Kyle Busch misses Championship 4 spot despite Martinsville runner-up

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Kyle Busch misses Championship 4 spot despite Martinsville runner-up

NASCAR

Kyle Busch misses Championship 4 spot despite Martinsville runner-up

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Kyle Busch was left frustrated and confused about what Brad Keselowski was trying to do on the final lap in their battle for second place at Martinsville Speedway.

“He drills my ass coming out of (Turn) 4 for no reason,” Busch said. “Where was he going? What was he going to do, spin me out? He was trying to do a [Kevin] Harvick is what he was trying to do. For what? For second place? To do what? He wasn’t going to transfer through with that.

“Just fricking r*******, man. So stupid. I don’t understand these guys. I should beat the s*** out of him right now is what I should do. But that doesn’t do me any good either.”

Why not?

“I’ve already had to pay enough fines in my lifetime,” said Busch. “I’m sure I’ll get another one.”

While Busch took the runner-up result in the Xfinity 500, it was not good enough for him to advance to the Championship. Busch missed the final transfer spot, which went to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. by three points.

The fight for the spot came down to Truex, Busch, and Keselowski. All three were able to advance on points going into the day, and all three were left fighting for every spot and every point down until the finish that occurred in overtime.

Busch restarted second on the outside of the front row. Keselowski lined up third, directly behind leader Alex Bowman on the inside lane.

“On that last restart, I just tried to get a good one, and I felt like I got a decent one,” Busch said. “Bowman missed a shift, and I was to his outside, and where I lifted for the corner, he went two car lengths deeper and just washed up. He was going to hit me regardless, so it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t there.

“I knew if I could keep him pinned a little bit as best I could in (Turns) 1 and 2, I’d have a shot, but I wasn’t even there. I didn’t have the tires nor the car to get myself back to him, get close enough to him. Just kind of anticlimactic, I guess.”

Contact between Busch and Keselowski in the final corner wasn’t the start and end of their incident. Once the race was over, Busch hooked a left going into Turn 1, colliding with Keselowski and ending up sideways across the curb.

Keselowski said he did not know what Busch was thinking at that moment.

“I don’t know if he’s mad at himself (or) mad at me,” Keselowski said. “I don’t sweat that.”

The two former Cup Series champions had not had any recent run-ins with each other. Although Busch said, it’s because neither one has been good enough to race hard enough for wins.

“I raced Brad fantastic all day,” Busch said. “I held him up more than any other driver out there the entire race. I was on the outside, my car was better on the outside today, and he couldn’t make it by me, and he ran me relatively clean. Once he got enough alongside me, he kind of washed out and moved me up a little bit, which is fine, I get it. And then coming to the checkered, just that dumb s***. That right there is going to make me race him differently even though he had all the coins in the bucket the whole day, just emptied it out there at the end.”

Martinsville was Busch’s best finish in the Round of 8 and his only top-five result. After winning the series title in 2019, it is the second straight year he fails to advance to the title race.

“Oh, we ran like dog s*** last week and this week,” Busch said. “We had a Hail Mary opportunity there at the end, and we were trying to make something out of nothing. Great effort, we did everything we could all day long, we never stopped working on it. But we have missed it way too much lately. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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