway Racing has had three cars finish in the top 10 since Bristol in August 2014.
— Kyle Busch finished second on Saturday night. He’s placed in the top three in each of the restrictor-plate races this season. He was third in the Daytona 500 and second at Talladega in May.
— Austin Dillon finished seventh Saturday night. He’s placed in the top 10 in each of the first three restrictor-plate races. He was ninth in the Daytona 500 and third at Talladega in May.
— Trevor Bayne’s third-place finish was his best result since he won the 2011 Daytona 500.
— Michael McDowell finished 10th Saturday. It marked his third career top-10 finish. All three have been at Daytona. He finished a career-high seventh in the 2014 Daytona 500 and placed ninth in the 2013 Daytona 500.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 13th in the points standings. It is the lowest in the points he’s been at this time of the season since 2010 when he was 13th.
— Restrictor-plate races have not been kind to Chris Buescher this season. He has failed to finish all three this year because of an accident, including his tumble down the backstretch at Talladega in May. His finishes are 39th in the Daytona 500, 37th at Talladega in May and 40th on Saturday at Daytona.