Busch counts cost of missing Chase
Kyle Busch’s misery at missing the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup chase was compounded as he dropped to an all-time low in the Castrol EDGE Rankings.
The American had entered the final pre-Chase weekend as one of four drivers chasing the final wildcard spot.
During the first 200 laps he was on course to secure that final berth, but on the sixth caution of the race he elected to stay out as rain fell and prompted others to pit.
That would prove his undoing. At the restart he struggled for grip and soon dropped one lap down, a slide which continued with a delayed subsequent stop.
Now three laps down, his woe was compounded as Jeff Gordon – his main rival for the wildcard spot – was charging through the field.
Gordon eventually finished second to claim the final Chase spot, while Busch finished one lap down in 16th.
The cost of missing out on a Chase spot was also counted in the Rankings, with Busch falling two spots to an all-time low of 27th.
Gordon also fell by the same amount, slipping to 37th.
He does however of the consolation of qualifying for the Chase, finishing just three points ahead of Busch.
While Gordon slid despite sealing second, there were no such worries for his fellow top-three finishers.
Clint Bowyer, who claimed victory despite an early spin, rose six places to 22nd.
He last broke into the Rankings top 20 14 months ago.
Mark Martin meanwhile gained four places courtesy of his third-place finish, moving into 58th – already seven spots higher than the all-time low of 65th he reached two weeks ago.
There was movement among the highest-ranked drivers in the Rankings too, with Jimmie Johnson leading the way by breaking back into the top 10.
He lies two places ahead of Matt Kenseth (12), who jumped three places after finishing fifth.
Kenseth’s rise also carried him above Carl Edwards, who plunged four spots to 16th as a result of coming home 17th.
It is the lowest Edwards has been ranked since November 2010.