Entering Charlotte Motor Speedway as one of the favorites to move on in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the path forward for Kyle Busch isn’t looking quite as certain after several encounters with the wall that left him with a 29th place finish and took a big bite out of his points advantage over the cut-off line.
“It stinks to give up points,” said Busch. “We came in here and thought we had a good shot to run in the top-10 and we did. I threw it away. We’re still above the cut line, but we don’t have that cushion that you’d like to have.”
“Obviously it was my bad, just trying to get a little too much, too early in the race and got out too high out of the groove and got myself in the fence and just tore the right side off of it. My guys did a good job trying to rebound and get it back together as much as we could throughout the day. Man, it was evil out there for the rest of the day just trying to make laps and trying to stay with a relative pace to the rest of the field. We were just kind of hanging on with our Interstate Batteries Camry. After I first tore it up, it was a handful from there on out.”
Busch would start the day in fourth place and led 22 laps, finishing the first stage in fifth place, but at lap 137 things started to go awry for the No. 18 team after contact with the Turn 3 wall caused major damage to the right-rear of his car and forced him to pit road for repairs.
After that incident, the rest of the race just wasn’t the same for Busch as he was just trying to limp home, but still found the wall twice more on lap 280 and 327 to damage the car even further.
In the end, Busch would be six laps down to the leaders at the finish, but the turmoil wasn’t quite over for the 2015 Cup Series champion as his damaged Toyota had led to heat exhaustion and carbon monoxide issues in the cockpit. Once he made it to pit road after the race, Busch exited his car and immediately went and laid down on the infield turf before being attended to by the track’s medical staff.
Busch would be taken to the Infield Care Center, where he was eventually checked and released 45 minutes later after getting fluids and his body cooled back down to normal.
“I’m alright. I’m better now,” Busch said after being released. “I got heat soaked and felt like I had heat stroke just from being inside the race car for 200 laps with the crush panels knocked out of it…Literally, as soon as I did it, just coasting around under caution, you could feel it being about 50 degrees hotter inside the car. It just got so hot that it literally felt like you were going to puke and just trying to make it to the end of the race. Luckily, we did and from there it was just trying to get cooled back down and body temperature back to normal.”
“They said my CO was in the double digits, so I was fighting some of that as well too. Overall, that was just the hottest I’ve been in the car. I didn’t feel sick from the CO or anything like that, but just felt heat stroke and I’ve had that happen before.”
With his issues on Sunday, Busch now has just 12 points over the final cut-off spot heading to second race in the Round of 12 at the always unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway next Sunday afternoon.