Kyle Busch had a miserable weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Friday, he smacked the wall with his primary car during what turned out to the Cup series only practice session. The team debated about swapping to a backup before sticking with the primary Toyota, and making repairs.
Sunday didn’t get much better.
He led 22 laps early, but again smacked the wall, not once, but several times. First on lap 137, then again on lap 217 and finally on lap 279. Those were sandwiched with a spin on lap 279. Busch’s Toyota was left with significant damage, but he soldiered on to finish 29th.
After the race on pit road, Busch, who had been complaining about feeling ill near the end of the race, climbed from his car and laid down on the pavement.
Medical personnel were quickly on the scene and moments later, Busch was able to stand on his own, smile, and walk under his own power to a waiting ambulance. After being checked out at the infield care center, Busch was released, and seemed fine.
“I’m alright, I’m better now,” Busch said. “I got heat soaked and felt like I had heat stroke just from being inside the race car for 200 laps with the crush panels knocked out of it. Obviously, it was my bad, just trying to get a little too much too early in the race and got too high out of the groove and got myself into the fence and tore the right side off of it.
“My guys did a great job trying to rebound and get it back together as much as we could throughout the day. It was just evil out there the rest of the day trying to stay with a relative pace with the rest of the field. We were just kind of hanging on with our Interstate Batteries Camry. After I first tore it up, it was just a handful from there. Literally as soon as I did it, just coasting around under caution I could feel it being about 50 degrees hotter inside the car. It just got so hot that you literally felt like you were going to puke and just trying to make it to the end of the race and luckily we did. From there, just trying to get cooled down and get body temperature back to normal.”
Busch said much of the problem came from exhaust getting into the car.
“Of course, they said my CO was in the double digits and I’m fighting some of that too,” he said. “That was just the hottest I’ve been in the car. I didn’t feel sick from the CO or anything like that, but I felt heat stroke and I’ve had that before. Living in Vegas, you have that a few times when you’re playing outside in the summer as a kid. I knew what it was, I knew what it felt like, but the only way to do it is to just get out and get cooled down.”
The other issue with Busch is his point standings. He went from a Playoff favorite to being just 12 points above the cut line as the series heads to Talladega, a race many consider a wild card.
“It stinks to give up points,” Busch said. “We come in here and thought we had a good shot to run in the top-10 and we did and I threw it away. We’re still above the cut line, but we don’t have that cushion that we’d like to have going to Talladega and crash out early and be back in the pack and be coming from behind in Kansas. That’s what you try to not have happen, but anything can happen in racing so we just have to go out and race, race hard and do a good job at Talladega to get through there with still a cushion and then we can go race them and be fine hopefully through Kansas.”