Kyle Busch "flabbergasted" as playoffs end with engine failure

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch has been eliminated from the 2022 playoffs after a disappointing night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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Busch, who recently announced his plans to join Richard Childress Racing in 2023, will not get the opportunity to go for a third NCS title this year.

It was a tumultuous three races for the veteran driver. An engine failure while leading the Southern 500 put him in a hole to start the Round of 16, exacerbated by an incident at Kansas that left him with a 26th-place finish.

In the Bristol elimination race, he started strong, collecting 14 stage points. But abruptly, his hopes of advancement were shattered by yet another engine failure. He immediately exited the race, finishing 34th.

There was a glimmer of hope as an incident soon after collected multiple rivals, but it wasn't enough to save Busch from elimination. In the high-attrition race, cars kept finding trouble, allowing Austin Cindric to gain valuable ground.

The Penske driver was several laps down after an early tire issue under green-flag conditions. Although finishing seven laps down, his 20th place result was enough to advance.  

In the end, Busch missed the Round of 12 by just two points. It's the first time he's exited the playoffs in the first round since this knockout-style format was introduced in 2014.

"It just goes with our year," Busch said afterwards. "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. I really feel bad for all of Rowdy Nation, everybody at M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy, all of the partners that get us going every week. This is not our normal.”

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