Kyle Busch among those facing elimination after Talladega result
TALLADEGA, Ala. — A former champion sits on the cutline and another former champion is among those facing elimination after Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Talladega.
The Round of 12 ends next weekend at the Charlotte Roval. Four drivers will be eliminated there.
Former champion Brad Keselowski is on the cutline. He was eliminated by a crash and finished 32nd at Talladega (after Kevin Harvick was disqualified when his car failed post-race inspection and lost his runner-up result).
Keselowski would be below the cutline if he hadn’t won a stage Sunday. That gave him 10 extra points.
“I’m glad we were able to win the stage,” he said. “That certainly helps our points at least a little, but not as much as if we were able to finish the race out.”
Those below the cutline headed to the Roval are: Tyler Reddick (-2 points), Bubba Wallace (-3), Ross Chastain (-10) and two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch (-26).
Reddick finished 16th Sunday.
“We really didn’t have the cleanest day,” Reddick said. “Just seemed like for whatever reason with the cycles and everything, we just didn’t have our normal advantage. … We were just kind of boxed in on the last restart and just nothing went anywhere.”
Reddick could be the most dangerous of the four drivers below the cutline.
He won at Circuit of the Americas in March and scored top-10 finishes at the Indianapolis road course and Watkins Glen this season. In the Next Gen era, Reddick has three wins and seven top-10 finishes in 11 road course races.
“With how strong we’ve been at the road courses, we’ll take minus-two (to the cutline),” Reddick said.
Wallace finished 23rd Sunday.
“Not the day that we needed,” he said. “We put ourselves behind working on a plan, which plans are great with your teammates, but I felt like it hurt us to start. We got buried in track position and you had to fight and claw your way back up to the top and it took us three stages to get there and then we gave it away on the last pit stop. Not what we needed.
“Obviously, we had this one circled as a good weekend for us but just didn’t execute.”
As for the plan that didn’t go as hoped, Wallace said: “We’re trying to let Toyotas in. I’m all for it. So, if Toyota or anybody at JGR sees this, I’m all for it, but it was just hurting us and it was just pulling us back.”
As for going to the Roval to try avoid elimination?
“Just another racetrack,” said Wallace, who has struggled on road courses.
Chastain never had much of a chance Sunday, being collected in the first incident.
“We’ll put our best foot forward,” he said after placing 37th.
Busch was 25th Sunday.
“When I could make moves, get in good positions and put myself in good spots, I could get up towards the front,” Busch said. “My chess match is apparently horrible or I get hung-out every time it comes down to the end and we just lose spots.”
Busch will need significant help to advance to the Round of 8 if he does not win next weekend at the Roval. Busch’s last Cup victory on a road course came in 2015 at Sonoma.
“That’s our last shot,” Busch said of next week’s race at the Roval, “so we’ll see what we get.”