BRISTOL — The Bristol magic ran out for Kyle Busch on Saturday.
It was not a great night for Busch, a nine-time NASCAR Cup winner at Bristol Motor Speedway.
He entered the Bass Pro Shops Bristol Night Race two points away from making the next round of the field of 12 playoff drivers.
For 269 laps Busch ran strong on the concrete track, like he has done for years. But on lap 270 engine failure forced him to park his car in the garage.
“It just goes with our year. I don’t even know what to say. I’m flabbergasted,” Busch said. “I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot. They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through.
“Two engine failures in three weeks, that will do it to you. I really feel bad for all of Rowdy Nation, everybody at M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy, all of the partners that get us going every week. This is not our normal.”
Despite his driving woes, Busch stayed in the top 12 in points among 16 playoff drivers for several more laps until Austin Cindric tied him in the playoff points standings on lap 440 — when he took a wave around under caution and teammate Joey Logano went to the pits when the one-to-go to the green flag signal was given.
Logano later parked his car in the garage on lap 469 with mechanical issues.
A quartet of playoff cars was caught up in a wreck on lap 277. Daniel Suarez got loose into turn 3 and hit Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Both Suarez and Stenhouse went spinning into the turn with Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, Austin Dillon — all in the playoff picture — getting collected in the incident.
Dillon dropped out of the race on lap 300 after failing to get his car out of the pits in 10 minutes under the NASCAR damaged vehicle policy.
Dillon came into the Night Race on the playoff bubble in 14th position, three points behind the playoff cut line.
After Bristol, he found himself in 15th — 11 points away from making the cut of 12 to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
Reddick also did not make the cut.
He entered the Night Race at BMS two points above the playoff field cut line. But he left the short track two points below the cut line.
The fourth and final playoff driver to be eliminated was NASCAR veteran and former Cup champion Kevin Harvick.
Harvick came to Bristol 35 points away from the cutline. He left the track 24 points short of making the field of 12, after running as high as second in the race.
He finished in 10th.
“We went from having a chance to lead the parade to being a part of the parade,” Harvick said. “It was just difficult to pass.”
FIELD OF 12
Chase Elliott leads the playoff field of 12 drivers to the next stage next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
The rest of the field includes Logano, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Chase Brisco, Suarez and Cindric.