After a tumultuous race at Bristol Motor Speedway, four contenders were eliminated from the Cup Series Playoffs.
Kyle Busch was -2 points after last week’s race at Kansas Speedway but had gained 14 points after Stage 2 of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway and was above the cutline.
But on Lap 269 his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota engine blew. It was the second engine failure he’s experienced during the Round of 16, the first coming at Darlington Raceway two weeks ago.
His frustration was obvious in his comments.
“It just goes with our year,” a disappointed Busch said. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m flabbergasted. I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot. They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low, down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through. Two engine failures in three weeks; that will do it to you.”
With Busch’s early exit from the race, he finished two points below the cutline making him ineligible to contend for the 2022 Cup Series championship title.
Kevin Harvick needed to win at Bristol to advance to the next round of the Playoffs. But, after running in the top-five for much of the race in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, a lengthy pit stop late in the race led to a missed opportunity.
“It was pretty tough,” a disappointed Harvick said. “We pitted in front of the 17 (Buescher), so just kind of the way the year has gone. Just went from having a chance to lead the parade to being a part of the parade, just difficult to pass.”
Richard Childress Racing teammates Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon saw their playoff hopes come to an early end after damage resulting from an accident on Lap 278.
Reddick, who finished 25th, said he saw the accident happening but could not avoid it.
“I saw the crash happen. I checked up, but I just got run over. We had two bad races with bad finishes. We had two really good race cars, but we just didn’t capitalize on it and that was enough to miss it.”
Dillon finished 31st, and commented, “I was just told the No. 99 (Daniel Suarez) wrecked in front of the field there and got in the No. 47 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.). I hate it for the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/ TRACKER Off Road Chevy team. We got left-front suspension damage and if we don’t get that, we’re out there running and probably in a good points position to make it.
“It’s unfortunate, but we put ourselves in a little bit of a bind, points-wise, in the first two races. We were doing our job today though. We had a great race car and got stage points. It’s just unfortunate we were caught up in it.”
The Playoffs Round of 12 begins on Sept. 25 at Texas Motor Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the USA Network with radio coverage on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Playoffs – Round of 12
1) Chase Elliott – 3040
2) Joey Logano – 3025
3) Ross Chastain – 3020
4) Kyle Larson – 3019
5) William Byron – 3015
6) Denny Hamlin – 3013
7) Christopher Bell – 3013
8) Ryan Blaney – 3013
9) Chase Briscoe – 3009
10) Alex Bowman – 3007
11) Daniel Suarez – 3007
12) Austin Cindric – 3006