NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs drivers Kyle Busch and William Byron both found trouble in Saturday’s practice session at Kansas Speedway. Busch will start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s race after an incident forced him to miss qualifying. Byron won’t fall to the rear, keeping his ninth-place starting spot after NASCAR officials found a manufacturing issue with a part his team replaced.
Busch’s trouble came midway through the 20-minute session for Group B drivers when his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevy snapped loose through Turn 4 and scraped the outside retaining wall. He nursed the car back to pit road for repairs, and the team opted to push it back to the Cup Series garage.
Busch did not post a qualifying lap, which will put him at the back of the 36-car field for the green flag of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).
“Just like every other weekend. Always put in a hole, always put behind, always have to come and dig ourselves out,” Busch told NBC Sports. “So, hate it for all the guys, I mean, the car was really good, had good longevity there. We were just running laps and run some pretty good laps comparatively to the rest of our group that we were with at that time. Just gonna fine-tune on some things in order to get ready for qualifying, and here we are starting last again. It just never ends. I don’t know what to do to change it.”
Byron turned eight laps in practice before he brought his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to pit road shortly after the start of the first practice session at the 1.5-mile track, and his crew discovered a broken suspension component. The No. 24 team repaired the part, which allowed Byron to make a qualifying attempt.
An examination and research by NASCAR officials determined that a manufacturing issue affected the upper and lower control arms on the No. 24 Chevy and that the problem was not a team issue. Replacing the part was not ruled as an unapproved adjustment, and Byron is scheduled to start ninth in Sunday’s 400-miler.
Byron told NBC Sports that he felt the issue in his steering during practice and that he was thankful to have it happen in a Saturday preliminary session rather than when points are on the line Sunday.
“I think that’s the fear, for sure,” said Byron, a five-time winner this season. “I mean, it’s better to be fortunate right now and not have that happen in the race. You know, it sucks that we don’t have much of a prediction of what we have for the race. But we got eight laps, and we have pretty good pace. So we just got to kind of go to work and figure out what we’re gonna have tomorrow, pretty much based on the 5 and the 9 (teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, respectively). So try to look at their notes and see what their long-run pace was like, and we’ll just go from there.”
The race is the middle event in the three-race Round of 16, the opening elimination phase of the 10-race postseason.