Kyle Busch knocked out of NASCAR playoffs in "terrible year"

Kyle Busch tried to stay in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff fight as long as possible Sunday, but the result was an all-too familiar one this season.

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Busch, the reigning series champion, needed a win at the Charlotte Roval for all intents and purposes to advance to the Round of 8 in the playoffs.

He and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team tried different pit strategies, he drove from the back to the front and even took the lead at one point late in the race.

But Busch was eventually passed by teammate Erik Jones on Lap 91 of 109 and was then forced to pit under green with three laps remaining when he ran out of fuel.

He ended up with a 30th-place finish.

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“It’s just been the year,” Busch said. “Nothing has played out and been on our side. It’s just been unfortunate circumstances, a lot of bad luck. These guys on this team never give up and they fight all year long, every race and every lap.

“A terrible year for me. As other sports greats could say there are many other drivers that would love to have a year that we’re having.

“But man, it’s just frustrating to know how good we are and what we’re capable of and being champions from last year to not come out here and succeed and be able to win.”

Joining Busch in being eliminated from further playoff contention were Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola.

Busch remains winless on the 2020 season and has also been hoping to extend his streak of 15 consecutive seasons with at least one victory.

“Certainly it would be nice to do more, and to have a win for this year would be the only consolation prize for the way this year has gone,” he said.

“But do we even have a shot to win? I don’t think we have a shot.”

Asked if there is anything that needs to change for the No. 18 team or about things they’re not doing better, Busch said: “All of those things have certainly been discussed. I’m sure we’ll keep discussing them.”

Busch becomes the first defending champion not to advance to the Round of 8 since the current elimination format of the playoffs started in 2014.

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