NASCAR completely screwed Kyle Busch (by helping him)

NASCAR inexplicably allowing Kyle Busch to restart in fourth place after an overtime wreck ended up doing more harm than good.
Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR
Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

If there is anything that sums up Kyle Busch's frustrating 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, it's what happened during overtime in Sunday night's Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Busch and the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing team overcame a rough start to what was scheduled to be a 300-lap race around the four-turn, 1.333-mile (2.145-kilometer) Lebanon, Tennessee oval. He had the team positioned to finish in the top five for just the third time this season.

But after restarting in fourth place in overtime, Busch was collected when Hendrick Motorsports' Kyle Larson made an entirely too aggressive move behind Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin, resulting in the No. 5 Chevrolet getting loose and sending the No. 1 Chevrolet of Trackhouse Racing Team's Ross Chastain spinning into the wall.

Busch stayed high and ended up in the wall with Chastain. But due to the relatively light contact, he was able to continue, despite having lost his spot in the running order.

NASCAR uses timing lines to determine the order when the caution flag is thrown, and it was determined that Busch was running in fourth place at the time.

However, because he was involved in the wreck itself and not even close to being able to keep pace with the rest of the field, nobody would have imagined that he would have actually been allowed to drive back up to fourth before the following restart.

Yet NASCAR inexplicably allowed him to do that, and ironically it was that decision which ultimately screwed Busch over.

Following the second overtime restart, there was another quick caution for an accident on the backstretch.

Then during the race's third overtime restart, Larson did not fire off properly with his No. 5 Chevrolet running low on fuel. Busch was right behind him, and with nowhere to go, he was spun out from behind, ending his race. He was officially scored in 27th place, giving him his third consecutive DNF and fourth in the last five races.

It almost looked like the frustrated Las Vegas, Nevada native was trying to do victory burnouts on the frontstretch before ultimately emerging from his No. 8 Chevrolet as the crowd roared.

As disastrous as it sounds, Busch's 27th place DNF is actually his second best "finish" since the month of May ended. He now finds himself in 17th place in the point standings but 19th in the playoff picture, a whopping 104 points below the playoff cut line.

Busch holds the all-time record with 19 consecutive winning seasons, and he is the active leader with 11 consecutive playoff berths. Both streaks are at risk with just seven regular season races and 17 total races remaining on the 2024 calendar.

Larson, on the other hand, took advantage of two more overtime restarts to claw his way back up to eighth place.

So ironically, had Busch actually been kept at the back of the field like he should have been when he was involved in the Chastain incident, he probably would have been able to drive back up to the top five, given the fact that the race was extended by 31 laps due to its Cup Series record five overtime restarts.

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The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season's 20th race is this Sunday afternoon's Grant Park 165. Busch finished in fifth place in the inaugural race at the Chicago Street Course, which was the first ever Cup Series street course race, last year. Tune in to NBC at 4:30 p.m. ET for the live broadcast. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss it!