Brian Vickers believes he can still be one of the championship contenders for the Sprint Cup title this year.
The 25-year-old, who has yet to renew his contract with Red Bull for next year, is currently 14th in the standings, 96 points short of the Chase.
Vickers has six poles this season but has yet to win a race, his best results being fifth places at Atlanta, Charlotte and Indianapolis. He says mistakes and bad luck have prevented him being higher up in the standings.
"I know we can get in the Chase, but that doesn't mean we will," says Vickers. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us, we can't make any mistakes and we can't afford for anybody around us to make any mistakes. We've made our fair share this year on pit road, or with engines or on the track or whatever. That's the reason we're in the position we're in. I feel like we've run better than 14th in the points, but we've had a lot of things go wrong. A lot of them weren't anyone on our team's fault. We've been taken out of many races through incidents involving other people where they've crashed in front of us, beside us or have collected us."
The former Nationwide champion points at pit stops as being one area where he believes his hopes of a win have been dashed this year, although he admits to seeing progress in recent weeks.
"We've had fast cars," he said. "Unfortunately, I know the guys are working really hard and they've gotten a lot better, but one area that has hurt us a lot this year is pit stops. There's been a lot of races that we've been leading or contending for the win at the very end of the race, and come in the pits and then lost seven spots.
"That's difficult and it's a challenge. I'm not trying to beat up on those guys because they work hard and I know they're giving 100 percent and they've gotten a lot better. The facts are the facts."
The Red Bull driver has been on pole for the past two races at Michigan and he will start from the top spot again on Sunday. Despite that, he doesn't see this race as one that could be make or break for his Chase hopes.
"We know this is a good track for us and we want to capitalise on that," Vickers said. "We've got several other good tracks for us. Bristol is not one of my best tracks, but I have run well there.
"Atlanta has been a great track for us. Richmond has been a good track for us as well -- I've sat on two poles there and run really well there also. If we don't have a good day on Sunday, it doesn't mean we're out of it. We've still got three more opportunities."