Kyle Busch ended his race in the infield care center instead of victory lane, as he was caught up in a major crash just 26 laps into the race on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
Busch had one of the fastest cars of the weekend, qualifying third and notching the fastest lap in practice. But he pitted at a Lap 20 caution when many others didn’t, putting him in the eye of the storm on the restart.
“Chaos ensued,” Busch said after being released from the infield care center.
Nine drivers were involved in the crash, including Busch, Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Cindric, JJ Yeley, Harrison Burton, Michael McDowell, Todd Gilliland and Ty Gibbs. Only McDowell, Gilliland and Gibbs were able to continue.
The trouble started when JJ Yeley slowed heading into Turn 1. He was one of the cars that opted not to pit for new tires, and he couldn’t get going as fast as the cars behind him. Cars were four-wide at one point before they went spinning.
“Not fun, not fun at all,” said Austin Cindric, whose No. 2 cars took one of the hardest hits. “It feels like such a waste to do all this … to finish last.”
It’s been a string of tough luck for Busch, who’s finished outside the top 10 for eight races in a row. Busch was asked about his level of frustration after the crash.
“Out of 10? Infinity,” Busch said.
Kevin Harvick, who won the FireKeepers Casino 400, was a few rows in front of the melee.
RELATED: Kevin Harvick outduels dejected Bubba Wallace at MIS, breaks drought
Sunday’s race featured seven caution flags, but the Lap 26 crash had the most carnage. Later in the race, Cole Custer’s car had a flat tire and started the car on fire, forcing him to exit the car as safety crews sprayed fire extinguishers.
Christopher Bell, one of the contenders to win, crashed with 40 laps to go when he crossed over the nose of Ross Chastain. That caution jumbled up the field and set up the final restart for Harvick.
It was already an emotional week for Busch, before the trouble at the track. He and his family were at the Mall of America in Minnesota when they heard reports of an active shooter in the mall. Nobody was struck by the gunfire, but mall patrons didn’t know what the situation was as they rushed towards the exit.
“That’s the scariest part – you have no idea what is happening,” Busch said. “There was definitely a sense of danger. A huge sense.”
MORE FROM MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Kevin Harvick outduels dejected Bubba Wallace at MIS, breaks drought
Kurt Busch will miss the Michigan NASCAR race due to a head injury
Winless in 29 years of racing, Michigan drivers are still having fun – and setting milestones
Crediting 10 to 12 hours of sleep, 19-year-old Ty Gibbs wins Saturday at MIS
Bubba Wallace qualifies 1st at Michigan, notches NASCAR’s fastest lap of 2022
‘My life can’t handle two races’: Scenes from a sold-out MIS infield
Last year, a University of Michigan loyalist drove the No. 2 cars. This year, it’s a Buckeye.
Comfortable on the mower and in the board room, new MIS president ready for NASCAR weekend
After 2 long years, reopened border allows Canadian race fans to return to MIS
For an updated list of stories from MIS this NASCAR race weekend, click here.