Kyle Busch is 1 of 4 Cut from NASCAR Playoffs
Credit: Jared C. Tilton - Getty Images
Kyle Busch will not contest the championship race of the NASCAR Cup Series for the fifth time in a row.
The defending champion was the most notable elimination from the playoffs after the Bank of America Roval 400 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. The two-time champion had extreme opportunities to advance but simply had too many problems to win his way to the round of 16.
The other three eliminations were Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon. It continues with Kevin Harvck, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Joey Logano and Roval winner Chase Elliott.
Busch remains without a win in the first 32 races of the season and has won again and again in a single season - a goal that is the focus of the remaining four races in 2020.
"It was just that year," said Busch after the race on the TV show. "Nothing happened and was on our side. It was just unfortunate circumstances, a lot of bad luck. These guys on this M&M team never give up and fight all year round, every race and every lap.
"Man, one of them has no years. A terrible year for me. As other sports greats might say, there are a lot of other riders who would like to have a year, but man, it's just frustrating to know how good we are and what we can do and what we are champions of last year so that we don't get out of here and be successful and win. "
Busch had a flat tire early in the race, which put him on a negative strategy that required rain or some late caution. He took the lead in the final laps, but on much older tires and with the least amount of fuel on the circuit.
After losing the lead, he ran out of fuel and turned 30. He is the first reigning champion not to have reached the round of 16 since the beginning of the current playoff format in 2014.
Bowyer started the race with just one win and did much of the race without power steering, finishing tenth. Almirola finished 16th and Austin Dillon 19th - each of them must win as soon as the final stage begins.
This is how the round of 16 begins, a three-race course in Kansas, Texas and Martinsville that will determine the last four playoffs of the Cup series in Phoenix.
Kevin Harvick 45
Denny Hamlin +32
Brad Keselowski +13
Chase Elliott +5
Joey Logano -5
Martin Truex Jr. -10
Alex Bowman -18
Kurt Busch -21
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