By admin | October 20, 2008
By Richard Allen
When Joe and J.D. Gibbs walked into their racing shop this past Monday they must have wanted to go up to the people working on the #18 car and ask, “Who are you people and what have you done with Kyle Busch and his crew?”
The collapse of this team has now reached epic proportions. Engine troubles, crashes and tire troubles have doomed their title hopes in 2008 despite the fact that they were dominate in the first 26 races of the season. While some of these issues have been outside the control of the driver and team, the results are still the results.
Sunday’s 29th place result in Martinsville simply added to the list of woeful efforts within the Chase for the Championship for the team many considered the clear favorite going into the playoff.
So far within the Chase, Busch has recorded four finishes of 28th or worse. He only had three finishes lower than 28th in the first 26 races of the year.
Busch’s best Chase finish thus far has been a 4th in Charlotte. His next best finish is a 15th in Talladega. This is the same driver who had won eight times coming into the playoff.
Currently, Busch sits in the 12th spot of the standings, an almost unbelievable 445 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. And consider, Busch came into the Chase with 80 bonus points, more than any other driver.
Six weeks ago many would have said 2008 would be considered the season of Kyle Busch no matter what happened in the Chase for the Championship. Now however, this season may well be remembered as the year of Busch’s epic Chase failure.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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