Auto racing roundup: Busch on brink of playoff elimination

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

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Kurt Busch says NASCAR Cup Series cars will ‘cook the dirt’ at Bristol Motor Speedway

Kurt Busch checked another box off his NASCAR bucket list last Sunday by winning his hometown race in Las Vegas for the first time.

Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2004 champ said it was an incredible victory that ended 21 years of frustration and one that he’d rank among his top three.

(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“So many people and memories and volunteer crew members, and then thoughts all went through my mind and, well, nobody was there, and so it made it that much more special to win for everybody,” the Chip Ganassi Racing driver said.

Of course, Busch didn’t start out driving Cup Series cars at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but about an hour and a half away racing dwarf cars on the Pahrump Valley Speedway dirt track. So he has a few thoughts

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