Good news for any Kyle Busch haters out there: The defending Cup champion is about to be ousted from NASCAR’s playoffs.
Really. He said so himself!
It happened this past Saturday, after Busch finished runner-up to Kevin Harvick in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
A reporter asked how he felt about performing well enough at Bristol to move onto the Round of 12, which begins this coming weekend in Las Vegas.
“We’ll be eliminated in the next round, so don’t care,” Busch said.
Frustrated Kyle often is the most entertaining kind of Kyle, and last Saturday was no exception. Not only did he take that shot at himself, but he also went after Joey Logano and a pair of lesser-known drivers in Joey Gase and Garrett Smithley.
All three impeded Busch’s attempts to pass Harvick late in the race. Logano, who finished 11th, was fighting hard to stay just one lap down. He didn’t give Busch any room on the outside to make a move on the Stewart-Haas Racing ace.
“He’s nobody’s friend for a reason,” Busch said of Logano. “So there you have it.”
As for Gase and Smithley? Well, they had much less to gain in fighting for position against Busch. Gase finished 37 laps down; Smithley was 64 laps off the pace when the checkered flag waved.
“If that lap car wasn’t there, I would have blown it in on the outside or the inside, and maybe we would have banged each other’s doors or whatever and had a greater finish to the checkered,” Busch said of his duel with Harvick.
“But some of them dip-(sic) kids don’t know what the hell they’re doing or where they’re at and can’t stay out of the way. Nothing like a Gase and a Smithley.”
And nothing like a little overly pessimistic Busch after a disappointing finish. But the oddsmakers at the next stop on the Cup circuit don’t seem to agree with Busch’s assessment.
At 14-to-1, Busch is still the No. 7 choice to win the championship and, by extension, one of the drivers expected to make it to the Round of 8.
Tough news for the haters.
Aaron McFarling is a sports writer for the Roanoke (Va.) Times.
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