Kurt Busch and his No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS were just in the wrong place at the wrong time in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Busch’s day came to a disappointing end when he was collected in an unavoidable incident on lap 174, which resulted in heavy damage to the Haas Automation Chevrolet and relegated the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion to a 33rd-place finish.
“It looked like to me that the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) just got loose, and we didn’t have anywhere to go, so our day was done,” Busch said. “It’s just so frustrating. We had a good Haas Automation Chevy and were in the mix all day. I don’t know if we could have gotten up to the front in the final laps, but I would have liked to have had that chance at the end of the race. We were just looking for the right lane to move to the front, and we had a couple of our teammates up there with us, so who knows what could have happened.”
Following the crew’s final pit stop of the day at lap 142, Busch restarted in the 15th position. The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver made quick work and made his way back into the top 10, where he remained for the next 20 laps. However, Busch began to fall back in the draft around lap 162. Busch told his crew that the low lane on the racetrack was too slow, so he asked for help to find a lane that would help him move to the front.
Spotter Rick Carelli helped find a quick opening, as Busch navigated his No. 41 from the low lane to the middle lane and then to the high lane on the racetrack. Busch had maneuvered his way back into the top-12 when trouble struck and he was caught in the multicar incident at lap 174. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet broke loose in the middle lane. His car shot up the racetrack, collecting the No. 22 of Joey Logano, who was running directly in front Busch’s No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the outside lane.
Unfortunately, Busch had nowhere to go to avoid the wrecked cars in front of him and was collected in the incident. The damage to Busch’s car was too great for him to continue, ending the team’s day early.