CONCORD, North Carolina — Kyle Busch said he battled heat stroke-like conditions and elevated carbon monoxide readings to finish Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway after hitting the wall multiple times.
Busch finished 29th, six laps behind the leaders. The result leaves him 12 points ahead of the first driver outside a transfer spot with two races remaining — including next weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway — in this round.
After stopping his car on pit road, Busch climbed out and walked toward the grass and laid down. Medical personnel put bags of ice on him and a cool compress on his forehead to help cool him. After being on the ground for less than 10 minutes, he got up and walked to an ambulance, waving to the crowd before he entered the vehicle.
“I got heat soaked and felt like I had a heat stroke just with being inside the race car for 200 laps with the crush panels knocked out of it,’’ Busch said after emerging from the infield care center about 45 minutes after the race.
“Obviously, it was my bad, trying to get too much too early in the race and got too high out of the groove and got myself into the fence and just tore the right side off of it. It was just evil out there the rest of the day, trying to make the laps.
“Coasting under caution you could feel it being about 50 degrees hotter inside the car. It just got so hot that it felt like you were going to puke.’’
Busch made contact with the Turn 3 wall while running second on Lap 136 of the 337-lap race.
It would be the first of three cautions he caused for incidents Sunday.
Each incident made the driving conditions more difficult for Busch, who had exhaust come into the car and had to deal with the humid conditions that led some drivers to comment about how hot it felt driving. At least four drivers went to the infield care center after the race for treatment.
“They said my CO was in the double digits so obviously, I was fighting that, too,’’ Busch said. “That was just the hottest I’ve been in the car.’’
Busch, who crashed Friday in practice, said the PJ1 traction compound got him again Sunday.
“Whatever you want to call it, I got in the slick stuff,’’ Busch said. “When I entered Turn 3, I was following (Kevin) Harvick and I was just trying to work it up a little bit. The last three laps before that everything was fine, and I was just inching it up and inching it up. Apparently an inch a lap was too much and I ended up getting too high and just got crossed up instantly. As soon as I turned up in the corner, I got sideways.’’
Busch would be in worse shape in the points if he didn’t have 41 playoff points — second highest total — heading into Talladega.
“It stinks to give up points,’’ Busch said. “We come in here and thought we had a good shot to run in the top 10 and we did. I threw it away. We’re still above the cut line but we don’t have that cushion that we like to have.’’