NASCAR Cup

"Pretty dismal day" leaves Kyle Busch in precarious playoff spot

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It was just a week ago Kyle Busch predicted he would be eliminated in the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and he remains on schedule.

#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's, #22: Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Pennzoil
#4: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Mobil 1 #18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's #9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Unifirst #10: Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang HighPoint.com #22: Joey Logano, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Pennzoil
#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's pit stop
#11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Office, #18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's

Following an up-and-down night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Busch managed to salvage a pretty good finish – sixth.

However, with his older brother, Kurt – who entered the race last in points among the 12 playoff drivers – winning the race – even a sixth leaves Kyle Busch as one of the four drivers below the cutoff line to advance to the semifinal round.

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Nine points out

Busch is nine points below the cutoff heading into next weekend’s race at Talladega, Ala. The final race of the round is the following week at the Charlotte Roval.

“Started a little up, went a little down and finished just kind of mediocre there. We brought an okay (car). Just didn’t seem to have the overall speed that it needed, especially on the long runs early in the race,” Busch said.

“Then there late, just no overall speed. Nothing to go blitz anybody and try to make moves and get to the front. We just salvaged along and got what we got. We got lucky to get what we got for sure.

“It was looking like it was going to be a 12th or 14th place day but came home sixth.”

Busch’s race was hampered early when he made contact with Joey Logano on Lap 88 of 268 as Denny Hamlin took them both three-wide while making a pass.

Logano suffered a tire rub and was forced to pit under green while Busch continued on but said he lost some speed in his No. 18 Toyota.

During a green-flag pit stop later in the race, Busch had a prolonged stop on pit road due to a malfunctioning air gun.

“We worked on it and I thought we were making some gains on it and then we got that damage and got way back in traffic,” Busch said. “Then there towards the end, was just able to get lucky on a couple of the last restarts in order to pick off a few spots.

“It was a pretty dismal day I guess.”

Busch, the reigning series champion, is still looking for his first win of the 2020 season. His lack of victories and playoff points has contributed to his low position in the standings.

Since the playoffs began Busch has actually been quite consistent, not finishing worse than seventh in the first four races.

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Las Vegas II
Drivers Kyle Busch
Author Jim Utter