Crew members of the No. 18 team work on Kyle Busch’s car after a mid-race accident Sunday at Talladega. Via @joegibbsracing/Twitter
A promising 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup came to a crashing halt for Team Interstate’s Kyle Busch Sunday in Talladega.
Kyle and the No. 18 M&M’s/Interstate Batteries team did all they could to avoid the “big one” in the Geico 500 race, riding in the relative safety of the back of the field. On lap 102 of the 500-mile race, Kyle slowed up to avoid a multicar accident ahead of him. Unfortunately, the car of Austin Dillon behind Kyle did not. The result was heavy contact that sent Kyle hard into the inside backstretch SAFER Barrier, causing extensive damage to his Toyota Camry.
Watch the wreck here.
While the team was able to get the car back out to finish the race after extensive repairs in the garage, the 40th-place result was not good enough to make the top-eight in the point standings and advance to the next round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“We were just biding our time the first half of the race,” Kyle said. “The strategy was to hang around the back for a while and stay out of trouble, which we were able to do the first half of the race. We were going to pit there, so I was getting to the bottom to come to pit road the next lap. But a couple of guys got together in front of me, and I got my stuff slowed down, but the No. 3 (Dillon) didn’t look like he checked up at all. He got in the back of me, and we were along for the ride after that. I can’t say enough about how hard the M&M’s team worked to get our car back out there. They’ve done an awesome job the whole Chase. It’s just hard to take getting eliminated like that because of how great of a job the guys did to get us to where we were.”
Crew chief Dave Rogers was proud of his team’s effort in the face of a tough situation not of their own doing.
“My hat’s off to all these guys – everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and everyone at TRD (Toyota Racing Development),” Dave said. “It’s a shame; everyone has been working really hard. I felt like we got off to a slow start early in the season and we were advancing through the playoffs pretty well with hard work and good decisions and good teamwork.
“I can’t praise him (Busch) enough. He’s really stepped up to be a great leader of this race team in the Chase. We’ve had a couple things go against us – getting the nose knocked off at Loudon, today – and Kyle’s done a really good job of biting his lip and just backing the race team to let us do our job. Kyle, I can’t say enough good about him. I’m really proud of him. We can’t win the championship, but we can still advance in points and work our way up to fifth. We’re going to go to Martinsville working hard, and we’re going to try to win all these races.”
Kyle’s Team Interstate companions – Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry – finished second and 18th, respectively. Brad Keselowski won the race.
The eight remaining Chase drivers all had their respective point tallies reset to 4,000 after Talladega. Matt and Denny are joined in the Eliminator Round by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Keselowski.
Baby Busch on the Way
The NASCAR season has its ups and downs, and here’s some happy news for Kyle and his wife, Samantha: They’re expecting! On Saturday, the couple announced that their first child is due next May.
Other Racing Results
Camping World Truck Series – Talladega
- No. 54 – Darrell Wallace Jr – 9th
- No. 35 – Daniel Suarez – 15th
Monster Energy Cup (Motocross)
- No. 23 – Weston Peick – 15th
- No. 51 – Justin Barcia – 9th
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series: Martinsville Speedway