Kyle Busch’s Chase hopes take another hit with wreck at Michigan

After three red-flag delays for rain and wet weather, the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway went back to green-flag racing on Lap 52 of 200 on Sunday

With drivers jockeying for position on the wide, two-mile track, the cars spread out three- and four-wide on the restart.

As the field raced off Turn 4, the No. 18 Toyota of Kyle Busch bobbled under his brother Kurt’s No. 41 Chevrolet. Unable to keep the Joe Gibbs Racing car under him, Busch hit the outside SAFER barrier hard with the right front of the car, bringing out the third caution flag of the afternoon.

With significant damage to the right front of the car, Busch took his car directly to the Sprint Cup garage to the attention of his JGR crew members. Despite the hard hit, Busch was uninjured.

Kevin Harvick, who was leading at the time of the incident told spotter Tim Fedewa the wreck should have never happened.

"It was down pouring. It was raining when we came to the green," Harvick said over the radio.

When the race restarted on Lap 59, Busch was 42nd of 43 cars in the field. At the end of the day when his brother Kurt was celebrating the rain-shortened win, Kyle had dropped to 43rd. 

Busch missed the first 11 races of the 2015 Sprint Cup season after suffering multiple injuries in an XFINITY Series accident at Daytona International Speedway in February. After a speedy recovery process, Busch returned to the car for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

NASCAR granted Busch a waiver to open the door for him to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver would be required to make his way into the top 30 in the driver standings and score a win before the start of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway in September.

Entering Sunday’s race, Busch was 39th in driver standings, 151 points behind Trevor Bayne in 30th. Sunday’s incident in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan will likely further hurt his efforts to climb into the top 30. 

Heading into the off-weekend, Busch remains 39th in the standings, but is now 173 points out of the top 30.