Kyle Busch has had an excellent first season with Richard Childress Racing after moving to the organization from Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch scored three wins in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, and has been a fixture in the Playoffs, as he advanced to the Round of 12 from the Round of 16.
However, Busch’s championship quest hit a snag in Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.
On Lap 74, Busch lost control of his No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 after several laps of complaining about a potential problem with his right rear tire. The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion backed his car hard into the outside wall and was done for the day.
Busch was left shaking his head after the race-ending crash.
“Everything was really good. And then we had those couple of restarts. I restarted on the top of that last one, and I felt like I had a flat right front. I was going to come to pit road, and then I second-guessed it because I was like, ‘You know, it just doesn’t feel like a flat right-front.’ Just debris on it, but it was shaking and vibrating. I just went back to the bottom of the racetrack to mind my business on the bottom, and it just swapped ends with the back of the car. I have no idea. I’m at a loss for words. I don’t get it,” Busch said.
Busch has had issues with losing control of his car in practice and qualifying so far in the Playoffs, which led to him starting in the rear of the field at Darlington and Kansas. But until Texas, Busch had avoided the issues in actual race action in the Playoffs.
After his crash in Texas, Busch explained that he feels like he’s trying too hard, which is putting his team in trouble.
“I’m a complete letdown to my team right now,” Busch stated after exiting the infield care center. “Not being able to get the results we need. Every time I try, I crash. It’s like the less I try, the more I ride around, the better day we have.”
Following the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas, Busch sits in the unenviable final position on the Playoff Grid, and he sits 16 points behind the cutline.
There is hope for Busch, as he heads to the site of one of his three victories this season — Talladega Superspeedway. But Busch is tempering the hope as Talladega is the ultimate wild card, where trouble lurks around every corner.
“Not very good,” Busch said of his chances heading into Talladega. “But we’re going to go there and fight as hard as we can, and run hard. RCR has had a strong restrictor plate program, so, that’s all we can do.”
It’s understandable why Busch is less than optimistic about his chances at avoiding trouble at Talladega. The odds of pulling off two wins in a row at Talladega could be equal to the odds of winning the Powerball Lottery. In his last eight starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in Alabama, Busch has just two top-10 finishes.
However, if he can avoid the calamity, he has as good of a chance as anybody at walking out of Talladega with a win. Because as Busch said, RCR has had potent cars at the superspeedways this season.