Kyle Busch’s zero-for-Charlotte streak continued Sunday, and his 29th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 didn’t come without drama or a brief health scare.
Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Cup champion whose hall-of-fame worthy career has yet to include a victory in a points race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, fell short again Sunday. He dropped from second to sixth in the playoff points standings, 12 points above the eight-driver cutline with races at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway remaining in the second round.
Things turned sour for Busch when his No. 18 Toyota, running second at the time, slapped the wall on Lap 136. His right rear quarter panel suffered damage, and it took a while for crew members to bang it back into shape.
After Busch left the pits, he suggested over the radio some possible fixes to the car to crew chief Adam Stevens.
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“Focus on driving that thing,” Stevens replied. “We’ll focus on fixing it.”
Busch responded: “I’m just trying to help go forward. Want to go backward? I can make sure of that.”
As the race wore on and Busch fell behind as many as six laps, he started to feel the effects of a hot and humid day.
When the race ended, Busch climbed out of his car and lay down on the artificial turf that separates pit road and the front stretch. Emergency workers surrounded him, placing ice packs on his chest and his forehead.
After several minutes, a smiling – and possibly slightly embarrassed – Busch stood up and climbed into an ambulance that carried him to the infield care center.
“I think he’s fine,” said Joe Gibbs, Busch’s team owner. “He was really hot. He said that at the end of the race he’d need help. When he stood up, he said he felt OK.”
What’s not OK is Busch’s continuing frustrations at Charlotte, where he has now not won in 28 career starts in points races (he did win the all-star race in May). Charlotte is the only track on the Cup circuit where he hasn’t won.
“So far he hasn’t (had good luck at Charlotte),” Gibbs said. “We hope to climb out of that hole some day.”
David Scott: @davidscott14