Kurt Busch called the first round of the playoffs a “nightmare” for his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team after they were eliminated from championship contention following the Charlotte Roval.
“Our playoffs were a nightmare,” Busch said. “We didn’t execute, and we didn’t have lap time, and we got to regroup in this [next] seven races to make something better out of our season. That was a nightmare for three races.”
Busch finished no higher than 18th in the first round, and he had been below the cutline from the Race #1 in Las Vegas when he blew a tire and crashed. Richmond brought the aforementioned 18th before coming to the Charlotte Roval and putting in a 23rd-place qualifying effort that was backed with a finish of 20th. Ultimately, he never had the speed to contend.
The day went further downhill when Busch was involved in a Lap 24 accident. Off a restart and going into Turn 1 it appeared Busch got into the back of Chris Buescher, who was sent into the back of Jimmie Johnson. The chain reaction caused a six-car accident and resulted in damage to Busch’s Chevrolet.
But Busch said even without the damage he didn’t have anything to run up front.
“Just didn’t have the speed,” he said. “It was crazy.”
Seeded eighth coming into the postseason, Busch had spoken with optimism going into the first race at Las Vegas. Having joined CGR this offseason, Busch and his team, led by crew chief Matt McCall, gelled early in the season and contending for victories although it would take until July to break through.
In the end, the 2004 Cup Series champion wound up 30 points below the transfer spot.
“We’re out, but we can still try to salvage something overall,” Busch. “We were a top 10 team all year; wheels came off it here. It was a nightmare.”