Kyle Busch criticizes lapped cars, predicts playoff elimination

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Kyle Busch took shots at Joey Gase, Garrett Smithley and Joey Logano after his second-place finish at Bristol Saturday night before predicting his elimination from the playoffs in the next round.

Busch expressed frustration with how lapped traffic factored in his runner-up finish, which extended his Cup winless streak to 29 races.

Busch shared his ire for Smithley and Gase when asked about why he didn’t attempt to dump Kevin Harvick on the last lap.

“It actually never crossed my mind,” Busch said. “You always try to win races clean, you always try to race hard, race clean and get the job done right. If that lapped car wasn’t there I would have blown it in on the outside or the inside and maybe we would have banged each other’s doors or whatever and had a greater finish to the checkered, but some of them (expletive) kids don’t know what the hell they’re doing or where they’re at and can’t stay out of the way. Nothing like a Gase and a Smithley.”

Harvick and Busch had to navigate around Gase in the No. 51 car as they went into Turn 3 on the final lap. Gase was in the outside lane and forced both of them to the inside.

Gase placed 31st, 37 laps down. Smithley, driving the No. 78, finished 32nd, 64 laps down.

This is not the first time Busch has been angered by Smithley or Gase. Busch finished a lap down in 19th in last year’s playoff opener at Las Vegas after he ran into the back of Smithley, who finished the race 12 laps down.

“We’re at the top echelon of motorsports, and we’ve got guys who have never won Late Model races running on the racetrack,” Busch said. “It’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go. What else do you do?”

Both Smithley and Gase responded to the criticism by defending their careers on social media.

On Saturday, Busch also took aim at Logano when asked about being held up by the No. 22 Ford earlier in the stage.

“He’s nobody’s friend for a reason, so there you have it,” Busch said.

Busch’s runner-up finish Saturday night came after he started from the rear because of two pre-race inspection failures.

He led 159 of 500 laps on the way to his fourth runner-up finish of the season.

“Just didn’t have enough at the end,” Busch said. “The guys did a great job and gave me a really great piece tonight to contend and at least be up there and be close. Unfortunately, just didn’t have enough. Lapped cars were definitely a problem. It’s part of racing. You have to try to get around them where you can and there was just no room for me to do what I needed to do with a couple of those opportunities to get past them.”

Busch enters the Round of 12th in 10th in the standings. When asked if he felt the No. 18 team was close to Harvick and Denny Hamlin in terms of speed and performance going into next weekend’s race at Las Vegas, Busch bluntly answered “no.”

“We’ll be eliminated in the next round, so don’t care,” Busch said.