The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 18, 2013

Kyle Busch on a roll

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Running well cures all driver ailments, so Busch’s mood is obviously considerably better of late. But team owner Joe Gibbs said Busch’s maturity has been better for quite some time.

“I think back to last year at the end of the year, Kyle probably had some of the most bitter disappointments, I think, that’s happened to us in 22 years,” Gibbs said. “We missed the Chase. We had Watkins Glen won, go to the last lap and get in somebody else’s oil. We had some issues mechanically during the year that cost us.

“I think last year at the end of the year, Kyle really handled all of those things about as good as you could handle them. I think it showed real maturity, and I think that kind of set the course for this year.”

So he heads into Kansas with an open mind and last year’s race — when he was leading before he spun on the new track surface — fresh in his memory.

No sophomore slump:With so many questions about a potential “sophomore slump,” Courtney Force couldn’t help but worry about this season.

“It was getting in my head after doing all these interviews, everyone is going, ‘Going into your second year, you think you’re going to have a sophomore slump?”’ she said. “Wait, I didn’t know about that. I hope not.”

So far, so good for Force, who heads into this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord leading the Funny Car standings. She won the season-opener at Pomona and used a runner-up finish two weeks ago in Las Vegas to move to the top of the standings.

“It’s definitely a good feeling to come out and be in the points lead only the fourth race in,” she said. “I’m definitely working twice as hard because I think we’ve got a good team, I think we have a lot of potential.”

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