By David Morgan, Associate Editor
For the 16 drivers battling it out in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the pressure is already immense. Add in a tough Playoff opener in Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington and that pressure has the tendency to boil over.
For Kyle Busch, that came just 10 laps into Stage 2 when contact between him and Austin Dillon in Turn 2 sent Busch’s car for a four-wheel slide into the outside wall, causing heavy damage to his No. 18 Camry.
The damage was too much for the team to attempt to fix and Busch took his car straight to the garage, bringing his day to an end before the race even reached the halfway mark.
On his way to the garage, Busch came into the pit road opening at a high rate of speed, running over a number of cones on his way in and causing fans and others to have to scatter to avoid being hit by his damaged machine.
After taking the mandatory ride to get checked out at the Infield Care Center, Busch noted that the accident wasn’t the fault of the contact between him and Dillon’s No. 3 car. Instead, he laid the blame at the feet of his team and the simulations they run to perfect the setup on his car, which he said was not up to snuff on Sunday night.
“We’ll just take our lumps,” Busch said. “We were running like shit and got wrecked. That’s what you get when you run like shit. We shouldn’t be there. I don’t know what our problem is.
“Every time we go to sim and use sim and think we have a good sim session; we go to the racetrack and we suck. So, I’m done with that. We’ll have to use some other tools on figuring out how to be good. The M&M’s Camry was not very good and were running terrible and we got wrecked. It wasn’t the [No.] 3’s fault.”
Busch will finish the night in 35th place and will no doubt tumble down the standings heading to Richmond and Bristol to complete the first round of the Playoffs.
Despite his previous success at those two tracks, Busch was in no mood to look ahead to what may come in the next two weeks.
“Who cares? We get what we get,” Busch said.