Accident ends day early for Busch, hindering playoff advancement

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

After a gruesome start to the NASCAR Playoffs, Kurt Busch has to approach Dover International Speedway next weekend with an all-in mentality if he wants to advance to the next round.

Busch was not running where he would have liked in the first two stages of the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Busch was hoping to nurse his way to the end of the second stage in an effort to adjust an ill-handling car. However, on the final lap of the second stage, calamity broke loose on the backstretch as his teammate, Kevin Harvick spun coming off of turn two. Because of the smoke deteriorating vision, eight cars were involved in the accident, including Busch. Busch was at a loss for words after he was released from the infield care center.

“We were just trying to limp it to the end of stage two and I heard, ‘Car spinning off of two’ in my ear.  I saw smoke up ahead.  A lot of times they’ll come back up, and I tried to leave the high side or the low side and then, boom, as soon as the smoke cleared I’m looking at Harvick’s door, my teammate.”

Busch and his No. 41 Monster Energy team were hoping to overcome handling issues, but the wreck put a halt on their plans. After a 19th place finish at Chicagoland, Busch was hoping for a better run to put them ahead in the playoff standings.

“It’s a shame that the handling is off and we’re both running where we were, but we were still going to fight all the way to the end, but now we don’t have a chance.  I cannot understand the bad luck that we’re having.”

Going into Dover, it is an “all-in” mentality for Busch and his team as they try to move into a position to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

“It’s all-in.  We’ll go there with everything we’ve got like we have been.  We’ve got to find the setup that will make that car cut, that will make it go through the center of the corner and carry that speed on exit and give it our best.”

With his 37th place finish at New Hampshire,  Busch sits 15th in the playoff standings, 17 points behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who sits in the final transfer spot going into Dover.

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