Tha Sports Junkies 101

Busch Facing Playoff Elimination in Kansas, Can he Bounce Back?

Photo by Sarah Bundy via Flickr


Perhaps nobody has had a more feast-or-famine Playoffs in 2017 than Kyle Busch. In 5 races he has 2 wins and 328 laps led. However, his past 2 finishes have been worse than 25th. With these poor results, the driver from Las Vegas faces elimination this weekend at Kansas.

Due to bad luck so far in the Round of 12, Busch is ranked 9th in points heading into Kansas, 9 below the cutoff. He was running 2nd at Charlotte when he spun and hit the wall, leading to a 29th place finish. He was also caught up in the big one at Talladega with 17 laps remaining, where he finished 27th.

If Kyle can survive elimination in Kansas, it will be his 3rd straight year in the Round of 8. The past 2 seasons have seen him advance all the way to the Championship 4, winning the title in 2015.

Busch’s Chances For Kansas Success

Until recently, Kansas was Kyle’s kryptonite. In his first 14 trips to Kansas, Busch scored only 2 top 10s with 88 laps led. But, since 2014, ‘Rowdy’ is on a streak of 5 straight top 5 runs at Kansas. He was also able to break through for his first win there in May 2016. In May this year, Kyle led 59 laps en route to finishing 5th.

Expect the 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team to be a strong contender for the win on Sunday. This performance may start in qualifying, as Busch has a record 8 poles this year. If Kyle can capitalize on stage points and have a solid run, he should be able to advance. While he is at a deficit to the cutoff line, he is far from a must-win scenario. Teammate Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Jamie McMurray are all trailing Busch in points.

The Hollywood Casino 400 will be live at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 22. This race is the Round of 12 finale; 4 driver’s championship hopes will be over after Kansas. Coverage will be on NBCSN, MRN, and SiriusXMNASCAR Radio at 3 PM EST.