CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Busch, to be clear, was only venting when he said he’d be knocked out of the playoffs this round. The reigning Cup champion insisted he was frustrated and flippant when he wrote off his season.
But here he is on the verge of elimination headed into Sunday’s race on the hybrid road course-oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch is 21 points below the cutoff line and could become the first reigning champion eliminated in the round of 12 when four are trimmed from the field.
At stake is his bid to become the first driver to win consecutive titles since Jimmie Johnson won five straight from 2006-10. Busch also would lose his five-year streak of advancing to the championship race, but even worse, his run of at least one win every year since his 2005 rookie season is in serious danger.
Busch doesn’t need to win