Kyle Busch’s Chase hopes take another big hit after solo wreck at Michigan

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For the second time in the four races that he’s been back in competition on the Sprint Cup circuit, Kyle Busch suffered a mishap that could prove costly to his hopes to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season.

Busch, who per a medical waiver from NASCAR must have one win and be ranked in the top 30 after the early September cutoff race at Richmond to make the Chase, lost control of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry and hit the outside retaining wall on Lap 53 in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The incident occurred one lap after the race restarted following a third red flag stoppage due to rain. After wrecking, Busch said over his team radio that he saw raindrops on his windshield at the time of the wreck.

Busch immediately took his car to the garage for repairs in hopes of being able to return to the race to gain additional points. He returned on Lap 106 but still finished last of the 43-driver field.

Current Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick also said over his radio that the track was not completely dry at the time of the restart.

Busch barely missed hitting the rear of older brother Kurt’s car and crashed hard with the right front of his car into the outside retaining wall, resulting in heavy damage to his wheel and fender.

In his first four races after suffering a broken right leg and fractured left foot in the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona, Busch has finished 11th (Charlotte), 36th at Dover and a season-best (thus far) 9th place finish last week at Pocono.

Busch, who won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at MIS, came into Sunday’s Sprint Cup event 39th in the standings. Lucky for him, he remains 39th after Michigan, but is a distant 173 points behind 30th-ranked Justin Allgaier — the place in the standings Busch has to be in or better after September’s race in Richmond (plus has to have a win by then) to make the Chase.

After Dover, crew chief Adam Stevens told NASCAR Talk, “When you only have 15 races to score all the points you need to score and get a win, you can’t squander them on the hook.

“I haven’t done the math to see where that will put us, but certainly one more of those, and that will be the end of that. You might get one mulligan in a 15-race stretch, and we just used it right there.”

Still, Busch isn’t out of it. Eleven races — in which he’ll hopefully earn a win or two — is still plenty of time. But another result like Sunday’s at Michigan and Stevens’ prediction could come true.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Saturday NASCAR schedule at Talladega Superspeedway

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Both the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series will race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Cup cars will start the day’s action by qualifying for Sunday’s playoff race, followed by the Truck playoff race and then the Xfinity playoff race.

Talladega Superspeedway (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Saturday: Sunny. High of 78.

Saturday, Oct. 1

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 9:30 a.m. — Truck Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Talladega Xfinity starting lineup: Austin Hill wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Austin Hill will lead the field to the green flag Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway after scoring his first career Xfinity Series pole.

Hill won the pole Friday with a lap of 182.036 mph. He will be joined on the front row by fellow playoff contender Ty Gibbs (181.981 mph).

MORE: Talladega Xfinity starting lineup

Playoff drivers will start in seven of the top eight spots. The exception is Sheldon Creed, who will start third after a lap of 181.870 mph. Hill and Creed give Richard Childress Racing the first and third starting spots.

Justin Allgaier (181.529) qualified fourth and Brandon Jones (181.305) completed the top five. Noah Gragson, who has won four races in a row, starts sixth after a lap of 181.134 mph and is followed by playoff drivers Josh Berry (181.052) and AJ Allmendinger (180.932).

The Xfinity Series race is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network.

Talladega Truck starting lineup: John Hunter Nemechek wins pole

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — John Hunter Nemechek will start on the pole for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Nemechek earned the pole with a lap of 178.767 mph.

Nemechek is one of four playoff drivers starting in the top six: Chandler Smith (second, 177.732 mph), Zane Smith (fourth, 177.061) and Ty Majeski (sixth, 176.744). Majeski clinched a spot in next month’s championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

MORE: Talladega Truck starting lineup

Also qualifying in the top five were Carson Hocevar (177.068) in third and Matt Crafton (176.960) in fifth.

Failing to qualify are Tim Viens, Spencer Boyd, Jason White and Natalie Decker.

Saturday Talladega Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather

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The second race of the opening round of the Xfinity playoffs takes drivers to Talladega Superspeedway.

Noah Gragson secured his spot in the next round by winning last weekend at Texas. Ryan Sieg holds the final transfer spot. Riley Herbst is the first driver below the cutline, one point behind Sieg. Also below the cutline are reigning series champion Daniel Hemric (-8 points), Brandon Jones (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-28).

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 4:09 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:21 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. … The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. … The Brookwood High School choir will perform the anthem at 4:02 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 113 laps (300.58 miles) on the 2.66-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 50.

TV/RADIO: USA Network will broadcast the race at 4 p.m. Countdown to Green begins at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

STREAMING: NBCsports.com

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Sunny with a high of 78 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Noah Gragson won and was followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt and AJ Allmendinger.