BRISTOL, Tenn. – On a night when adversity turned the Bristol Stunt 500 into a series tiebreaker, and one of the most tense battles for the spot could be a broken-down car on the track and a loaded car in a team trailer, it would be surprising if any driver with ties to Richard Childress Racing was eliminated from title contention. It wasn’t.
Kyle Bush After his second engine failure at this round, he “broke” and would not win the championship in his final season with Joe Gibbs Racing. The next title test comes In the No. 8 car for Richard Childress Racing in 2023.
Tyler ReddickThe current No. 8 driver was also removed after his car was damaged in an accident and was unable to gain enough space. Both Reddick (25th) and Busch (34th) finished two points behind the Daytona 500 winner. Austin Cindrich – Overcame multiple tire failures and finished seven laps behind Winner Chris Buescher On the 20th – to secure the last place in the game.
This first round marks the first time Harvick and Busch have each gone out.
“If I fulfill my media obligations and NASCAR lets me go, I’ll go home,” Busch said after leaving the event. “I have children at home.”
Harvick saw his chance to win — essentially the only way forward — after a tire went flat and fell, forcing him to return to the pit at his final pit stop. What should have been a 10-12 second pit stop took over 30 seconds.
“He went from having the opportunity to lead the rally to being part of the rally,” Harvick said.
But this is more than two former champions falling out of title contention. It was blowing tires, the power steering system was failing and one engine was spewing smoke, fluids and whatever else through the smoke screen and nearly took over the Cindric.
Chris Gabehart, Chief of Staff b Denny HamlinPredicting chaos in Kansas last week, he told NBC Sports that the Bristol race was “the ultimate test of the next-gen car.”
Nothing was carried over from the spring race on dirt. Other concrete tracks differ from Bristol and the demands placed on cars. This was a concern of how much a new car could take.
The result was a breakdown that forced drivers and fleet leaders to calculate points, adjust priorities and focus on the task at hand.
Cindrich was down four laps before the race turned 100. It seems that the hope of growing up is gone. With such a long night coming up, he had to find a way to stay motivated.
“The funny thing is, I guess when I’m preparing for these races, I’m always drinking a ton of water because there’s not a lot of weight loss, a lot of burning,” he said. “I was sitting there[in the car]thinking, ‘You know what, you drank water for a reason, you must be knocking really bad for a reason. You can use it too (as inspiration).
“So I’d say it’s a little bit of motivational stuff, maybe that’s a little weird, I don’t know, but I come prepared and I can give it everything we’ve got.”
Yes, that’s a strange initiative, but it worked.
Things changed dramatically when Busch’s engine blew on lap 270.
“This happened right in front of me,” Cindric said. “There was smoke, he stopped immediately and I ran around behind him. I had a front row seat to everything that happened. I guess that’s what happens when you’re behind.”
Syndrich’s chances improved on the restart when several cars collided, including Reddick, Dillon and Reddick. Daniel Suarez.
The incident started when Suarez went out of shape, tagging another car and causing a pile-up. Dillon tried to continue but eventually expired on the damaged vehicle policy. Reddick finished 31 laps behind due to repairs needed. Suarez then went on to finish six laps behind the leaders in 19th.
Cindrich caught the wave later and gained enough spots to get ahead of Busch and Reddick.
As the checkered flag waved over the flag, Cindyrich crew chief Jeremy Bullins threw a powerful hand pump in celebration and raised those around him in the pit box.
“Obviously, you’re not celebrating a win, you’re celebrating an achievement,” he told NBC Sports.
He will advance to the next cup playoffs and one can only guess what is to come.